Word of the day

July 31, 2014

Chad – a piece of waste material removed from card or tape by punching.


Rural round-up

July 31, 2014

Vet helps sheep death probe – Rebecca Ryan:

Oamaru police want some ”definitive answers” on the cause of death of about 215 sheep in Ngapara, and will get a second opinion from a forensic vet.

Last month, about 195 sheep were killed on Peter and Janine Stackhouse’s farm, and about 20 sheep were found dead on Wendy and John Dodd’s property, about 1.5km away, the following weekend. . .

Changes to East Coast erosion grant scheme:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has announced changes to the funding programme supporting East Coast landowners with erosion issues.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only eight per cent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Since 1992 landowners have been able to use the funding programme to help treat soil erosion, but 60,000 hectares of eligible land remains prone to erosion across the region. It is clear landowners need a more user friendly funding programme to help them tackle this issue.”

The programme has undergone a transformation as a result of two reviews by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2011 and 2012, and consultation held earlier this year. . .

 

Director election for DairyNZ:

Nominations will open next month for a new farmer-elected director for DairyNZ’s board following the resignation of current board member Barbara Kuriger.

DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton says Mrs Kuriger, who is from Taranaki, is standing down from the board to dedicate herself to her new role as the National Party candidate for the Taranaki-King Country electorate in the September General Election.

“Barbara has served on dairy industry boards for 11 years and has made a significant contribution through her links with the Dairy Women’s Network. She was the first person to win the Dairy Woman of the Year title in 2012 and was a founding member of DairyNZ’s board when it was formed in 2007. She has been a passionate advocate for driving improvements in our industry’s training systems. She has also worked hard to increase understanding between urban and rural communities. . . .

Dairying’s legal footprint continues to improve:

Federated Farmers is happy to see the legal footprint of New Zealand’s dairy industry continue to improve based on figures obtained by The Dominion Post.

“We are very happy to see prosecutions heading in the right direction,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“While 21 prosecutions is 21 too many, we need to remember that there are some 12,000 dairy herds in New Zealand. In pure percentage terms it is 0.175 percent of all herds.
“It affirms our view that there is a genuine change of culture in farming. A decade ago the main topic would be stocking rates but today it is dominated by environmental factors.

“When you’ve got weather beaten dairy farmers in their late 50’s comparing notes on riparian plantings and ground sensors, you know there’s a cultural change afoot. . .

Fonterra and Abbott working together in China – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s recent announcement that it will partner with the multinational Abbott in the development of its next hub of China dairy farms is significant on two counts. It affirms Fonterra’s previously announced intentions to press ahead with further farm hubs in China now that the second hub in Shanxi Province is under way. That means that Fonterra retains its confidence about long term prospects in China. The announcement also means that Fonterra has found a top notch partner for some of its China operations.

Fonterra is already a supplier to Abbott of base powder ingredients for its Asian infant formula factories, but the new co-investment in China heralds a much closer relationship. On the surface it looks like an ideal match.

Fonterra’s expertise lies in producing high quality milk and in the first stage processing thereof. Abbott’s expertise lies in value-added nutritional products and marketing these to health conscious consumers.  . .

New model predicts pasture response to nitrogen:

A new model that can more accurately predict pasture responses to nitrogen is now available for farmers throughout the country.

The model is the first product resulting from farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s $19.5 million, seven year Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme, jointly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Backed by sound science and extensive research, N-Guru™ is decision support software, designed in partnership with AgResearch, to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use on New Zealand pastoral farms. . .

Future of horticulture industry looks bright as national vege champion prepares for Young Grower of the Year 2014 final:

One of New Zealand’s top young vegetable growing talents will go head-to-head next month for the title of Young Grower of the Year 2014.

Brett Parker, from Pukekohe, beat six other young vegetable growers from across the country to be crowned the Young Vegetable Grower 2014 in April.

Brett will be looking to impress judges as he goes up against three regional Young Fruit Grower finalists for the national title in the final, run by Horticulture New Zealand in Christchurch on 14 August. The three young fruit growers, from the Nelson, Hawke’s Bay and Bay of Plenty regions will also compete for the Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2014 title, at the same time. . .


Do you really know English?

July 31, 2014

Do you really know English?

15/16.


Thursday’s quiz

July 31, 2014

1. Who said: I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God’s Will, united in spirit and in aim.?

2. How many countries are in the Commonwealth?

3. It’s argent in French, argento in Italian, plata  in Spanish and hiriwa in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who won New Zealand’s first gold in the 1974 Commonwealth Games and in which event?

5. Has the Commonwealth had its day?


Good people

July 31, 2014

Yesterday I was in parliament’s public gallery for six valedictory speeches.

National MPs Shane Ardern, Phil Heatley, Paul Hutchison, Eric Roy and Tony Ryall, and Labour’s Ross Robertson delivered their reflections on their time in parliament.

All were very different but there was one similarity – all had come to parliament, motivated by their desire to serve their constituents and improve their country.

Politicians in general are often derided. Sometimes individuals deserve that derision.

But listening to all the speeches yesterday reminded me that most are good people and most do good work, some in smaller ways, others are able to achieve something bigger.

It also reminded me that there is a lot of common ground on ultimate goals. The divisions are often much less about where we’re going and far more about how to get there.


Mana wants two electorate deals from Labour

July 31, 2014

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

Internet Mana is an unusual political beast, but whether you think it’s a roadshow or sideshow – it’s Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

The Veteran, at No Minister, says Labour’s conspicuous by its absence in Te Tai Tokerau, indicating it’s conceded the seat to sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

David Cunliffe’s refusal to rule Internet-Mana out of a government he leads has  torpedoed Kelvin Davis’s chances of winning Te Tai Tokerau.

Whether or not there’s a formal deal, that is effectively an electoral accommodation Harawira.

Sykes can’t be blamed for asking for a deal in Waiariki too, if only because asking is getting her publicity she’d otherwise struggle for.

 

 

 


Labour’s unemployment policy

July 31, 2014

Labour misnamed the employment policy it announced yesterday – it’s actually a recipe for increasing unemployment:

Labour’s intention to increase the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage would hurt business, cost jobs and reduce growth, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

“Labour’s policy to immediately increase the minimum wage to $16.25 would cost at least 6,000 jobs, and a wage of $18 would cost around 16,500. If you want to make people unemployed this is a good way to go about it,” Mr Bridges says.

“Setting the minimum wage represents a careful balance between protecting low-paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost. You cannot legislate your way to higher wages with the stroke of a pen.

“If it’s not based on increased productivity, simply paying people higher wages is a cost that gets passed on to New Zealanders as higher taxes, reduced competitiveness, inflation and fewer jobs.

“Labour’s promise to scrap National’s successful 90-day trial legislation would also cost thousands of jobs. Research showed that a third of employers who used the trial period would not have hired a new employee without it. And an overwhelming majority of employers have kept staff on after the trial period ended.

“As for Labour’s promise to pay all core public service workers at least the Living Wage: why should core government employees — who only represent about two per cent of the workforce — earn more than a private sector employee doing a similar job?

“Labour’s promise to implement industry standard agreements is a return to the 1970s and is a cynical payback to the Unions for their support.

“It would require all regional employers to pay the same pay rates as one in downtown Auckland. That would cause real damage to regional economies.

“This Government is achieving strong job growth by operating flexible labour market policies that encourage employers to take on new workers.

“Flexibility, choice and fairness in the labour market helps create jobs, increase wages and encourages innovation, and it is critical for supporting a stronger and more productive economy,” Mr Bridges says.

Labour is still suffering under the delusion that it can legislate wealth.

It doesn’t understand that increasing wages by diktat isn’t sustainable and anything that adds costs, complexity or risk to employing people will increase unemployment.


July 31 in history

July 31, 2014

30 BC  Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieved a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserted, leading to his suicide.

781 The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji.

904 Thessalonica fell to the Arabs, who destroyed the city.

1009  Pope Sergius IV became the 142nd pope, succeeding Pope John XVIII.

1200 Attempted usurpation of John Komnenos the Fat.

1423  Hundred Years’ War: Battle of Cravant – the French army was defeated at Cravant.

1451  Jacques Cœur was arrested by order of Charles VII of France.

1492 Jews were expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree took effect.

1498 On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.

1658 Aurangzeb was proclaimed Moghul emperor of India.

1667   Treaty of Breda ended the second Anglo-Dutch War.

1703  Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was pelted with flowers.

1741  Charles Albert of Bavaria invaded Upper Austria and Bohemia.

1777 Pedro Ignacio de Castro Barros, Argentine statesman and priest, was born (d. 1849).

1777 The U.S. Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”

1790  First U.S. patent was issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

1800 Friedrich Wöhler, German chemist and founder of organic chemistry, was born (d. 1882).

1803 John Ericsson, Swedish inventor and engineer, was born (d. 1889).

1856  Christchurch, New Zealand, was chartered as a city.

1860 Mary Vaux Walcott, American artist and naturalist, was born (d. 1940).

1865 The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opened at Grandchester, Australia.

1895  The Basque Nationalist Party (Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco) was founded by Basque nationalist leader Sabino Arana.

1909  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Austrian writer and polyglot, was born (d. 1999).

1912  Milton Friedman, American economist, Nobel laureate (d. 2006).

1913 The Balkan States signed an armistice at Bucharest.

1919 German national assembly adopted the Weimar constitution.

1921 Peter Benenson, British founder of Amnesty International, was born (d. 2005).

1930  The radio mystery programme The Shadow  aired for the first time.

1932  The NSDAP won more than 38% of the vote in German elections.

1936  The International Olympic Committee announced that the 1940 Summer Olympics would be held in Tokyo. However, the games were given back to the IOC after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, and are eventually cancelled altogether because of World War II.

1938 – Bulgaria signed a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia).

1938 Archaeologists discovered engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis.

1940 A doodlebug train in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio collided with a multi-car freight train heading in the opposite direction, killing 43 people.

1941  Holocaust: under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

1943 Lobo, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1944  Geraldine Chaplin, American actress, was born.

1944 – Jonathan Dimbleby, British journalist and television presenter.

1945  Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrendered to Allied soldiers in Austria.

1945  John K. Giles attempted to escape from Alcatraz prison.

1948  New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) was dedicated.

1951  Japan Airlines was established.

1954 First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

1959  The Basque separatist organisation ETA was founded.

1964 Jim Corr, Irish singer and musician (The Corrs), was born.

1964  Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

1970 Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy.

1972 – Operation Motorman: British troops moved into the no-go areas of Belfast and Derry. End of Free Derry.

1972 – Three car bombs detonated in Claudy, Northern Ireland, killing nine.

1973 A Delta Air Lines jetliner crashed while landing in fog at Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts killing 89.

1976 John Walker won gold in the 1500 metres at the Montreal Olympics.

John Walker wins gold in Montreal

1976 NASA released the  Face on Mars photo.

1978 Will Champion, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

1980 Mils Muliaina, New Zealand rugby union player, was born.

1980 Mikko Hirvonen, Finnish rally driver, was born.

1981 – General Omar Torrijos of Panama died in a plane crash.

1981 A total solar eclipse occured.

1987  A rare, class F4 tornado ripped through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage.

1988  32 people died and 1,674 injured when a bridge at the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal collapsed in Butterworth, Malaysia.

1991  The Medininkai Massacre in Lithuania. Soviet OMON attacked Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai, killing 7 officers and severely wounding one other.

1992  A Thai Airways Airbus A300-310 crashed into a mountain north of Kathmandu, Nepal killing 113.

1999  Lunar Prospector – NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon, ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.

2002  Hebrew University of Jerusalem was attacked when a bomb exploded in a cafeteria, killing 9.

2006  Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro.

2007 Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, ended.

2012 – Michael Phelps broke the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the greatest number of medals won at the Olympics.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

July 30, 2014

Bashment – a large celebration, party or dance; a dance hall; an up-tempo style of popular music derived from dancehall and ragga; any kind of Jamaican music, any jam sessions.


Word of the day

July 30, 2014

Valedictory – of or relating to a valediction; expressing, containing or serving as a farewell; a farewell address; of or pertaining to an occasion of leave-taking.


Rural round-up

July 30, 2014

Speech to Red Meat Sector conference – Nathan Guy:

Good evening and thank you for the opportunity to address you all tonight.

Following some challenging years, there are strong indications of improved results for many companies in the sector this year.

This resilience is a reflection of the hard work of people throughout the red meat sector.

The meat and wool sectors make up 21 percent of total primary sector export revenue at an estimated export value of $8 billion for the year ending 30 June 2014, which is a record.

The recovery of dry stock numbers after last year’s drought and the productivity improvements need to be acknowledged.

In the face of forecast decreases in stock numbers these capabilities will be important assets for the future. . .

Growth in global milk pool ‘unusual,’ says Spierings, in cutting forecast – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The global market for dairy products have been in the unusual situation where most producers have been lifting supply, while demand weakened in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, says Fonterra Cooperative Group chief executive Theo Spierings.

The world’s biggest dairy exporter today cut its Farmgate Milk Price forecast for the 2014/2015 year to $6 a kilogram of milk solids from a previous forecast of $7 kgMS, reflecting a slide in global dairy prices, which touched their lowest levels since December 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction. It flagged a dividend of 20 cents to 25 cents, up from last year’s 10 cent payment.

“All milk pools around the world showed significant growth – we see milk coming from everywhere,” Spierings said. “On the demand side, China is looking at pretty high inventories” although in-market sales “are still very, very strong in China.” Demand in Southeast Asia and the Middle East had dropped off faster than expected as rising prices were passed onto consumers, he said. . . .

Agri industry passion leads to new appointment – Rabobank:

With a clear passion for the agricultural industry and strong knowledge of the sector, Georgia Twomey is thrilled to be appointed as a commodity analyst in Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team.

Based in Rabobank’s Australia/New Zealand head office in Sydney, Ms Twomey will oversee sugar, cotton and wool – three key sectors for Rabobank’s business in the region.

Ms Twomey says she has always loved working in the agricultural industry, particularly being raised with a farming background, growing up in Goulburn in southern New South Wales.

“I love the agricultural industry and believe the sector really holds the key to Australia’s future economic security,” she says. . .

More emphasis on microbes required in food safety

Current concepts regarding food safety and security may be inadequate for fully addressing what is an increasingly complex issue. That’s according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology, Dr Malik Hussain.

Dr Hussain has been invited as a representative of the University’s Centre for Food Research and Innovation to the Asian Food Safety and Security Association Conference to be held in Vietnam in August. He will also chair a workshop at the conference on risk assessment and management with regard to food safety.

Although the matter of food safety and security may sound simple enough, it is, in fact, a multi-dimensional and complicated issue, made all the more so from increasing pressures stemming from rapid population growth. . .

Steve Yung appointed as new Sealord CEO:

Sealord Group Ltd’s Board of Directors has appointed experienced food industry leader Steve Yung as the company’s next CEO.

Canadian born Yung has most recently been Managing Director of McCain Foods Australia/New Zealand and will take up his new role, based in Auckland on the 25th August 2014. He was a member of the global Senior Leadership Team at McCain.

Sealord Group Chairman Matanuku Mahuika said Yung has a strong set of skills that will help the company’s growth and development, particularly in the Australian market. . . .

Protecting your winter grazing business:

Both graziers and those sending animals for grazing have obligations under the NAIT programme to record the movements of animals from farm to farm. It is the grazier’s responsibility to record a NAIT movement from the grazing block to the home farm for animals that have been wintered on their property.

It’s also important that the person in charge of the animals at the receiving home farm confirm with NAIT when the cattle arrive back from grazing.

This can be done through movement related notification emails that include a direct link to the NAIT system, where animal movements can be confirmed or rejected in just a few clicks. Alternatively, you can contact NAIT on 0800 624 843. . . .

UK supermarket giant partners with New Zealand Ag-Tech company for major R&D collaboration:

British supermarket Sainsbury’s is teaming up with New Zealand’s Techion Group to run an international, cutting edge, technology project. The two-year international research & development project will roll out on-farm technology to effectively manage parasites increasing product quality and profits for farmers.

 J Sainsbury Plc, in conjunction withTechion Group Ltd, has announced Sainsbury’s will support the cost of implementing Techion’s technology, the FECPAK G2 system, both in New Zealand and the UK. The project team includes meat processors Alliance Group (NZ), Dunbia (UK) and Randall Parker Foods (UK).

Greg Mirams, Founder and Managing Director of the animal parasite diagnostics company, Techion, is at the centre of the project. He is confident it will have a significant impact on farmers’ profit and efficiency here and in the UK. . .  .


Tied up for Tony

July 30, 2014

Parliament will be especially colourful today.

The best Health Minister in recent times, Tony Ryall, is delivering his valedictory speech this afternoon and his National Party colleagues are getting all tied up in tribute to his sartorial splendour:

Photo: On the day of his Valedictory Speech, National MPs are emulating Tony Ryall's infamous shirt-and-tie combos in tribute to an exceptional career.


All I want for Christmas . . .

July 30, 2014

A happy juxtaposition of hoardings at Wallacetown in the Invercargill electorate:

jkchristmas 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captions are welcome – witty not nasty.


Chris Auchinvole’s valedictory

July 30, 2014

Chris Auckinvole  Auchinvole delivered his valedictory speech last week:

Thank you Mr Speaker, thank you very much indeed for the call to give my Valedictory statement.

Because it’s a privilege that is given to retirees. 15 minutes of uninterrupted discourse, where the opportunity is given to say it, the way it really is, the way I see it, and I intend to do that now.

If we glance overseas, back to Westminster, where our Parliamentary system began, before it was improved by the New Zealand system, we see that the Parliamentary media over there have adopted the sobriquet of “Pale, Male, and Stale” for those that Mr Cameron has decided should no longer hold their Cabinet Warrants. How cruel, how cruel is that to sensitive people? Well, if you can’t take the heat, don’t stand in the kitchen. This is politics 101 after all.  Mind you, all jokes aside, I have always thought the members of the media try to see in others that which they least like about themselves. Let’s think about that for a moment. Every day at quarter to two as we come to the House I have in my dairy ‘available to media’. I approach the milieu of people and cameras and microphones. Sometimes they say, “G’Day Chris”, that’s it! There have been perhaps three times when I have had that wonderful surround sound of microphones and cameras, very exciting, unfortunately it was always over a tragic association with Pike River rather than the sort of fun our Minister have.

Does the Westminsterial sobriquet apply over here?  Are retirees Pale Male and Stale on this side of the world? On this side of the house? I don’t think so Mr Speaker, Oh No!  I don’t think so! Well not yet at any rate, but, as my old friend Roy Hodgson in Rūnanga used to say, a good old coal miner, ‘Hang on, let’s have a think about that.’ So I’ve given it a bit of thought.

Well Pale, OK I certainly do not have a ruddy or dark complexion, but roseate enough on a frosty morning not to be described as pale.

Male? I make no apology for being a male. I hope I’m seen as a considerate, compassionate and communicable male; I make no apology for that. If I have faults, and I’m sure I do, well I don’t think  I can blame my gender for my behaviour without it being a cop-out. There ain’t nothing wrong in being a bloke if you behave yourself properly!  I am pleased nonetheless that our new National Candidate for West Coast Tasman is Maureen Pugh, thereby enhancing the opportunity for gender balance in the party.

Stale? Don’t think so. I have achieved more for the electorate in the last year in the cumulative improvement in West Coast Tasman health infrastructure than ever before – and haven’t we had such a wonderful Minister of Health! I have contributed as much on an annual basis to Select Committee work, in the last year as in any other, and have spoken more frequently in the Chamber. I had a speech that went trending on Twitter, Lianne Dalziel had to say it was trending and not trendy, and it was viral on Internet in the opinion of TV3– and this was after I had announced my retirement. So Stale? No.

So, if that is the successful rebuttal of the Westminsterial criticism of gentlemen of European ancestry of a certain age and career achievement, if I have successfully rebutted that, why the hell am I retiring? That’s a good question but here is the answer because it is a question that does require answering.

When I joined the National Party, signed up by Keith Holyoake, who said “Be careful when you sign that membership form, you may end up in Parliament” – that was in Kaikohe circa 1968, I actually made a commitment to work to support the Party – not to seek to support myself, but to support the Party.  I am now 69 years old, and while so many people say I don’t look it, well I am.

Well I don’t know of any other, National MP’s, who are 69 years old, but as we sign up to three year brackets of tenure, would you really want to still be trundling around Parliament at 72? You’d need quite an ego if you thought you couldn’t be replaced effectively by a younger person. I guess the only other extenuating circumstance would be if your were a party leader if you had a Scottish mother from the Isle of Skye, but even then you’d be pushing it.

I guess Mr Speaker, this is the reality. Keeping a balance of diversity, age, gender, and ethnicity in a caucus is a long game, not short one. And haven’t we all benefited from the inclusion of people of diversity and different ethnicity in this Parliament?  And I’ve got one sitting right here, Kanwal Bakshi, who makes a huge contribution and National has certainly changed under the John key leadership. Each of us has to think now, about the future of our Party, and the part we want to play. With my own retirement and the retirements of colleagues from National now, the real effect will be first in 2017 when National will have an incredibly fresh team, all with at least three years’  experience as MP’s youthful yet mature, vigorous and energetic, may I say, multi-shaded, gender-balanced and fresh. That’s the way it will be on this side of the House. I have no wish to be Partisan, but hey, consideration should be given to how we will look as a Party in comparison with one another in three years’ time, or indeed in six years’ time, because you have to plan that far out for refreshment and strength, Should some of Parliaments older incumbents cling to the backs of their seats, and some of us to have a tendency to do that. Speaking entirely for myself, I wish to be part of a refreshment process rather than a stagnation process within the Party – and should people not, which will occur that people don’t and allow replacements come in, I think that the best way to do that is to retire at my present stage.

So while I am not personally seeking re-election, I am of course, still steeped in the process of the election cycle. The political messages thought that are put out by all parties have a different emphasis, if one is thinking as a voter rather than one to be voted for. It gives you a different slant on things. It’s interesting to see the way parties want to differentiate from one another. One of my regular phone callers on the Coast brought this to my attention when he asked “ What about those parties that want to bring back Smacking – is it ‘cos they want us all to smack kids, or do they have a secret dream of being smacked themselves if only the law allowed it? You just don’t know nowadays do you?”  He does has a point.

The other point he made Mr Speaker, and I am absolutely sure it will not cause any offence, is to ask why some parties insist on having Binding Referenda. He said “It sounds to him like the way people always try to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do with natural resources on the coast when they don’t even live here themselves.” And went on to say “The really strange part is that the parties that say we should have Binding referenda are always minority parties and by their own mandate they shouldn’t accept to be in Parliament cause they did not achieve majority support.”  He has a point! He has a point, and I really look forward to continuing to benefit from West Coast wisdom, and the philosophical observations of people once outside and home again.

Mr Speaker I do not intend to speak any further on new and emergent parties that hope to hold us in thrall to their whims and wants – in my view MMP is a reality that I think would be a pity to lose, but as well as providing opportunities for new philosophies one of it’s vulnerabilities is that it can attract charlatans from time to time, but the electorate is, I trust developing a maturity in the way we use and view MMP.

So what Mr Speaker, have I been able to contribute and what have I gained from my nine years in this place?

For me the most significant part of the Parliamentary process, as a back-bencher, is the Select Committee system. This is our Second House, our Senate, our House of Lords, as this is where the public have a direct interface with the legislative process. This is where the public are asked what they think of the legislation being put forward. In my experience, the adversarial relationship between Parties and individual members is subsumed to less of a partisan system, where members each consider the evidence put before them in submissions from people, often based on a personal or observed experience. I have always been impressed by the sincerity and depth of explanation the public provide. Organisations too, be they Corporate bodies, commercial organisations, or community groups, come in with carefully prepared and sharply focussed submissions to argue a point. Each and every submission is considered, weighed, then reported back to the committee by the appointed officials who are assisting the committee.

I like to think my main opportunity to make a contribution has been through the Committee process, and I am extremely grateful for the appointments that I have had to those committees and have developed a deep appreciation of colleagues from all sides of the house in the way we have the capacity to work together through the committee system. It always a bit of a surprise when you come out of the committee system, I remember when we did the review of the – I won’t bother dealing with the individual acts – but some of the complex ones when we worked together very well as parties, we come out and suddenly you here people speaking as if they wanted nothing to do with it, and how dreadful it was. And I remember saying to a Minister once, “this wasn’t a reflection of the way they spoke in the committee”, and they said, “Chris, they’re not speaking to you in the committee, they’re speaking to their membership in the public and it’s not in their advantage to looks as if we all work together too easily.”

Representing people, be they individuals or entire electorates is a big privilege, and the West Coast Tasman electorate will always be special for me and it’s a delight to see people have actually come up from West Coast and Tasman to be with us today and ill think well give them a little clap as it’s a hell of a long way. Particularly nice to see three young Nat’s, there’s four young or more young Nat’s in the back, and they’ve been with me I think since third form and they’re at university now and doing very well.

The West Coast Tasman electorate will always be special to me. There were aspects of political opportunity that held special appeal for me when I first arrived in 2005, but I chose to concentrate my attention on serving the electorate, and have stuck with that prime intention. All politicians in my experience wish to achieve the best they can for the people they represent –  each Party having separate ways of achieving that –  and I have always been comfortable promoting the policies of National. There have been good times in the electorate, and times of awful tragedy – both the good times and the tragedies are part of the political journey as an MP, and it has been very pleasing to me Mr Speaker to have seen the level of agreement between parties in processing the Pike River Royal Commission recommendations towards workplace Health and Safety reform.

Mr Speaker it has been a great time to be in Parliament over the last nine years. New Zealand plays a significant part in world affairs as a small nation with a developed and still developing economy. People are not afraid of New Zealand. New Zealand views are listened to and sought.  I think it fair to say that we have been well served by Foreign Ministers from all parties over the last few decades and we are regarded as a very responsible world citizen. I hope that the influence we have built up can be used in some of the complex and tragic dynastic problems that are occurring at the moment between governments to the detriment and horrifying physical cost to all their citizens.

Finally Mr Speaker, I looked up Valedictory in my Chambers dictionary – normally it is the final speech of a graduand leaving their place of learning – for me that’s a fit leaving here. Thanks directly to my National Colleagues, and to the Prime Minister and his staff for the leadership provided. There is no greater call than that your country needs you, and gosh, New Zealand does need John Key, thank goodness we have you as Prime Minister!

This is a dynamic place. It managed without me before I arrived, and it will manage without me after I’ve left. Well alright! You’re so kind. Members and staff will concentrate on themselves, the job in hand and their individual and collective Party aspirations as before and that is what should happen. I will be no more memorable than any other politician who has served here or moved on.  I don’t expect the majority of you to remember me in any shape or form, BUT I will remember each of you, each and every one of you, and all the transactions we have engaged in, and I will treasure all the exchanges we have had, I promise you that, be it at Select Committee, in the Debating Chambers, in Copperfield’s, Bellamy’s, or the gym, on social occasions, on formal occasions,  in private conversation, in private meetings or in public engagement, with Security Staff, Parliamentary Services Staff, the Travel Team, the media team, with Brent’s Messengers, the Clerk’s Office, IT Help services,  bless them, the  Comm’s Unit, Research, the Library, the exemplary  In Style Taxi services headed up by Paul Rossiter, Air NZ Koru Club, the electorate teams, the Young Nats, my office staff past and  present and, and bless them, those who have left us – the late Dan Strong, my electorate chair in Motueka, and late Margaret  Dougan who supported me in Motueka. To the voters of West Coast Tasman and  National who provided me with nine years of representation for the West Coast Tasman electorate, to my darling wife Elspeth and my family, I thank you and I thank each and everyone mentioned, no matter which Party you choose to belong to, or which path you choose to walk along. Thanks for nine unforgettable years! Thank you Mr Speaker.


Not as blue as polls paint it

July 30, 2014

The trend in the polls is encouraging but the future isn’t as blue as they paint it.

National is polling well, but still slightly below where it was at this time before the 2011 election.

The message is clear – if people want a third term national government with John Key as Prime Minister they have to vote and vote blue.

Ticking National candidates will help get them into parliament.

But it’s the party vote that counts most and only by ticking National for the party vote will help it into government.

 

Today I outlined National’s position on accommodating support parties in electorate contests at this year’s General Election. We will encourage National party supporters to give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate in Epsom and the United Future candidate in Ohariu. In East Coast Bays, Murray McCully will be competing for the electorate vote. Whatever happens in those seats, we will be focused on maximising the party vote for National across the country in all seats. It is only through delivering the strongest possible party vote that National voters will return National to Government. #Working4NZ ntnl.org.nz/1rK9sYa


Blue better for water than Green

July 30, 2014

Green isn’t the best colour for water, Federated Farmers environment spokesman Ian Mackenzie says:

The National Policy Statement (NPS) for freshwater may not have razzmatazz, but arose from that exercise in consensual collaboration called the Land and Water Forum [LawF].  It was the first time industry, councils, government departments and groups from Federated Farmers to Fish & Game, sat down to openly address water issues and find solutions.

At the heart of the NPS are our regional councils, who have been tasked with maintaining and improving water quality while bringing the poorest water quality up to a national minimum standard.  With next to no exceptions, this policy applies to all water bodies whether they are in town or country. This was an essential part of the LawF consensus and the government chose secondary human contact as the national minimum standard.  All of New Zealand’s top water scientists were involved in this.

The Green Party claim they are advocates for the environment and I would have thought they would have welcomed this important piece of legislation; whose intent is to keep New Zealand’s fresh water as the best in the world.

Being a farmer and with so many conflicting claims about water quality you may be dubious about what I am saying.  For an objective ‘warts and all’ water picture, can I direct you to the Land and Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website at www.lawa.org.nz.  It confirms our water quality is generally good, with many rivers and streams improving thanks to farmers’ efforts at riparian protection.

What we know is that most swimming spots monitored by regional councils over the warmer months are generally satisfactory for swimming.  The Greens often claim “60 percent of our water” is unsafe, but a vast number of sites are affected by urban runoff.  

When poor water standards are mentioned too many people blame farming but some of the worst water quality is in urban areas and the result of urban activities.

Now, the Green Party wants to make all water bodies swimmable.   This is disingenuous because of the sheer difficulty and cost of achieving it.

There are 425,000 kilometres of waterways in New Zealand, which would have to meet those swimming standards, 24 hours a day and 365-days of the year. 

The LAWA website states, “rivers and streams in (or downstream of) urban areas tend to have the poorest water quality (the highest concentrations of nutrients and bacteria, and lowest macroinvertebrate community index (MCI) scores).” This is because all our urban storm water systems are designed to use urban rivers and streams to take away all this run-off.  

The Landcare Trust is running a community project to clean up some of the urban streams that flow into the Tamaki River. Regardless of that effort and enthusiasm they will never be able to stop those streams from being contaminated to the extent that they will become safe for swimming. Think of the 150-page NZ Standard for public swimming pools, “to ensure the risk to public health is minimised.”  Most small schools have had to close their swimming pools because of problems maintaining that and other standards.   Trying to apply that standard to all fresh water bodies is a nonsense. 

This is where the Green Party is disingenuous.

When they say ‘all water bodies,’ they really mean only those in the countryside because they do not wish to alarm their core urban constituency.  The Green Party ignores the huge shift in farmers’ attitude towards environmental stewardship and underplays quantum leaps in management and mitigation of farm nutrients, the fencing of waterways, riparian planting, the strategic application of fertilisers and nutrient budgeting and the effects these are having on improving water quality.  The Greens do not mention that many of the sites NIWA test for its National Rivers Network that fail swimming standards are in fact rivers and lakes affected by urban run off. Instead they continue to blame farmers.

There is still more to be done but the imposition of higher standards by regional councils and improvements in farming practices are making a positive difference in many areas.

Farmers like me acknowledge that there is a lot more work we need to do and the vast majority of us are adopting practices and spending tens of millions of dollars a year which, given time,  will sort out our contribution.  But we are not the sole cause or the sole solution.  River quality reports are already showing the benefit of a change in farmers’ attitude toward environmental stewardship, but this narrative doesn’t fit the Green’s script.

The NPS by contrast will be law.  It gives communities the power to decide how much progress needs to be made and over what timeframe. It specifically encourages communities to decide what they want for their rivers and lakes while balancing that with the costs to society and the economy. It has the fish hook that over time, all water bodies will have plans for how they will meet community aspirations, so if the students of North Dunedin decide they wish to swim in the Leith at anytime and the ratepayers of that great Southern town can afford it and are prepared to prioritise that spending over all other, then that is their choice. My guess is the cost will have that city’s burghers muttering darkly at their haggis and prevarication will win.  That’s been the case in most major urban centres. 

The NPS may not have the sexy but implausible sound bite ‘swimmable for all’ but it gives that choice to the community to decide. It is practical, pragmatic and is the law. With water we’re in this together and the NPS underscores that. 

 The idea of being able to swim in every body of water is attractive but expensive and almost certainly an impossible standard to reach everywhere.

Dairying and recent intensification is blamed for poorer water quality but dirty water isn’t new.

My father was a carpenter at what was then Waitaki freezing works at Pukeuri  more than 40 years ago. That’s when the company had to build a huge reservoir to hold water which had to be treated because the water from the Waitaki River, which supplied Oamaru and other smaller settlements, wasn’t fit to wash export meat.

We’ve come a long way since then and while dairying is blamed for the problem it’s also working hard to be part of the solution with initiatives such as Fonterra’s Grassroots Fund:

Fonterra Grass Roots Fund

For those of you in Southland, head on down to Fonterra’s Living Water programme tomorrow with the Department of Conservation which works to enhance sensitive water catchments across New Zealand! Hear our plans, suggest ideas and get involved with some future volunteer opportunities. Enjoy demonstrations by freshwater scientists, a live fish tank display of local freshwater species and a BBQ lunch. It should be a great day! Address: Craws Creek Scenic Reserve, Waituna Lagoon Road, Friday 25th 2014 from 9:30 – 12:30. Any questions, please contact livingwater@fonterra.com
Photo: For those of you in Southland, head on down to Fonterra's Living Water programme tomorrow with the Department of Conservation which works to enhance sensitive water catchments across New Zealand! Hear our plans, suggest ideas and get involved with some future volunteer opportunities. Enjoy demonstrations by freshwater scientists, a live fish tank display of local freshwater species and a BBQ lunch. It should be a great day! Address: Craws Creek Scenic Reserve, Waituna Lagoon Road, Friday 25th 2014 from 9:30 – 12:30. Any questions, please contact livingwater@fonterra.com

There is general acceptance of a need to improve water quality in many areas.

The argument is about how far improvements need to go.

National’s policy imposes a a minimum standard.

It leaves it up to communities to decide how much higher they want, and can afford, their water quality to be.

They are the ones with the most to gain from cleaner water and they are the ones who will have to pay for it.

The Green policy sets an impossibly high standard and leaves communities with no choice regardless of their wishes and priorities.

Blue is a much better colour for water than green.


Too desperate to rule out Dotcom

July 30, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe had a chance to take the moral high ground and he blew it:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has denied he has double standards for refusing to rule out relying on the Internet Mana party to form a government despite deriding National for its coat tailing deals in Epsom and Ohariu.

Mr Cunliffe has accused National of manipulating voters by using the coat-tailing provisions to try to boost its support partners’ chances through electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu.

However, he will not rule out calling on the Internet Mana Party if needed to form a Government.

The Internet-Mana alliance was set up to try to get the Internet Party into Parliament on the back of Hone Harawira’s seat, Te Tai Tokerau.

MMP allows parties which win an electorate seat to bring in other MPs even if they do not reach 5 per cent of the party vote.

Prime Minister John Key said Mr Cunliffe would try to form a government with the Internet Mana which had a similar deal and Labour had tried similar deals with Alliance and Green MPs in the past.

“A little bit of consistency would be good.” He believed voters knew MMP well enough to make the choices they considered best.

The PM has been open about which parties he is prepared to have in a government he leads and which he won’t.

He’s given voters the information they need to make a fully informed choice and it’s up to them how they exercise that choice.

But Cunliffe is taking Winston Peters’ line in refusing to confirm exactly what he’ll do, or not do, until after the election.

Mr Cunliffe said he had made it clear it was “extremely unlikely” any Internet Mana Party MPs would get ministerial positions, or even lower level associate or undersecretary roles in a Labour-led Government.

But he would not rule out policy concessions in return for their votes, saying that was a matter to discuss after the election. “We will talk to whoever the voters serve up.” . .

That’s another yeah-nah position.

Labour’s consistently polling below 30% an is very unlikely to have a strong foundation of voter support from which to bargain.

Mr Key said he doubted Labour would not include Internet Mana in Cabinet if it was needed to form a government.

“The reality is David Cunliffe about 10 months ago came into the job of Leader of the Opposition and said he was going to deliver a result in the high 30s for Labour and that would see them as the next government. Then he downsized that to the low 30s. In recent times, he’s been saying Labour in the 20s could still theoretically become the government. What we know is when you’re Leader of the Opposition you’re desperate to become Prime Minister and will probably do anything. He’s in the camp of forming an alliance with anybody to get over the line.” . . .

Cunliffe will be desperate to be Prime Minister and if the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties have enough sets to enable him to cobble together a coalition of the losers he’ll make any concessions he needs to be in government.

He had a chance to show strength as the PM did when he ruled out Winston Peters before previous elections.

But Cunliffe’s too desperate to win at any cost to rule out Dotcom and the Internet Mana Party he funds and controls.

However, rather than helping Labour into government it could well set them even further back.

Moderate voters who are undecided will be repulsed by the spectre of Labour and the GIMPs.

The rules allow the smaller of the bigger parties and an ill-assorted bunch of also-rans to form a government but that’s unlikely to be the sort of government most voters would find palatable.

They have the the prospect of a strong and refreshed National Party likely to need only minor support from other parties who have proven to work well in government  or a weak and stale Labour Party requiring major support from an unproven and disparate assortment of parties.

It’s a choice between progress and stability on one side and regression and instability on the other.


July 30 in history

July 30, 2014

762  Baghdad was founded.

1419  First Defenestration of Prague.

1502 Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1549 Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born (d. 1609).

1608  Samuel de Champlain shot and killed two Iroquois chiefs which set the tone for FrenchIroquois relations for the next 100 years.

1619  The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time.

1629  An earthquake in Naples killed 10,000 people.

1733  The first Masonic Grand Lodge in what became the United States was constituted in Massachusetts.

1756 Bartolomeo Rastrelli presented the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.

1811  Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican insurgency, was executed by the Spanish.

1818 Emily Brontë, English novelist, was born (d. 1848).

1825 Malden Island was discovered.

1859 First ascent of Grand Combin.

1863 Henry Ford, American industrialist, was born (d. 1947).

1863 Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signed the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of the Crater – Union forces attempt edto break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.

1866 New Orleans’s Democratic government ordered police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting, killing 40 people and injuring 150.

1871  The Staten Island Ferry Westfield’s boiler exploded, killing over 85 people.

1893 Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani Mother of the Nation, was born (d. 1967).

1898 Henry Moore, English sculptor, was born (d. 1986).

1916  Black Tom Island explosion in Jersey City.

1925 Alexander Trocchi, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1984).

1926 Christine McGuire, American singer (The McGuire Sisters), was born.

1930  Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

1932  Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

1935 Ted Rogers, English comedian and game show host, was born (d. 2001).

1940 Sir Clive Sinclair, English entrepreneur and inventor (pocket calculator, home computer), was born.

1941 Paul Anka, Canadian singer and composer, was born.

1945   Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen.

1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American actor and 38th Governor of California, was born.

1950 Frank Stallone, American singer and actor, was born.

1953  Rikidōzan held a ceremony announcing the establishment of the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance.

1956  A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

1958 Kate Bush, English singer/songwriter, was born.

1958 Daley Thompson, English decathlete, was born.

1965  US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard M. Nixon made an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and met  President Nguyen Van Thieu and U.S. military commanders.

1971  Apollo 15 Mission – David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, landed with first Lunar Rover on the moon.

1971  An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 and a Japanese Air Force F-86 collided over Morioka killing 162.

1974  Watergate Scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court.

1974  Six Royal Canadian Army Cadetswere  killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp.

1975  Three members of the Miami Showband and two gunmen were killed during a botched paramilitary attack in Northern Ireland.

1978  The 730 (transport), Okinawa changed its traffic on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side.

1979 Carless days were introduced in New Zealand to combat the second oil shock.

Carless days introduced

1980 Vanuatu gained independence.

1980  Israel’s Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law

1997  Eighteen lives were lost in the Thredbo Landslide.

2003  In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line.

2006 World’s longest running music show Top of the Pops was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two after 42 years.

2006 Lebanon War: At least 28 civilians, including 16 children were killed by the Israeli Air Force in what Lebanese call the Second Qana massacre.

2009 A bomb exploded in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA was believed to be responsible.

2012 – A power grid failure left seven states in northern India without power, affecting 360 million people.

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.


Word of the day

July 29, 2014

Adscititious – forming an addition or supplement; not integral; not inherent or essential; added or derived from an external source; additional.


Fonterra drops payout to $6

July 29, 2014

Fonterra has announced its forecast payout for this season has dropped by a dollar:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season from $7.00 to $6.00 per kgMS and announced an estimated dividend range of 20-25 cents per share – amounting to a Forecast Cash Payout of $6.20-$6.25 for the current season.

Chairman John Wilson said the lower forecast Farmgate Milk Price reflected continuing volatility, with the GlobalDairyTrade price index declining 16 per cent since the start of the season on June 1.

“We have seen strong production globally, a build-up of inventory in China, and falling demand in some emerging markets in response to high dairy commodity prices.  In addition, the New Zealand dollar has remained strong. Our milk collection across New Zealand last season ending 31 May 2014 reached 1,584 million kgMs, 8.3 per cent higher than the previous season.

“This drop in the forecast Farmgate Milk Price will have an impact on our farmers’ cash flows.We continue to urge caution with on-farm budgets in light of the continuing volatility in international dairy markets,” said Mr Wilson.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the increase reflects the Co-operative’s expectations for improved returns on its value-add and branded products, given volume increases and lower input costs.

“As we continue to drive for growth in our consumer and foodservice businesses, during the first half of the current financial year we expect reduced cost of goods arising from lower dairy commodity prices to have a positive impact on returns.

“It is important to note that in light of the significant volatility, our dividend estimate is based on zero ingredients stream returns at this early stage in the season.

“We continued driving our V3 strategy throughout the previous season and that is why we can support an increased estimated dividend range for the 2014/15 financial year.

“Our forecasting anticipates some recovery in global dairy prices but it is too early to predict how strong this recovery will be or when it will kick in. . .

This drop was expected after successive drops in price in GlobalDairyTrade auctions and volatility in world markets.

It certainly isn’t welcome but it shouldn’t be regarded as cause for panic either.

 

 


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