Word of the day

02/07/2014

Susurrus – whispering; soft murmuring or rustling.


Rural round-up

02/07/2014

Amazing claptrap over wind thrown trees:

Federated Farmers West Coast is staggered by the rhetoric on the Wind Thrown Trees Bill, passed under urgency last night, which allows for the recovery and use of native timber felled in Cyclone Ita.

“Being a Coaster, recycling dead trees into jobs will be good for us all,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president. 

“We’ll be able to salvage something from Ita’s natural calamity being jobs if not new businesses.  That’s something Federated Farmers supports.

“Even if some guys come in from outside the Coast, they have to stay somewhere and they have to be fed and watered too.  They will also need to have their equipment serviced so we’re more open-minded.  . .

Meat & Fibre – Climbing to the top:

Speech by Jeanette Maxwell Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson, to Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Council at Federated Farmers AGM, Palmerston North

It is my pleasure to welcome you here to my last Meat & Fibre AGM as your chair.

Since our last AGM, in Ashburton last year, there has been some significant engagement within the industry and amongst our Meat & Fibre Council. . .

Launch of Wool Levy Farmer Consultation:

The Wool Levy Referendum Wool Grower Consultation was officially launched at Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre AGM today, in an effort to add value to the industry.

“Wool should be our first choice, it is the fibre of the future and this referendum’s is the industry’s chance to make a difference to its future,” says Sandra Faulkner, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Executive and Wool Levy Group Chairperson.

“Sheep is not a one dimensional animal, it is dual purpose but the value of wool is not recognised here or overseas, and as a result we are underselling ourselves in the market. New Zealand is the world’s third largest wool producer supplying 45 percent of the world’s carpet wool. With 30 industry bodies in New Zealand, wool is the only primary sector that isn’t represented. . .

Farmers get into the Port business:

Three years after welcoming the formation of Kotahi, the joint freight logistics of Fonterra Cooperative Group and Silver Fern Farms, Federated Farmers South Canterbury is excited that the Port of Timaru will play a leading role in exporting South Island product to the world.

“Since Kotahi translates as standing together as one Federated Farmers is excited about what this means for South Canterbury’s development as a major South Island’s logistics hub,” says Ivon Hurst, Federated Farmers South Canterbury provincial president.

“News that Kotahi is to hub out of Timaru is great. News that Kotahi has taken a half-share in the Port of Tauranga owned container terminal operating assets at PrimePort is fantastic. . .

Top Chefs Do Amazing Things with Vegetables

The winners of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2014, a national competition celebrating the very best of fresh New Zealand vegetables were announced today.

Auckland’s The Riverhead’s demi-chef, Subhashini Sathanantham won the Breakfast category with her inspired dish of golden kumara and red beetroot tart, quail eggs, cauliflower sausage, potato toast, garlic-infused vine tomatoes, buttered spinach and pumpkin hollandaise.

Subhashini said that the win had given her a huge step up in her career and she was thrilled her passion for vegetables had caught the judges’ attention. . .

Seed Company Gains Organic Certification:

A Bay of Plenty business has just become New Zealand’s Largest Organically Certified Mail Order Seed Company. Kings Seeds have always lead the way when it comes to supplying gardeners the best range of seeds online and via their popular catalogue. After an extensive certification process overseen by BioGro NZ, the Kings Seeds team is proud to announce their status as having New Zealand’s largest range of Organically Certified seed.

Gerard Martin, Owner, Kings Seeds, says; “We’ve only ever supplied internationally certified organic seeds so it just made sense to formalise this by applying for New Zealand accreditation. For us, it reinforces our commitment to provide New Zealand gardeners with the most extensive range of organic seeds. A big thanks to the BioGro NZ team who did a thorough job of scrutinizing our business to ensure that we met their strict criteria. We’re extremely proud to have come through the process with flying colours.” . . .

Anglers appalled at Labour’s recreational fishing ideas:

Anglers are appalled at the policy and ideas being advocated by Labour’s candidate for Kaikoura, Janette Walker, and the support she has gained from Gareth Morgan, the Green benefactor who has ideas of aerially poisoning Stewart Island with 1080 and caging the family cat.

Alan Simmons, Outdoors spokeperson for United Future and an active angler was gob smacked when he read of her ideas presented to a meeting of Marlborough Recreational Fishers last week and then championed by Gareth Morgan as politician of the week.

Labour’s Ideas of licensing and charging all anglers and using the funds to buy quota from the commercial fishing industry will infuriate recreational anglers.  Furthermore Janette Walker and Labour are talking about reducing recreational catches as commercial demand increases forcing anglers to buy back their rights to their fish. . . .

Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale Catalogue Available Now:

Catalogues for New Zealand Bloodstock’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale on Friday 1 August are in the post and available to be viewed online now.

A selection of 97 broodmares account for the majority of this year’s catalogue which also features five yearlings, six two-year-olds, seven unraced stock and 14 racehorses.

Prolific broodmare sire Zabeel has three mares featuring in the Sale, the recently retired Cambridge Stud stalwart is the dam sire of 24 Group 1 winners to date. Also with three mares in the Sale is fellow super sire Danehill, the dam sire of 51 Group 1 winners worldwide. . . .


Opposition threat to regions’ progress

02/07/2014

The Opposition has a propensity for shedding crocodile tears about the regions.

Like many of the other areas they’ve tried to say are in crisis, the reverse is true:

Economic Recovery—Role of Regional Economies 8. LOUISE UPSTON (National – Taupō) to the Minister for Economic Development: What reports has he received on how the regions contributed to New Zealand’s economic recovery?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): Yes, I have received a variety of reports that indicate that the regions have led New Zealand’s recovery out of the global financial crisis. The recent regional GDP data released by Statistics New Zealand shows that regions like the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson-Tasman, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland all experienced growth above the national average for the 5-year period from 2008 to 2013. I have also received the recent ANZ Regional Trends report, which notes that 11 regions reported growth in the first quarter of 2014. The Nelson-Marlborough economy has risen for 12 consecutive quarters, the Bay of Plenty economy has risen for nine quarters in a row, while ANZ estimates that Northland grew at 7.4 percent in the last year.

Louise Upston: What policies has the Government put in place to strengthen the regions?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve their potential. That is precisely what the Government’s Business Growth Agenda is all about. So here is a list of just a few of the things that we are doing to help grow jobs and investment in regions around New Zealand—

Hon Member: Where are the jobs?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: —84,000 in the last 12 months—all of which sit alongside the big investment in regional roads announced by the Prime Minister at the weekend. These include our Rural Broadband Initiative project in ultra-fast broadband, Primary Growth Partnerships, Callaghan Innovation’s research and development funding, the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise regional business partners programme— . . .

But this good work won’t continue if there’s a chance in government.

Louise Upston: What policies would, in his view, hold the regions back from growing strongly and delivering more jobs and more growth?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen a number of policies advocated that would hold the regions back. For example, a carbon price that is five times the world price would hold New Zealand’s regions back; a capital gains tax on every productive business and farm in the country, while exempting two-thirds of residential property, would harm regional New Zealand; stopping people using wind-blown timber on the West Coast would hold that region back; rolling back reforms of the Resource Management Act would hold all our regions back; and policies that are anti-trade, anti-investment, anti – oil and gas, anti-dairy, and anti anything that develops our national resources would hold our regions back, and those—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I think we have all got the picture.

Trevor Mallard’s bird-brained idea of resurrecting the moa provided inspiration for several answers at Question Time yesterday, including this one:

Louise Upston: What recent innovative ideas for regional development has he seen that merit closer attention?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen one as late as this morning that I could only describe as genius. A gentleman has proposed the resuscitation of our extinct flightless bird known as the moa. I think this is a serious proposal that requires some examination. It shows the value of having somebody with this gentleman’s long experience around in the policy development process. He is probably the only member who can personally recall how successful—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! . . .

Actually, the moa idea would be a lot less dangerous to the regions than the other anti-growth policies promoted by the opposition.

That’s not to give any credence to the idea, it just highlights how bad the rest of them are.


113 breaches referred 0 prosecutions?

02/07/2014

The Electoral Commission has referred 113 breaches of the electoral Act to police in the last three years and none has resulted in a prosecution:

Figures supplied by the Electoral Commission reveal 113 cases have been referred to police for investigation since the beginning of 2011 – not one has resulted in a prosecution.

Daljit Singh, a Labour Party candidate in Auckland’s first Super City elections, was convicted of electoral fraud earlier this year but the actions on which the charge of electoral fraud were based  took place more than three years ago.

Back to the original story:

It’s a figure Justice Minister Judith Collins wasn’t aware of.

Ms Collins doesn’t know the basis on which the Electoral Commission referred the cases to police, and says it’s something she’d have to find out more about before she could express an opinion.

While surprised at the figure, Ms Collins remains critical of opposition party calls for the Electoral Commission to be given the power to prosecute breaches of electoral laws.

“That would be an interesting situation since as I recall it’s mostly their parties that are actually responsible for most of the breaches, but that would be very interesting. That would be turkeys voting for an early Christmas wouldn’t it.” . . .

It would be very interesting and that might not be the answer.

But all those referrals and not a single prosecution is a very strong indication that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Alleged breaches need to be taken seriously and dealt with quickly – preferably before the election which might be affected by them.


Labour’s two levels of minimum wage

02/07/2014

BusinessNZ is not impressed by Labour’s intention to create two levels of minimum wage if it implemented its immigration policy:

The policy released on the weekend says low-paid migrants push wages down for New Zealanders, and a Labour government would make it compulsory for businesses to pay migrant workers at least the living wage, after accommodation deductions.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says having a minimum wage for New Zealanders and a higher minimum wage for migrant workers makes no sense.

“Whether it is called a living wage or any other name, it would basically be a higher minimum wage for migrant workers.

“The policy appears to be based on advice from a Lower Hutt church agency that promotes an arbitrary wage level without bearing accountability for that advice.

“This is hardly the way to make public policy.

“New Zealand’s skills shortage is a complex problem. It requires the education system to be delivering more needed skilled people. It requires students to be making more realistic study and career choices. In the absence of these, many employers are forced to seek migrant workers.

“Labour’s policy proposal to require higher rates of pay for migrant workers than New Zealand workers does not address our skills shortage problem and would create problems of its own.

The idea would create problems for workers and employers.

Local workers on one wage would rightly feel hard done by doing exactly the same work as immigrants but knowing they were paid less.

Problems employers already have getting enough staff willing and able to work would be exacerbated if immigrants were priced out of the market.

BusinessNZ sees other problems with Labour’s policy:

Labour’s new immigration policy would mean Immigration New Zealand would be given the power to make employers train New Zealanders before getting the nod to employ workers from overseas.

BusinessNZ says the policy released by Labour this weekend appears to convey employers are to blame for skills shortages in New Zealand.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says Labour’s policy is “wrongheaded.”

“What Labour’s doing is a bit worrisome because what they’re saying is they are going to be much tougher on employers.

“They’re saying you’ve got to skill up your workforce before you come knocking on the immigration door.”

He says the government needs to work with businesses to help solve the skill shortage.

“You can’t just train them all up in a week. Sometimes, no matter how much good work government does with employers and the likes in terms of training for some of those skills, they go overseas too.

“This is always going to be an issue, with the gap between the skills a business needs at any given time and what the skills system in New Zealand can deliver them.” . . .

Sometimes businesses can afford to take on someone and train them, sometimes they need someone already skilled.

Locals are usually the preferred option as it is because there’s usually extra administration involved in hiring immigrants.

But sometimes an immigrant will be more suited to the job than a local and employers don’t need more hurdles to jump before they can fill a vacancy.

New Zealand needs productive businesses to contribute to economic growth.

Their ability to do that will be compromised by Labour’s policy which is a thinly disguised attempt to limit immigration and looks like its been written by unions.


Invitation to discussion on poverty

02/07/2014

The Maxim Institute’s paper The Heart of Poverty is an invitation to discussion about the problem:

The paper in summary…

1. The Problem of Poverty—and why we need your feedback on this paper

– We still have a persistent poverty problem in New Zealand today, and not for a lack of debate, dollars, or desire to turn it around. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about poverty? Standing defiantly in the way of a clearer understanding of the nature, extent and causes of poverty—and life-changing solutions designed to combat it—is an underwhelming public discussion. Debates are riddled with caricatures and distortions that often confuse more than they illuminate— we tend to talk past each other rather than helping each other.

– Poverty has many faces; it is complex and multi-dimensional. Given this context, it is unlikely that a “silver bullet” solution exists. Before coming up with the equally complex and multi-dimensional responses needed to tackle poverty, we first need to understand, define and measure it better. Together, we need to have deeper, more meaningful discussions about what poverty is and what we should do about it.

– We see this paper as our starting point for stimulating and informing the current debate about poverty in New Zealand today. It is a personal invitation for you to join us in the conversation , and your input will flow into our longer journey towards understanding the causes and consequences of poverty, and eventually advocating for policies that will hopefully give struggling New Zealanders the help they need and deserve.

2. Understanding Poverty

– Poverty is multi-dimensional; it has both physical and emotional aspects, and at its core is about unacceptable hardship. Poverty is unacceptable. We have a moral imperative to do something about it. – Whether we recognise it or not, what we value drives what we do; we are all swimming in ideological waters whether we’re aware of it or not. Despite calls to cast aside partisan politics or pragmatically focus on “what works,” political and moral discussion is as necessary as it is unavoidable. Instead of arguing whether values or ideas matter, we should be arguing which values matter.

– Values inform competing ideas about well-being—what a good life looks like in New Zealand—and what we need to participate in this good life. While there is serious disagreement about the nature of poverty, there is more of a consensus about what we need to participate in society, potentially bridging this divide. – With differing perspectives on justice and the roles of the state and the market, ideologies like liberalism and social democracy have been influential in founding and building upon New Zealand’s welfare state. Ideas about well-being and needs are filtered through ideologies with particular conceptions of justice , and finally channelled through the welfare state, out-flowing in policies to help New Zealanders living in unthinkable hardship.

3. Defining Poverty – Defining poverty is about distinguishing between those who are poor and those who aren’t. – A serious point of contention arises between those who consider poverty to be absolute and those who consider it relative—between the “less-well-off ” in richer nations and the “life-and-death” struggles found in developing countries.

However, poverty is both absolute and relative. It is absolute in that there are certain reasonably universal needs that all humans have, and to be without them is to live in a state of unacceptable hardship; it is relative in that different societies in different times impose different needs upon people that must be met in ways specific to their society and time.

– Following this relationship between needs and resources, we define poverty as: an unacceptable situation where a person’s way of life falls below a decent minimum standard of a particular society at a particular time, and a lack of resources to rise above that situation.

4. Measuring Poverty

– It’s vital to measure poverty so that we can track how poverty is impacting people’s lives and how we are responding to it. Measurements are signposts that point towards, and attempt to quantify, the condition described in the definition. Like definitions, there is no one universally accepted way to measure poverty.

– There are two main theoretical approaches to measuring poverty: income thresholds and living standards. Income thresholds focus on inputs: income as a resource available to avoid hardship. Living standards on the other hand focus on outcomes: actual experiences like lacking a raincoat or two solid meals a day. These approaches identify similar proportions of the poor in New Zealand, however those who have a low income are not necessarily those who are materially deprived.

– Eight ways of measuring poverty are assessed and discussed in our paper. All tell related yet distinct stories. Measurements can and should be used together and where possible tracked across time to paint a more comprehensive picture of poverty than a single measure ever could. Qualitative research can complement these measurements to help capture what it means to be poor.  . .

The paper is 44 pages long and I don’t have time to give it the consideration it deserves now.

But I’ve read enough to believe it needs a wider audience and am using this post as a starting point.

 


GDT drops 4.9%

02/07/2014

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped 4.9% in this morning’s auction.

gdt3.714

 

 

 

 

 

gdtproducts

 

 

 

 

 

gdt10yrs


What’s Labour’s position on buying back assets?

02/07/2014

Finance Minister Bill English explains the benefits of using funds from the partial sale of a few state owned assets to invest in new ones:

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): The Government continues to make good progress in investing almost $4.7 billion from its share offer programme into new public assets. We are able to invest this money without having to borrow more from overseas lenders. At the weekend the Prime Minister and Minister Brownlee confirmed that $212 million from the Future Investment Fund will be invested in 14 important regional State highway projects around New Zealand. That is on top of the $360 million that we have already proposed for regional roads across New Zealand. This investment will continue to build on the Government’s extensive investment in vital infrastructure, which includes ultra-fast broadband, schools, hospitals, roads, and rail, and more of it will be financed from the Future Investment Fund.

John Hayes: How will the latest investment in regional roads meet the objectives set for using capital raised from the Government’s share offer programme?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: This investment follows through on the logic of the sales, where the Government sold shares to investors, the investors passed cash to the Government, and now we have the opportunity to invest that cash. As the Prime Minister said at the weekend, the investment in regional roads is a perfect example of money from the share floats being invested for the benefit of New Zealanders, its economy, and its families. The 14 projects are spread across the country from Otago to Northland, from the West Coast to the East Coast.

John Hayes: What other investments in new public assets has the Government confirmed using proceeds from the share offer programme?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: As the House is now familiar with, there is $4.7 billion of proceeds from the share offer programme. In Budget 2014 the Government confirmed a further $1 billion of new investment. This included $200 million for health, including $67 million for the new Grey Base Hospital on the West Coast. This took health spending from the Future Investment Fund to $684 million. It also allocated $172 million to education, including the upgrade and replacement of schools in Canterbury. KiwiRail received another $198 million. All up, the $1 billion allocated from the fund in Budget 2014 brought the total allocated to almost $3 billion, which left nearly $1.7 billion in the fund for new public assets over the next couple of years without having to borrow more money.

Using the proceeds for new investments without additional borrowing is very sensible practice and exactly what National said it would do.

The logic of that has until now escaped the Opposition but it now appears to have approval from one party on the other side of the House:

John Hayes: What reports has he seen supporting the Government’s approach to investing proceeds from the share offer programme in new public assets?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have seen reports from an unlikely source: an alternative budget that was issued in the last week or two. The reports indicate that this alternative approach to the Government’s finances will continue the current Government’s approach of using proceeds from the share offer programme. The Opposition budget includes the $4.7 billion proceeds from the asset sales being spent on public assets, which was rather a surprise given that they had spent 4 years vigorously opposing the policy.

Labour has prevaricated over whether it would  buy back shares in the state-owned companies which were partially sold by the government.

But its alternative budget indicates it’s now decided it won’t.

That is sensible but how would that go down with potential coalition partners in the Green and NZ First Parties who opposed the sales at least as vigorously and continue to do so?


July 2 in history

02/07/2014

626 In fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Incident at Xuanwu Gate.

706 Emperor Zhongzong of Tang had the remains of Emperor Gaozong of Tang, his wife and recently-deceased ruling empress Wu Zetian, her son Li Xian, her grandson Li Chongrun, and granddaughter Li Xianhui interred in a new tomb complex, the Qianling Mausoleum, located on Mount Liang.

963  The imperial army proclaimed Nicephorus Phocas to be Emperor of the Romans.

1298  The Battle of Göllheim between Albert I of Habsburg and Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.

1489  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born  (d. 1556).

1494  The Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified by Spain.

1555  Turgut Reis sacked Paola.

1561 Menas, Emperor of Ethiopia, defeated a revolt in Emfraz.

1582  Battle of Yamazaki: Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated Akechi Mitsuhide.

1613 The first English expedition from Massachusetts against Acadia led by Samuel Argall.

1644 English Civil War: the Battle of Marston Moor.

1679  Europeans first visited Minnesota and saw headwaters of Mississippi in an expedition led by Daniel Greysolon de Du Luth.

1698  Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.

1776  The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain.

1777 Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1823  Bahia Independence Day: the end of Portuguese rule in Brazil, with the final defeat of the Portuguese crown loyalists in the province of Bahia.

1839 – 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinque took over the slave ship Amistad.

1871  Victor Emmanuel II entered Rome after its conquest from the Papal States.

1877  Hermann Hesse, German-born writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1962).

1881 Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield.

1897 Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained patent for radio in London.

1900 The first zeppelin flight took place.

1903   Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born. (d. 1995).

1903  King Olav V of Norway, was born (d. 1991).

1917 Murry Wilson, American musician and producer (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1973).

1917  The East St. Louis Riots ended.

1929 Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, was born.

1930 Carlos Menem, former President of Argentina, was born.

1934 Tom Springfield, British singer and songwriter (The Springfields), was born.

1934  The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.

1937  Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan awee last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.

1938  The electrified rail line between central Wellington and the northern suburb of Johnsonville was officially opened by Minister of Railways Dan Sullivan and Wellington Mayor Thomas Hislop.

Electric trains come to Wellington

1939 Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations), was born (d. 1973).

1940  Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested and detained in Calcutta.

1950  The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto burned down.

1953 Mark Hart, American musician (Crowded House and Supertramp), was born.

1954 Pete Briquette, Irish musician (The Boomtown Rats), was born.

1956 Jerry Hall, American actress and model, was born.

1962  The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

1966  French military explodeed a nuclear test bomb codenamed Aldébaran in Mururoa, their first nuclear test in the Pacific.

1976  North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1985 Andrei Gromyko was appointed the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

1987  Nilde Iotti was named as the first female President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

1993 – 37 participants in an Alevi cultural and literary festival were killed when a mob of demonstrators set fire to their hotel in Sivas during a protest.

2000 Vicente Fox Quesada was elected the first President of México from an opposition party, the Partido Acción Nacional, after more than 70 years of continuous rule by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

2001  The AbioCor self contained artificial heart was first implanted.

2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

2003  Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, insulted German MP Martin Schulz by calling him a “kapo” during a session of the European Parliament.

2004 ASEAN Regional Forum accepted Pakistan as its 24th member.¨

2005 – Live 8 took place in London’s Hyde Park and other locations around the world.

2008  Ingrid Betancourt, and 14 other hostages held by FARC guerrillas, are rescued by the Colombian armed forces.

2010 – The South Kivu tank truck explosion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 230 people.

2013  – A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Aceh, Indonesia, killing at least 42 people and injuring 420 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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