Political story of the day

17/06/2014

The round-up of political stories while Politics Daily is taking a break seemed  like a good idea but it was taking too much time.

Instead, I’ll feature a political story of the day and welcome you to add others.

My pick won’t necessarily be the most important one, it can, as today’s does, raise a point no-one else does.

The story on this morning’s Herald-DigiPoll survey said Internet Mana would have two seats.

Over at Stats Chat Thomas Lumley reminds us of the margins of error:

. . . That’s probably 9 respondents. A 95% interval around the support for Internet–Mana goes from 0.6% to 2.4%, so we can’t really tell much about the expected number of seats. . .

 

A small change in a small number can appear to be far more significant than it is.


Word of the day

17/06/2014

Metagrobolize – to baffle, confound, disturb, mystify, puzzle.


Rural round-up

17/06/2014

New $65m high-security biocontainment lab:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a new $65m high-security biocontainment laboratory announced in Wallaceville today is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to biosecurity.

“The new facility will replace the existing high security laboratory and continue more than 100 years of animal disease diagnostics at the site,” says Mr Guy.

“The existing laboratories and skilled personnel have an essential role in responding to disease outbreaks, protecting public health and providing international trade assurances about New Zealand’s animal disease status. . .

Agritech companies debut at the World Dairy Expo & Summit China:

 Seven companies joined New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) at the 12th World Dairy Expo and Summit in Xi’an, China, over the weekend.

The World Dairy Expo and Summit is the premier annual event for China’s dairy industry, attracting thousands of visitors from across China and around the world including professionals in dairy production and cow breeding, buyers, government officials, experts and media.

With an exhibition area of 25,000sqm, the Expo focuses on the entire dairy production chain, from breeding and farm facilities to processing and packing equipment, ingredients, and dairy products.
NZTE’s Trade Commissioner in Beijing, Liam Corkery, says that the Expo is an opportunity for New Zealand companies to present their solutions to potential customers in China that are actively looking for farming and milking systems expertise and technologies. . .

Taranaki bags Maori farming award:

A Taranaki dairy farming operation has won this year’s top Maori farming award, the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd which runs 500 cows on a 170-hectare farm near Hawera, was one of three finalists for the award.

The farm trust’s chair Dion Maaka said it stood out because it was an amalgamation of four separate Maori trusts, representing more than 1000 landowners, who had successfully combined their small uneconomic blocks into one larger and more viable dairy farming operation. . .

A thousand owners share dairy delight:

An award-winning Maori dairy farming operation says its ownership structure provides a successful model for others to follow.

Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd, based in southern Taranaki, has won this year’s top Maori farming award, the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

It runs 500 cows on a 170-hectare farm near Hawera. . .

Lincoln University drives into the rough – Keith Woodford:

Lincoln University is New Zealand’s land-based university, with a special focus on agriculture and related industries. In recent years, the University has been facing hard times. This is despite the resurgence of New Zealand’s agricultural industries, and the export dominance of agri- food products.

This year the situation at Lincoln has reached crisis point. The University has been shedding academic and other positions in an attempt to balance the books.

The current shedding of staff involves a net decrease of 53 staff through a combination of voluntary redundancies, enhanced early retirements, and compulsory redundancies. Inevitably, the loss of staff is going to affect delivery capacity. The question now is whether Lincoln can survive in its present form. . . .

Fieldays looks at boosting footprint:

The organisation behind the national agricultural expo says it isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet after wrapping up this year’s event.

The organisation behind the national agricultural expo says it isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet after wrapping up this year’s event.

More than 900 exhibitors took up 50 hectares of space at the giant agricultural showcase this year, including 28 new large outdoor sites. . . .

Going ‘nuts’ for Mediterranean diet – Ashley Walmsley:

A MEDITERRANEAN diet could be the key to better health and increased nut sales according to an international researcher.

Professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó, chairman of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research presented nut health information at the 33rd World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, in Melbourne last month.

The Congress saw nearly 900 guests from Australia and overseas come together to talk about the current state and future of global nut consumption. . .

 New Zealand wine industry gets WiSE

A world leading sustainability scorecard and reporting tool is being launched to New Zealand wineries and grape-growers today. WiSE (Wine Industry Sustainability Engine) will be used by around 2000 wineries and vineyards from Northland to Otago. It will record and manage winery and vineyard activities to ensure they meet international sustainability standards required by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

The New Zealand wine industry is already seen as a driving force in sustainability with over 94% of the vineyard producing area certified under an independently audited sustainability programme, and WiSE is set to bolster this reputation. . .

Canterbury Butchers Carve up the Competition:

The Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year is well underway with the Upper South Island Regional held yesterday in Christchurch.

Jeremy Garth of New World Woolston, Christchurch and Timmy Watson from Ashburton’s Allenton Meat Centre, drew a tie in the hotly contested Alto Young Butchery regional.

Competenz Butcher Apprentice regional winner Rowan Lee of Pak’ n Save Riccarton, Christchurch demonstrated he was a cut above the rest in yesterday’s competition, joining the two young butchers in the next stage of the competition. . . .

New acne cream brings new meaning to ‘adding value to dairy’:

Hamilton company, Quantec Personal Care, believes Cleopatra may have been onto something when she bathed in milk.

The research focused company has developed a clinically-proven anti-acne cream whose active, patented ingredient is derived from New Zealand cow’s milk.

The company believes this breakthrough skincare product, marketed under the Epiology brand, is a world first in its category and represents an entirely new approach to improving acne and problem skin.

Quantec founder and Managing Director, Dr Rod Claycomb, explains, “The bioactive enzymes and proteins found in our Epiology anti-acne cream are essentially the same active enzymes and proteins that all mammals produce to protect themselves from potentially harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. . . .

 


Need to enrol to vote

17/06/2014

The Electoral Commission stand at Fieldays was busy encouraging people to enrol to vote.

It’s not hard to do, even if you’re overseas:

Are you a Kiwi living overseas? Have family living overseas? Find out how you can enrol and vote from anywhere in the world this election at www.national.org.nz/overseas.

Enrolling doesn’t compel you to vote national, of course, but it’s the best option for those wanting a country worth staying in or coming home to.


St Paul’s prepares teens for ag careers

17/06/2014

An independent school in Hamilton is responding to the needs of the agricultural sector by pioneering courses specifically designed for careers in agri-business.

St Paul’s Collegiate School is running agribusiness courses at NCEA level 2 and level 3.

The assistant headmaster responsible for academic programmes, Peter Hampton, says these will be the first structured programmes in New Zealand secondary schools that promote careers in agribusiness.

He says the courses are designed to attract students capable of going on to tertiary study.

“There’s a gap at the senior level where the tertiary capable students are and figures that we have done in conjunction with DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb show there are round about 1200 graduates are required for the sector each year and currently there are about 250 coming out of our universities”. . .

This is a brilliant idea and well over-due.

Agribusiness – farming and the businesses which service and supply them, are already finding it difficult to recruit good staff.

One reason for that is because since the ag-sag of the 80s agribusiness in general and agriculture in particular, weren’t seen as good career options.

That was wrong then and is even more so now.

But if agriculture is to reach its potential it needs good staff and St Paul’s’ programmes will make its pupils aware of the options and prepare them for careers in jobs which are waiting for them.


Another Labour policy lacks details

17/06/2014

Labour has confirmed it will make KiwiSaver compulsory – without details and with exceptions:

. . . Under Labour’s policy, all employees not already in the scheme would be automatically enrolled on October 1 next year. Students and beneficiaries would be exempt.

Low income earners would also be exempt – but the details of the minimum threshold will be subject to consultation, Mr Cunliffe said.

The elephant in the KiwiSaver room that no-one mentions is that in a few decades there will be significant inequality amongst retirees – those with KiwiSaver and those without.

The poor are least likely to have KiwiSaver accounts and making it compulsory for everyone else will merely compound that.

Labour expects auto-enrolment would bring a further half a million people into the scheme.

“Most of those are low income earners who are missing out on getting their fair share of government contributions”, Mr Cunliffe told reporters at Parliament this morning.

“These workers will have higher incomes after Labour raises the minimum wage and the ramp up of their employee contribution will be slower.” . . .

Raising the minimum wage will do little for most people because any increase will be cancelled out by reductions in Working for Families and other assistance such as accommodation supplements.

Increasing employer contributions will also have a depressing impact on wages and job opportunities and also threaten job stability.

Adding costs to employment without increasing productivity would mean businesses would have to charge more for whatever they sell which would flow through to inflation.

The alternative would be to absorb the cost which would reduce profits. That in turn could threaten viability and would reduce their ability to invest more in their business and their staff.

This policy would leave most workers with left in their pay packets – without Labour’s other daft idea of altering KiwiSaver rates to control inflation.

Saving is good, but many people would be better paying off a mortgage or other debt than putting more in KiwiSaver.

But the worst of this policy is, like so many others of labour’s – is its vagueness. Once more the party shows it doesn’t do details.

Spin doctors don’t do numbers, but the Treasury secondee the party sacked would have.

A policy without details isn’t really a policy, it’s just a vague idea of what the party might or might not do should it get into government.


Farmers acting for good of nature

17/06/2014

The number of landowners who have put in place covenants on parts of their land for the good of nature is set to pass 4000 for the first time.

It is a great untold story of New Zealand landowners, mostly farmers, taking a selfless stand for good, said Mike Jebson, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth II Trust. It works with private landowners, who make a contribution to conservation, including those making covenants to perpetually protect parts of their land.

Jebson spoke to the Sunday Star-Times after Labour sought to make political capital out conservation money being spent to eradicate pests from Great Mercury Island, owned by Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite.

The Government, which says endangered species don’t care who owns the land they live on, funds the QEII Trust. At the end of June last year, the trust had 3803 registered covenants and the number was rising fast.

“We are just shy of 4000 registered covenants. That milestone will be coming up in the next 12 months. It’s a huge achievement,” said Jebson, who is due to announce new large covenants in coming weeks.

The area covered by the covenants is the size of three national parks, the Aoraki/Mt Cook, Egmont/Taranaki and Abel Tasman national parks, he said.

“It should be part of the New Zealand story because a lot of our covenants are on working farms,” Jebson said.

A lot was heard about farmers and dirty dairying but almost nothing of their conservation efforts, he said.

“This is an untold story of New Zealand farmers and other landowners, which is helping to give real substance to New Zealand’s clean, green international image,” Jebson said in the trust’s last annual report. . .

Farmers who covenant their land do get help with fencing and pest control but it doesn’t cover all their costs and it doesn’t compensate for the loss of earnings from retired land.

However, they do it as good stewards of the land, understanding the importance of protecting native species and leaving an enduring legacy for future generations.

You can read more about the trust on its website.


The importance of volunteers

17/06/2014

The many thousands of people who give their time, energy and skill to help others is being celebrated in National Volunteer Week.

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew is encouraging people to take part:

“This is a week, co-ordinated annually by Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ), which is set aside to celebrate the contribution volunteers make in their communities,” says Mrs Goodhew.

This year’s theme is “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata.” Translated as “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.”

The Maori proverb refers to co-operation and the combination of resources to get ahead. It suggests that if we pool our ideas, with equal respect for all parties, we will get a better result and everyone will benefit.

“I commend VNZ for selecting such an appropriate proverb. It really captures the essence of volunteering,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Kiwis like to muck-in and help-out.  New Zealanders are among the best volunteers in the world with nearly a third of us volunteering collectively about 270 million hours every year.

“Our volunteers freely donate their time and energy to keep our communities running. They are the backbone of our sports and social groups, search and rescue organisations, and the arts and cultural sector.

“This government recognises the significant contribution of volunteers and is working to make resources and support more readily available to community organisations.”

 

Volunteers play an important role in our communities.

An active volunteer sector is a sign of a healthy communities and society.

Volunteers work with and for people in churches, interest groups, service and sports clubs and a whole range of other interest groups and organisations, including political parties.

Working in the latter isn’t usually regarded as community service but it is.

Wanting to make a positive difference is what motivates most members and candidates.

There’s always been an exception to this with paid union people adding to or replacing volunteers in parties on the left.

The Internet Mana Party has made an unwelcome addition to that – its candidates are being paid.

The problem with that is it’s impossible to know where their loyalties lie – with the party or the paymaster.


The People’s Report

17/06/2014

The People’s Report – the result of the inquiry into violence funded by Owen Glenn – which was released yesterday claims a “dysfunctional” court system, “broken” social services and a binge-drinking culture form major barriers to protecting children and stopping family violence.

Its’ recommendations include:

  • Fragmented services brought to a single point of access;
  • A code of rights and an independent forum where victims and survivors can be heard and air their grievances;
  • Recognition child abuse and domestic violence happens in all parts of society and is often considered normal;
  • Address poverty and social differences and require agencies to collaborate;
  • Recognise professionals, frontline workers and legal professionals need better training.
There might be merit in the first two and the third is true – contrary to popular belief domestic violence and child abuse aren’t restricted to the poor and uneducated.
That spoils the imperative for the fourth point – addressing poverty and social differences.
There are very good reasons for addressing the causes of poverty but if domestic violence happens in all parts of society relieving poverty won’t solve the problem.
Another recommendation is to remove the presumption of innocence so the burden of proof falls on the alleged perpetrator.
That is a perversion of one of the tenets on which our justice system is built – that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
Another contributing factor mentioned is binge drinking.
There are lots of good reasons for tackling that too – but does alcohol fuel violence or do violent people drink more?
I’ve seen lots of drunks who aren’t violent people sober and none have become violent when drunk.
Domestic violence and child abuse are dark stains on our society.
The causes are complex and solutions must be based on more than anecdotes.

The full report is here.


June 17 in history

17/06/2014

1239 –  Edward Longshanks, English king, was born (d. 1307).

1462 – Vlad III the Impaler attempted to assassinate Mehmed II (The Night Attack) forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.

1497 – Battle of Deptford Bridge – forces under King Henry VII defeated troops led by Michael An Gof.

1565  Matsunaga Hisahide assassinated the 13th Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru.

1579  Sir Francis Drake claimed a land he called Nova Albion (modern California) for England.

1631 Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, then spent more than 20 years building her tomb, the Taj Mahal.

1691 Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian painter and architect, was born  (d. 1765).

1704 John Kay, English inventor of the flying shuttle, was born  (d. 1780)

1773 Cúcuta, Colombia was founded by Juana Rangel de Cuéllar.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Bunker Hill.

1789  In France, the Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly.

1839 In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha III issued the Edict of toleration which gave Roman Catholics the freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands.

1843 The Wiarau Incident: New Zealand Company settlers and Ngati Toa clashed over the ownership of land in the Wairau Valley.

The Wairau incident

1863 Battle of Aldie in the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War.

1867 Henry Lawson, Australian poet, was born  (d. 1922).

1876 Indian Wars: Battle of the Rosebud – 1,500 Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook‘s forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.

1877  Indian Wars: Battle of White Bird Canyon – the Nez Perce defeated the US Cavalry at White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory.

1885 The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbour.

1898  The United States Navy Hospital Corps iwa established.

1900 Martin Bormann, Nazi official, was born  (d. 1945).

1901  The College Board introduced its first standardized test.

1910 Aurel Vlaicu performed the first flight of A. Vlaicu nr. 1.

1930  U.S. President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law.

1932  Bonus Army: around a thousand World War I veterans amassed at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considered a bill that would give them certain benefits.

1933 Union Station Massacre: in Kansas City, Missouri, four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash were gunned down by gangsters attempting to free Nash.

1939  Last public guillotining in France. Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, was guillotined in Versailles.

1940  World War II: Operation Ariel began– Allied troops started to evacuate France, following Germany’s takeover of Paris and most of the nation.

1940 – World War II: sinking of the RMS Lancastria by the Luftwaffe.

1940 – World War II: the British Army’s 11th Hussars assaulted and took Fort Capuzzo in Libya from Italian forces.

1940 – The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fell under the occupation of the Soviet Union.

1943 Barry Manilow, American musician, was born.

1944  Iceland declared independence from Denmark and became a republic.

1945 Ken Livingstone, English politician, was born.

1947 Paul Young, English singer and percussionist, was born  (d. 2000).

1948  A Douglas DC-6 carrying United Airlines Flight 624 crashed near Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, killing all 43 people on board.

1950 Lee Tamahori, New Zealand film director, was born.

1953  Workers Uprising: in East Germany, the Soviet Union ordered a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.

1957 Phil Chevron, Irish musician (The Pogues, The Radiators From Space), was born.

1958  The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing being built connecting Vancouver and North Vancouver, Canada, collapses into the Burrard Inlet, killing many of the ironworkers and injuring others.

1958  The Wooden Roller Coaster at Playland, in the Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, opened.

1960  The Nez Perce tribe was awarded $4 million for 7 million acres of land undervalued (4 cents/acre) in the 1863 treaty.

1961  The New Democratic Party of Canada was founded with the merger of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress.

1963  The United States Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against allowing the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.

1963  A day after South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem announced the Joint Communique to end the Buddhist crisis, a riot involving around 2000 people breaks out, killing one.

1972  Watergate scandal: five White House operatives were arrested for burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee

1987  With the death of the last individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow became extinct.

1991  Apartheid: the South African Parliament repealed the Population Registration Act, which had required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.

1992  A ‘Joint Understanding’ agreement on arms reduction was signed by U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

1994 O.J. Simpson was arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Sourced from NZ history Online & Wikipedia


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