Going without alcohol

June 22, 2014

Tonight’s Sunday feature Mrs D is Going Without was a powerful and moving story.

Lotta Dann told how alcohol came to dominate her life and how she gave it up.

One of the things which helped her was her blog – Mrs D Is Going Without .

There will be very few people who don’t have someone with alcohol problems in their circle of family and friends.

Not all those with problems will be alcoholics.

Many who are will be high functioning and manage to go about normal life in spite of their addiction.

Going public as Lotta did tonight took a lot of courage, I know of one family who has already found it has provided help.

 

 

 


Political story of the day

June 22, 2014

A new candidate needs to get noticed but the run-of-the-mill campaign launch isn’t going to do it.

National’s Clutha Southland candidate Todd Barclay chose a novel way to launch his campaign and was rewarded with nation-wide TV coverage:

. . . Queenstown Bay was also the site of an unlikely campaign launch for Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay.

“People take politics quite seriously and so do I, but I still want to demonstrate that I can get out there and have a bit of fun as well,” says Mr Barclay.

Almost derailed before his team left the jetty, Mr Barclay was the last to leave his sinking ship.

“My relative youth some people see as an issue, but I think that’s a strength. We want to put a play on that goes to show that age is no barrier. We are getting involved and having a bit of fun.”

And while his predecessor admired the novel campaign launch, he didn’t seem too bothered he wasn’t invited to participate.

“I wasn’t even asked or even tempted,” says Deputy Prime Minister Bill English. “I wasn’t even invited. I just stick to meetings in town halls.”

But he did have plenty of advice for his young replacement.

“He needs to work pretty hard to earn the right to represent people here because it’s been a National seat. They actually expect the National Party candidate to work harder than anyone else and that’s what he’s doing.”

There’s little doubt Mr English will be a tough act to follow, but it seems Mr Barclay isn’t too bad at keeping his head above water. . .

Having fun is important, especially when you’re working with volunteers as Todd is.

He made a splash with his campaign launch and he’s working very hard to meet people throughout the 38,247 square kilometres of the electorate he’s seeking to represent.

He knows he has to earn the right to be the MP and he’s taking nothing for granted.


Labour delays list annoucnement

June 22, 2014

Labour was to have announced it party list for the 2014 election today.

The announcement has now been delayed until tomorrow:

How could there be anything else but difficulties with a female quota and polls suggesting at best only one or two sitting MPs will make it back in on the list?


Word of the day

June 22, 2014

Frenemy –  a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, despite a fundamental dislike and feelings of resentment or rivalry; a person who is ostensibly friendly or collegial with someone but who is actually antagonistic or competitive; an enemy disguised as a friend.


101 ways for councils to cut rates

June 22, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has published a new report by Jono Brown that suggest ways local councils can save money and reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders.

Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government is a guide for local authorities on how they can cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy and ultimately lower rates. The report adopts many suggestions made by the country’s mayors, and is based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom. . . .

Too often we hear unimaginative councillors insisting that they have no choice but to increase the rates burden. Before they even consider increasing rates they should consider all of the suggestions in this report.  In future, any council claiming that raising rates is the only option had better be able to prove that they have implemented or at least considered implementing every single idea we are putting before them today. If not, they won’t be able to look their residents in the eye and insist that they have exhausted the possibilities for saving money.

Ray Wallace, Mayor of Lower Hutt, says in a foreword to the report:

“I urge local government people to take these suggestions as a challenge. If you do not like them, come up with some better ones.”

Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill City, says in a foreword to the report:

“Having been a mayor for 28 years and finally achieving a rate increase of less than 1%, I’ve learnt to face many challenges and this publication is certainly challenging. Some of the ideas are obviously worthy of discussion and others are clearly designed to provoke discussion.”

Highlights of how councils can save money:

  • Pay back council debt (#1)
  • Incentivise innovation (#2)
  • Stop providing free lunch and booze for councillors (#3)
  • Don’t fund or join chambers of commerce (#4)
  • Publish all accounts payable transactions (#5)

Other notable suggestions include:

  • Scrap political advisors (#10)
  • Get rid of professional sports subsidies disguised as ‘economic development’ (#17)
  • Cancel annual subscription to Local Government New Zealand (#24)
  • Stop producing glossy brochures (#33)
  • Lease art the council can’t sell (#99)

Rates are a large part of the tax burden which add unnecessary expense for ratepayers and hold New Zealand back.

Some costs are the result of imposition by central government, but some are a result of insufficient attention to efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Not all of the suggestions will work for all councils, but this report is a very good place for those wanting to rescue their costs and give ratepayers better value is a very good place to start.

The full report is here.

 


Rural round-up

June 22, 2014

In the rush to all things digital, are we missing a biological trick? – sticK:

New Zealand is missing a trick when it comes to the startup weekend, incubator, accelerator programme ecosystem that’s got lots of attention lately.

And sure, I can appreciate how the digital side of things is extremely quick at developing and validating a business through processes such as Lightning Lab.

Where I wonder if we’re underplaying to one of our strengths, is in the biology/technology economy (the analogue economy perhaps?).

What would be the new research and commercialisation projects if we had fired up scientists, engineers, manufacturers,  hands-on finance and distribution people, digital experts and some other odd and even people hothoused in a similar way to the incubator models? . . .

Cracking sheep source code vindicates grower support:

AgResearch’s internationally led mapping of the sheep genome is not just an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand, but vindicates growers backing the creation of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

“With the loss of lowland pasture Federated Farmers is keen to see sheep bred with traits to thrive in hill and high country farms. Mapping the sheep genome is a crucial breakthrough,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We back the sheep industry to grow and genetic mapping will be of immense benefit to wool should farmers approve a proposed levy vote later in the year.

“We think it was said best at the KPMG Agribusiness Leader’s Breakfast at Fieldays, one megatrend could be beef, lamb and wool as high value luxury consumer goods. . . .

Electric farm bike under development:

Developers of an electric farm bike are hoping to put their idea into production over the next year.

Anthony Clyde and Darryl Neal’s Ranger-two wheel drive Lightweight Electric Farm Bike won two innovation awards at the Agricultural Fieldays.

Darryl Neal said the bike had been on the drawing board for about three years, but it was a rush to get a prototype built to display at the fieldays.

He said the concept grew from people who wanted to use bicycles on farms. . .

Prices and Sales Volume Lifting in Strong May Market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 52 more farm sales (+10.2%) for the three months ended May 2014 than for the three months ended May 2013. Overall, there were 564 farm sales in the three months to end of May 2014, compared to 498 farm sales for the three months ended April 2014 (+13.3%). 1,881 farms were sold in the year to May 2014, 26.2% more than were sold in the year to May 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to May 2014 was $25,018 compared to $20,499 recorded for three months ended May 2013 (+22.0%). The median price per hectare rose 1.8% compared to April. . . .

Dead heat for farmers and dentists on ‘most trusted professions’ list:

Farmers are tied with dentists as New Zealand’s fourteenth most trusted profession in Readers Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2014.

“It is gratifying to see farmers held in such respect by this Reader’s Digest survey,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and 2014 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

“It is telling the company you keep. Being well within the top 20 means farmers are there with the professions that defend you and your animals, the people who feed you, the people who educate and the people who literally move you.

“Like any profession we have our share of ratbags but this survey demonstrates that most New Zealanders know farmers are hard working decent folk who genuinely try our hardest. . . .

Australia still owns the farm

DESPITE an increase in farmland owned by businesses with some level of foreign investment, Australia’s farms and farm businesses remain largely Australian-owned.

Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its 2013 Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey (ALWOS) show just under 99 per cent of Australian farm businesses are fully Australian-owned and just under 90pc of farmland is fully Australian owned.

Bruce Hockman from the ABS said the survey also confirmed that large businesses continue to account for the majority of foreign owned farmland, with less than 50 businesses accounting for 95pc of the total area of foreign owned farmland in Australia. . . .


Patsy Byrne 13.7.33 – 17.6.14

June 22, 2014

British actress Patsy Byrne who played Nursie in Blackadder has died.


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