Political story of the day

21/06/2014

The relationship between New Zealand and the USA has never been stronger – Barack Obama

Had a very successful meeting with President Obama today where we discussed the strength of the New Zealand - United States relationship, the economy, trade and global issues.

 


Word of the day

21/06/2014

Vituperation – verbal abuse or castigation; violent denunciation or condemnation; bitter and abusive or venomous censure or language; harsh and angry criticism; invective.


Rural round-up

21/06/2014

Irrigation change ‘win-win outcome’ – David Bruce:

Farmers have spent ”tens of thousands of dollars” and considerable time on a plan to cut the irrigation take from the Maerewhenua River, an Environment Canterbury hearing was told in Oamaru yesterday.

Drawn up between the community and Environment Canterbury (ECan), it involves some farmers shifting irrigation takes to the Waitaki River to leave more water in the Maerewhenua, one of New Zealand’s outstanding small river fisheries.

ECan has instigated a plan change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan, prepared in 2005, to reduce water allowed for irrigation from the Maerewhenua River and some other provisions. . . .

Blue Sky Meats returns to profit – Alan Williams:

Southern lamb processor Blue Sky Meats is back in profit, emerging from what chairman Graham Cooney said was the most difficult trading in its history.

The after-tax profit for the year ended March 31 was $1.94 million, compared to a loss of $3.87m a year earlier. 

Revenue was down 2% to $95.3m, with costs 10% lower at $92.6m. This was as a result of paying livestock suppliers prices which reflected the market, unlike a year earlier, Cooney said. . . .

Levy about ‘putting heat’ into industry:

The proposed levy referendum is about ”putting heat back into the industry”, Wool Levy Group chairwoman Sandra Faulkner says.

Sheep farmers will have the opportunity to vote on whether to reintroduce a wool levy in October.

Until then, Mrs Faulkner, a sheep farmer from Muriwai, and her team will be speaking to groups at events across the country about the referendum process and the importance of voting.

She called her team ”fantastic” and said it had pan-sector representation. . . .

Elders New Zealand sells to Carr Group:

South Island based Carr Group have acquired Elders Rural Services New Zealand (Elders) for an undisclosed amount from Elders Australia Limited and New Zealand based Sredle Rural Services.

Carr Group Managing Director, Craig Carr said the opportunity to return Elders to Kiwi ownership was exciting for both companies. “Bringing together two strong agri-businesses under one New Zealand entity will not only expand our footprint within New Zealand but also across the global marketplace where we currently operate and export to more than 40 countries. Supported by a team of over 400 staff in New Zealand, Australia, India, Africa and the Middle East, this acquisition will take combined group annual revenues to in excess of NZD300 million”.

Starting from humble beginnings 40 years ago in Ashburton, founders Greg and Glenys Carr are still active in the business along with their three sons and daughter. . .

Deer profit initiative wins government support:

The government is supporting a major initiative to increase deer farm profitability.

The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) is contributing up to $225,000 over the next three years to Advance Parties, a half million dollar project designed to lift deer farming profits. The balance of funding comes from Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ).

DINZ chief executive officer Dan Coup said he was grateful for the support provided by the fund, which has appreciated the novelty and the merit of the Advance Parties concept.

“We see that as a strong endorsement for our overall deer farming profitability strategy – Passion2Profit.” . .

Farmax to be first company to adopt Farm Data Code of Practice

Leading farm management software provider Farmax is the first company in New Zealand to begin the Farm Data Code of Practice accreditation process.

Launched on 10 June, the Farm Data Code of Practice outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers’ data and ensure information is stored and shared in the most secure way possible.

By adopting and implementing the Farm Data Code of Practice, Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said the company will assure farming clients that their data is managed in a responsible way.

“Compliance with the Code of Practice will show that we are committed to furthering the use of information technology-based solutions in the industry. We believe the guidelines set out within the Code of Practice will eventually lead to greater confidence from farmers in how Farmax handles their data,” said Mr McEwen. . . .

Abodo Wood’s Innovative Wood Products Scoop Green Ribbon Awards 2014:

New Zealand natural wood specialist Abodo Wood scooped the Green Economy Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, on June 16.

Abodo’s range of preservative-free, locally grown cladding products were noted as influential in a drive towards sustainable, cradle-to-cradle building materials.

Of particular note was Abodo Wood’s Elements Vulcan+ and Elements Tundra timber weatherboards, both of which are locally grown, FSC certified and free from chemical preservatives. . .

Cow Stuck On Roof In Swiss Alps, Terrible Puns Ensue – Chris York:

You cud not make it up!

The steaks could not have been higher when a lonely and presumably Friesian bovine moo-ved itself onto… oh you get the picture.

It’s a cow stuck on a roof. . .


Which president?

21/06/2014

Which US president are you?

Ronald Reagan

You are real and you keep it real like no other. While some may disagree with you at first, your no-nonsense approach at life always works for the good of everyone. You can kick butt for sure. You are the true American hero!

I think this might be a case of choosing close enough when none of the answers are right doesn’t work.


Saturday’s smiles

21/06/2014

WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?

IF A DEAF CHILD SIGNS SWEAR WORDS, DOES HIS MOTHER WASH HIS HANDS WITH SOAP?

IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?

WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO TO “GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?”

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL EATING AN ENDANGERED PLANT?

WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?

IF A TURTLE DOESN’T HAVE A SHELL, IS HE HOMELESS OR NAKED?

CAN VEGETARIANS EAT ANIMAL CRACKERS?

IF THE POLICE ARREST A MIME, DO THEY TELL HIM HE HAS THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT?

WHY DO THEY PUT BRAILLE ON THE DRIVE-THROUGH BANK MACHINES?

WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?

ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?

IF ONE SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER DROWNS, DO THE REST DROWN TOO?

IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?

WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT FOR THE WORD ‘LISP’ TO HAVE ‘S’ IN IT?

WHY ARE HAEMORRHOIDS CALLED “HAEMORRHOIDS” INSTEAD OF “ASSTEROIDS”?

WHY IS IT CALLED TOURIST SEASON IF WE CAN’T SHOOT AT THEM?

WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRY DATE ON SOUR CREAM?

CAN AN ATHEIST GET INSURANCE AGAINST ACTS OF GOD


Good old days of Beatles

21/06/2014

It’s 50 years since the Beatles arrived for their only tour of New Zealand.

I was too young to notice.

My only memory of the tour is of a boy coming to school with a plastic Beatles’ wig he’d borrowed from his older brother.

The group had broken up by the time I was old enough to be interested in them but their music was still popular at the school and Bible Class dances which were the main organised entertainment for teenagers in those days.

The music is still popular, as is a lot of the music I danced to way back then.

The Young Nats organised a party at Queenstown’s Ice Bar before our recent Mainland conference.

Some of the music playing was older than I am and most was what I danced to when I was the age of the current Young Nats.

I mentioned this to one of them who said, “when it came to music, those really were the good old days.”

That the music has endured suggests he’s right.

Do they write songs like this any more?:

While the charm of the song has endured, the line I’ll write home every day dates it.

That referred to letters, written by hand in ink on paper, sent in envelopes with stamps, not emails, texts, Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Twitter and other electronic means of communications.


Policy without principles doesn’t make party

21/06/2014

Another single-issue group is trying to be a political party.

Ban 1080 Party leader Bill Wallace registered his party online yesterday, having completed paperwork to show he has the required 500 members. . .

Wallace, 63, a mussel farmer and helicopter pilot from Golden Bay, claims to be a newcomer to the 1080 debate.

He says the party will look at fielding candidates in West Coast, Tasman and possibly also further afield.

He would not be standing himself but will soon be in discussion with potential candidates and is on the lookout for a celebrity prepared to front the media on behalf of the party. . .

If his aim is to get attention he might succeed but if he wants to make a real difference politically he won’t have a show.

History is littered with the corpses of single-issue groups without the coherent philosophy and principles a political party requires to succeed.

If an individual or group has a single policy there are much better ways of getting action on it than forming a political party which will go nowhere.


Do you hear the people . . .

21/06/2014

Protests by the usual suspects on the left aren’t unusual.

It takes a lot more than the usual disgruntlements to get other people on to the streets in any number which makes yesterday’s Don’t Damn the Dam rally a serious sign of popular support.

RivettingKate Taylor recorded the rally in words and photos:

CHB people gathered in Waipukurau in their droves this morning to support the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. The dam.

I was going to say hundreds of people lined the streets, but I really have no way of quantifying how many people were there. Watch the news tonight – they might tell you. Suffice to say, in Kate terms, there were lots and lots.

Farmers, bankers, fertiliser reps, spreader drivers and two former regional councillors Ewan McGregor and Kevin Rose, who are probably secretly glad the decision is not up to them anymore.

There were tractors, utes, motorbikes, stock trucks and a few huntaways. . .

After clogging up the state highway system for a wee while, the vehicle possession (bigger than the annual Christmas parade but no Santa!!) parked up and the “green space” on “post office corner” was filled with claps and cheers for Mr Streeter and Mr Heaton, HB Federated Farmers president Will Foley and local fifth-generation farmer (and CHBDC district councillor) Andrew Watts. We also heard from someone from Timaru who had seen the growth in South Canterbury from the Opuha dam and resulting irrigation systems. . . .

I think the someone from Timaru was Federated Farmers vice president William Rolleston.

Feds is firmly behind the project, but Hawkes Bay provincial president Will Foley is concerned about nutrient limits:

Last month, Massey’s Dr Mike Joy told a Canterbury audience, “The nitrate toxicity in some waterways is 10 times the safe level already. We have gone from safe levels of 1.9 millilitres a litre, to 3.8ml/l in Canterbury.”

With the Tukituki Board of Inquiry proposing a limit of 0.8 milligrams per litre for dissolved inorganic nitrogen, it would seem contradictory, but its draft decision is about a very different limit – what it believes is good for ecosystem health.  And on the nitrate toxicity score, the draft National Objectives Framework has set 6.9ml/l as the bottomline and the Tukituki is not even remotely close. 

So let’s park Dr Joy and focus on what we all want to achieve for the Tukituki. 

That means remembering why we started out in the first place.  It was to tackle an algae that’s been with us forever called Periphyton.  Everyone agrees it’s a problem so what’s the solution?

We get Periphyton because the Tukituki is a rocky river running warm during summer low flows.  Its growth is exacerbated by nitrogen and phosphorus so Hawke’s Bay Regional Council came up with a three-pronged approach hitting phosphorus, managing nitrogen and increasing water flows. 

In all the debate since, this environmental solution with strong economic benefits has been parked out of sight.

You can only increase water flow during summer by storing rainwater and that’s where Ruataniwha comes in.  This extra water helps to cool the Tukituki during summer while flushing it of Periphyton.  That’s been the experience of South Canterbury’s Opuha scheme on a similar river. 

We’ve had a similar improvement in the Waiareka Creek from the North Otago Irrigation Company scheme.

It used to be little more than a series of stagnant ponds. Now with guaranteed minimum flows from irrigation water it runs clean and wildlife has re-established.

Another experience is the economic boon Opuha has been to South Canterbury.

Yet during the Board of Inquiry, Dr Joy’s colleague Dr Death, helped to shift the focus off Periphyton and towards the stream life of rivers using a model developed for the Manawatu; a very different river to our Tukituki. Arguably, that’s how a limit of 0.8mg/l entered the minds of the Board of Inquiry, but how many invertebrates found in water doesn’t correlate to any one nutrient. 

Ironically, it was Fish and Game’s Corina Jordan who confirmed that while nitrogen and clearly phosphorus have impacts, so does river flow, sediment, light intensity and temperature.  The upshot being that there is no straight line relationship between a limit of 0.8mg/l and invertebrate health. 

Farmers like me are not in denial because Federated Farmers is okay with having a number, but that number must be an indicator and not chiselled into granite.  Especially since that number was derived from a model not validated for the Tukituki River and especially since Dr Death’s use of the Macroinvertebrate Community Index happens to be an indicator itself.

The Hawke’s Bay community needs a solution but the proposed limit of 0.8mg/l is so blunt, it makes Ruataniwha untenable. 

The Port of Napier is right to call Ruataniwha a game changer for the entire Hawke’s Bay region.  Before Ruataniwha’s viability was compromised we were talking about a quarter of a billion dollar boost each and every year.  If 0.8 remains as a hard limit, it not only kills the dam but means the region going forward will become $50 million poorer each year.  

Unless 0.8 becomes an indicator it will seriously compromise all the farming we currently have.  We’re not just talking sheep and beef but the guys who grow crops, the guys who run orchards, those who milk and even the guys who grow the grapes our region is famous for.

A hard limit of 0.8 means no Ruataniwha leaving us with Periphyton, a worsening economy and increasingly, rivers suffering from ever lower and warmer flows due to drought.  If farms convert to forestry we can possibly add sediment to that list.  Can anyone tell me what the environmental or community upside is? 

Dr Doug Edmeades wrote recently, “the best pieces of advice I was given as a young scientist: ‘Edmeades, I do not give a damn for your opinion what are the facts.”  Opinion seems the basis for 0.8mg/l but it is fact that it’s 14 times more stringent than the international standard for drinking water.  Don’t damn our dam.

Water storage and the irrigation it enables can improve both water quantity and quality.

It provides recreational opportunities and a significant economic boost. Farmers will make the biggest investment and take the biggest risk but as the people rallying yesterday obviously realise the benefits will flow right through the community in more jobs and more business opportunities with the economic and social boost that will bring.

The people of Hawkes Bay spoke through their support for the rally yesterday.

The Regional Council will show whether or not it heard them when it makes it decision on supporting the project, or not.


Shortest day, longest night

21/06/2014

Today marks the winter solstice.

At 10:51 tonight the sun will be at its furthermost point north of the equator.

We’ve had a few frosts but the worst of the winter weather usually comes much later than the solstice.


Saturday soapbox

21/06/2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse.

Empirical evidence is a beautiful thing my friends, it lets you make informed decisions.

June 21 in history

21/06/2014

524  Godomar, King of the Burgundians defeated the Franks at the Battle of Vézeronce.

1307  Külüg Khan enthroned as Khagan of the Mongols and Wuzong of the Yuan.

1528 Maria of Spain, Holy Roman Empire Empress, was born (d. 1603).

1582  The Incident at Honnō-ji  in Kyoto.

1621  Execution of 27 Czech noblemen on the Old Town Square in Prague as a consequence of the Battle of White Mountain.

1732 Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, German composer, was born  (d. 1791).

1734  In Montreal, a slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique was put to death, having been convicted of the arson that destroyed much of the city.

1749  Halifax, Nova Scotia, was founded.

1768   James Otis, Jr. offended the King and parliament in a speech to the Massachusetts General Court.

1788   New Hampshire ratified the Constitution of the United States and is admitted as the 9th state in the United States.

1791 Robert Napier, British engineer, was born  (d. 1876).

1798   Irish Rebellion of 1798: The British Army defeated Irish rebels at the Battle of Vinegar Hill.

1813   Peninsular War: Battle of Vitoria.

1824   Greek War of Independence: Egyptian forces captured Psara in the Aegean Sea.

1826   Maniots defeated Egyptians under Ibrahim Pasha in the Battle of Vergas.

1854  First Victoria Cross won during bombardment of Bomarsund in the Aland Islands.

1864   New Zealand Land Wars: The Tauranga Campaign ended.

1877   The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants, were hanged at the Schuylkill County and Carbon County, Pennsylvania prisons?

1895  The Kiel Canal was officially opened.

1898   The United States captured Guam from Spain.

1905 Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and writer, Nobel Prize  laureate, was born  (declined) (d. 1980).

1912  Mary McCarthy, American writer, was born  (d. 1989).

1915  The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down an Oklahoma law denying the right to vote to some citizens.

1919  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fired a volley into a crowd of unemployed war veterans, killing two, during the Winnipeg General Strike.

1919   Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttled the German fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed were the last casualties of World War I.

1921  Judy Holliday, American actress, was born  (d. 1965)

1921  Jane Russell, American actress, was born.

1940  The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage began at Vancouver, British Columbia

1942   World War II: Tobruk fell to Italian and German forces.

1942  World War II: A Japanese submarine surfaced near the Columbia River in Oregon, firing 17 shells at nearby Fort Stevens in one of only a handful of attacks by the Japanese against the United States mainland.

1944 Ray Davies, English musician (The Kinks), was born.

1945  World War II: The Battle of Okinawa ended.

1947  Joey Molland, English musician (Badfinger), was born.

1948 Ian McEwan, English writer, was born.

1948  Columbia Records introduced the long-playing record album in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

1952  Philippine School of Commerce, through a republic act, was converted to Philippine College of Commerce; later to be the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

1957  Ellen Louks Fairclough was sworn in as Canada’s first woman Cabinet Minister.

1964 The Beatles landed in New Zealand.

The Beatles land in NZ

1964  Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner, were murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi,, by members of the Ku Klux Klan?

1973   In handing down the decision in Miller v. California 413 US 15, the Supreme Court of the United States established the Miller Test, which now governs obscenity in U.S. law.

1982 Prince William of Wales, British prince and heir, was born.

1982 John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

2000   Section 28 (outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in the United Kingdom) was repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote.

2001  A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicted 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen.

2004   SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

2006   Pluto’s newly discovered moons were officially named Nix & Hydra.

2009 – Greenland assumed self-rule.

2012 – A boat carrying more than 200 refugees capsised in the Indian Ocean between Java and Christmas Island, killing 17 people and leaving 70 other missing,

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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