Stat of the day

03/07/2014


Word of the day

03/07/2014

Cacophonous involving or producing a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds; having an annoying, unpleasant sound; marked by cacophony.


Rural round-up

03/07/2014

Labour policy under fire from Hort NZ:

The Labour’s Party proposed immigration policy has come under fire from the horticulture sector which says it would make life more difficult for growers employing foreign workers.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said if Labour’s new immigration policy was implemented it would penalise growers using the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

He said they would have to pay foreign workers more than local ones – and pay for their accommodation too.

“Those people (under the RSE scheme) are only brought in when we can prove that there are no New Zealanders to do the work, so we’re concerned it’s going to penalise people who are growing their businesses just because there are not New Zealanders available,” he said. . .

Lower dairy commodity prices and higher interest rates drive down farmer confidence:

Results at a Glance
• New Zealand farmer confidence dropped significantly, led down by a slide in dairy farmer confidence. Higher interest rates also tempering sentiment.
• Beef and sheep farmer confidence, however, rose to three-year high.
• Dairy producers concerned about falling commodity prices and the exchange rate, while sheep and beef farmers buoyed by improving prices.
• Investment intentions remain stable.
• 82 per cent of farmers consider that they are implementing best practices for environmental sustainability in their business.
• Only 50 per cent of farmers considering farm succession have formal plans in place. . . .

Sustainable farming protects economic skeleton:

Agriculture is not only the backbone of our economy, it is also its entire skeleton, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Peacocke told the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national sustainability showcase last week.

“To support our economy’s growth and our country’s growth, we need to look after those bones. That work starts with us as farmers on the land, but it also needs good working partnerships with regional councils and with local and central government so we can increase productivity and profitability and still safeguard our agricultural future.” . . .

New Meat & Fibre Executive:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Executive have elected their new Chairperson, Rick Powdrell, and consequently elected to the Federation’s Board.

“It is with great pleasure that I hand over the reigns to Rick Powdrell, who has been my vice-Chair for the past year. I would also like to congratulate Sandra Faulkner, as the new vice-Chairperson, the re-election of Chris Irons, and to our two new executive members, Michael Salvesen and Miles Anderson.” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers outgoing Meat & Fibre Chairperson.

“The new Meat & Fibre Executive have all been active members of the Federation’s Meat & Fibre Council, and I would like to congratulate them all on their well deserved appointments,” said Mrs Maxwell. . . .

Federated Farmers Dairy elects new executive:

It’s goodbye from him and hello from me

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Industry Group has elected Fielding farmer Andrew Hoggard as its new chairperson. The Federation’s dairy council also elected Waikato’s Chris Lewis to be one of two vice-chairpersons, joining Kevin Robinson who was reconfirmed in that role.

“I am stoked dairy farmers have placed their faith in me,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers new Dairy chairperson.

“Willy has been a great leader and it is comforting to know he’s just at the end of the telephone.

“The challenges and arguments about dairy have grabbed the headlines but this has masked many of the good things dairy farmers are doing. . .

July marks final countdown for cattle in NAIT transition:

Farmers have one year left to make sure all cattle are tagged and registered with NAIT.

“We are entering the final 12 months of NAIT’s three-year transition for cattle. By 1 July 2015, all stock should be tagged and registered in the NAIT database,” said Dan Schofield, Acting NAIT and Farm Operations Manager.

This includes cattle that were born before the NAIT scheme became mandatory on 1 July 2012. Cattle born since July 2012 must be tagged within six months of birth, or before they are moved off farm, whichever comes first. . . .

Safety And Quality First for Forestry – Changes announced for national forestry training qualifications:

A review of qualifications for forestry workers led by industry training organisation Competenz has resulted in new qualifications being developed with an increased focus on health and safety, and environmental protection and quality.

The New Zealand Certificates, to be launched later this year, will give more weight to essential knowledge like health and safety and quality. They also increase the focus on supervisory and crew management skills.

Competenz’s newly appointed national manager, Mark Preece, says the organisation has closely collaborated with contractors, workers, forest owners, trainers and assessors throughout the country to develop the new qualifications. . . .

New Zealand’s Multi- Million Dollar Bee Industry Moving Towards One Body:

The country’s bee industry could soon be represented by one body, following a mandate given at the NZ Apiculture Industry conference last week.

“I recognised a clear indication from the both the floor at the conference and the AGM for the NBA to explore the value in uniting with other industry stakeholders in the formation of a single representative industry body,” says NBA President Ricki Leahy.

“For us to get results it is important that all the different categories within the industry such as commercial beekeepers, hobbyists, exporters, packers, and researchers and others, speak with one, united, clear voice, and that we are all on the same page when talking to government.”

Meanwhile Federated Farmers Bees agrees. . .


Thursday’s quiz

03/07/2014

1. Who said: We have the British motor industry as a role model for what happens when you try to save an industrial dinosaur. Britain was the first country to industrialise and the first to de-industrialise. We should learn from this.?

2. What were/are  Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae?

3. It’s éteint in French, estinto in Italian, too easy in Spanish and ngaro in Maori – what is it in English?

4. By what name is Raphus cucullatus, which lived on Mauritius, better known?

5. If you could bring back an extinct creature which would you choose?


Higher hiring

03/07/2014

More good news on the economic and employment fronts:

Small business confidence has reached record highs in Canterbury, the wider South Island and Wellington, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms.

Nationally, sentiment fell back slightly in June from the previous quarter’s record levels, but remains well above the historical average.

Hiring intentions among small businesses nudged upwards to a new record high, auguring well for employment as the economy continues to expand.

Many business owners have now turned their attention to finding staff with the right skills to take their business forward, now cited as one of the biggest challenges for small firms.

Fred Ohlsson, ANZ’s Managing Director, Retail & Business Banking, said: “Small firms have made a clear statement that they’re still prepared to take on staff and invest amid challenges such as a high dollar. This optimism is encouraging and is testament to the wide array of forces now supporting the economy.

“Small firms account for 90 per cent of Kiwi businesses and provide jobs for nearly one in three New Zealanders. So when owners tell us they’re keen to take on more staff that’s a shot in the arm for employment nationally. Migration and training will be important in ensuring the skills are available to help them take their business forward.”

Highlights from the June 2014 ANZ Business Micro Scope survey of small firms:
[Net percentages reflect the balance of sentiment – i.e. positive minus negative responses]

Confidence among small businesses has remained at very high levels, just off the record heights recorded in the March quarter.

Hiring intentions are now at their strongest since comparable data was first collected in 1999, with a net +20% of firms planning to take on staff in the coming year.

Canterbury (up 9 points to +33%) took the biggest leap forward in confidence, making it the most confident region, alongside the rest of the South Island (up 2 points to +33%), followed by Wellington (up 1 point to +30%). These three regions hit new record highs in the June quarter.

Services (+30%) leapfrogged Construction (+27%) as the most upbeat sector, followed by Retail (+25%).

‘Lack of skilled employees’ and ‘regulation’ were jointly identified as the biggest challenges for small firms, each being cited by 17% of respondents. ‘Interest rates’ was identified as the biggest problem by just 4%.

While interest rates are a bit higher, that was well-signalled and they are still below the long-term average.

Lack of skilled employees is a perennial and growing problem and regulation is always on the small business nuisance-radar.

Continued confidence in the small businesses sector which is such a big player in our economy is another sign that New Zealand is on the right track with National and #TeamKey and they need #3moreyears to continue working for New Zealand.


Best month ever for commercial vehicle sales

03/07/2014

June was the best month ever for sales of light and heavy commercial vehicles:

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says “The strong New Zealand dollar, competitive pricing and New Zealanders confidence that the economy is heading in the right direction have all combined to help drive sales of new vehicles skywards as records continue to fall.”

“June sales of 12,519 new passenger and commercial vehicles is up 17% on June 2013 and 14% YTD on this time last year. Registrations of 4,002 new commercial vehicles for the month of June were phenomenal, not only being the strongest June sales since the MIA began collecting records for commercial vehicles in 1981, but the strongest month of any monthly commercial sales”.

There were 8,517 passenger vehicles sold during June, up 975 units (13%) on June 2013.

Year to date registrations of passenger vehicles is 4,550 units (11%) ahead of 2013.

Commercial vehicle registrations of 4,002 units were up 821 units (26%) on June 2013.

Year to date registrations of commercial vehicles is 3,134 units (21%) ahead of June 2013, reflecting a continued strong market for commercial vehicles. . .

Vehicle sales are an indicator of economic performance and confidence.

Most commercial vehicles are bought by businesses and the purchase reflects business optimism.

Oh – and some other people who are working in their communities and working for New Zealand as part of #TeamKey buy commercial vehicles too:

Had coffee with local business legend Danny Lendich at Coffee Club on Lincoln Rd, Danny loves the truck!!!


Must not ignore nor accept family violence

03/07/2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced a suite of measures aimed at addressing family violence.

“Quite simply, the rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable,” says Mr Key.

While crime is at a 35-year low, violent crime is decreasing at a much slower rate.

“Almost 50 per cent of all homicides in New Zealand are a result of family violence. That is, on average, 14 women, seven men, and eight children killed by a member of their family every year.”

Mr Key says together with the Government’s focus on vulnerable children, this work will help New Zealand families live without violence and fear.

“Firstly, Tariana Turia has released the Government’s response to the Expert Advisory Group’s report on Family Violence. Of the 22 recommendations in the report, 19 have been accepted in whole or part by the Government, and I thank the Advisory Group members for their work.

“Mrs Turia is building on the work of the Expert Advisory Group to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach to break the cycle of family violence. This work focuses on changing attitudes and behaviours towards family violence, and on early interventions for drug and alcohol addiction.

“Today I am also announcing further measures to address family violence through Justice, Police and Corrections, which will build on the foundation we have laid in place.”

These include:

  • The establishment of a Chief Victims’ Advisor to the Minister of Justice
  • The trial of an intensive case management service for family violence victims at risk of serious harm or death
  • The trial of mobile safety alarms with GPS technology, so victims can alert police to their location in an emergency
  • Introduction of legislation to change the Sentencing Act, which will allow courts to stipulate GPS monitoring of high-risk domestic violence offenders who can’t currently have this condition imposed on them.

“I would like to thank Ministers Judith Collins, Anne Tolley and Tariana Turia for leading the work to foster a long-term change in behaviour, and to protect people from the misery of violence in the home,” says Mr Key.

“This Government has already undertaken a range of work to protect the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“A great example of this is the recent passing of the Vulnerable Children’s Bill, which ensures that New Zealand’s most at-risk children get priority,” says Mr Key.

The new law provides 10 new Children’s Teams to wrap services around at-risk children early to keep them safe from harm, introduces new vetting and screening checks for government and community agency staff working with children, and puts the onus on parents who have killed, severely abused or neglected a child to prove they are safe to parent subsequent children.

“We have also increased the penalty for breaching protection orders and improved non-violence programmes for offenders,” says Mr Key

“However, it is important to remember that while governments can make laws, it is up to us as individual New Zealanders to change our attitudes to family violence.

“It is time we learned we must not ignore it, nor should we accept it,” says Mr Key.

 

New Zealand families should not have to live with violence and fear. We’re taking practical steps to address this. https://www.national.org.nz/news/features/protecting-families

Groups working with vulnerable children are supportive of the initiative:

The Red Raincoat Trust says the Chief Victims Advisor will give victims a voice:

The Red Raincoat Trust is delighted to hear of Justice Minister, Judith Collin’s plans to appoint a Chief Victims Advisor. “We are rapt; victims will now have an official voice within the criminal justice process. A Chief Victims Advisor will be able to engage directly with the victims enabling them to understand how the criminal justice process works for them. Until now, this hasn’t happened which often left victims vulnerable and re-victimised” says Debbie Marlow, spokesperson for the Red Raincoat Trust.

Ministers Judith Collins and Anne Tolley announced the Chief Victims Advisor today as part of a package which is hoped will help prevent family violence. Other initiatives announced today include an intensive case management service to provide specialist support for domestic violence victims at high risk of serious harm or death and a multi-agency response system for domestic violence.

“The package announced today will help ensure our families and communities are kept safe and it shows us that this government is committed to ensuring that our victim’s voices are heard and agencies are responding to their needs. Well done!”.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is also supportive:

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has congratulated the Justice Minister, Judith Collins on today’s announcement regarding the establishment of the Chief Victims Advisor.

“Finally victims of crime will be afforded the true advocacy and support that they are entitled to” says Ruth Money Sensible Sentencing Trust.

We have been actively promoting the concept of victim advocacy for years now and this proposed position will go a long way to balancing victims’ rights within the system and ensuring that the Ministry of Justice stays informed regarding the needs of victims” says Money. . . .

“These moves and proactive measures from Minister Collins and the Government must be applauded. For too long the system has seen the rights of the offender or alleged offender come well before those of the victim and public safety, today we see some balance being proposed”

The Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) welcomes announcements about the trial of an intensive case management service for family violence victims.

The FVDRC is an independent committee that advises the Health Quality & Safety Commission on how to reduce the number of family violence deaths and prevent family violence. Last week it released a report analysing data collected on all family violence homicides that took place over a four-year period. The Committee urged organisations to take more responsibility for preventing abusers from using violence, rather than expecting the victims of family violence to take action to keep themselves and their children safe.

The Chair of the FVDRC, Associate Professor of Law Julia Tolmie, says the Committee’s previous report recommended the development of a nationally consistent high-risk case management process and it is pleasing to see this is being trialled.

“The sheer volume of police call outs for family violence often means the most dangerous cases of family violence do not get the attention they need within the systems we currently have,” she says.

“The aim of an intensive case management service is to bring the key agencies together to share information, as well as to develop, implement and monitor a multi-agency safety plan.”

Julia Tolmie says high-risk case management teams overseas have been highly successful in preventing deaths from family violence. . .

The FVDRC also supports the trial of mobile safety alarms with GPS technology, so victims can alert police to their location in an emergency and the introduction of legislation to change the Sentencing Act, which will allow courts to stipulate GPS monitoring of high-risk domestic violence offenders who can’t currently have this condition imposed on them.

The measures announce deal with reported crime.

Not all abuse and neglect is reported and some isn’t reported until it’s too late.

It is equally important to address the causes of abuse and neglect to prevent them.

The seriousness of the problem is shown by For the Sake of our Children Trust in a 24-year snapshot of 58 deaths of children as a result of neglect or abuse.

It points to clear risk factors:

. . . Based on the 58 known cases listed, 51 cases identified child’s biological parents were NOT married. The perpetrator responsible for the death indicated 27 of the deaths tabulated had a ‘stepfather’ or ‘boyfriend/partner of the mother being responsible or part responsible for the child’s death. The remaining figures for the perpetrator was indicated the mother or relative of the child or unknown.  . . .

Apropos of this, Lindsay Mitchell notes this is a fair assumption given that around 87 percent of children who have contact with CYF appear in the benefit system very early in their lives.

The benefit system has a place as a safety net, but it can also be a trap which increases the chances of poorer outcomes for children, including increasing the risk of abuse and neglect.

Moving families from welfare to work has obvious financial benefits for them and the country.

The social benefits are equally important. they include better educational and health outcomes and a lower risk of neglect and abuse.


Real wages growing

03/07/2014

The average weekly wage grew 3.2% in the year to March while inflation increased at less than half that rate – 1.5%.

Our wages are growing, our plan is working. #TeamKey http://ntnl.org.nz/1sCYDoh

Add to this real growth in wages: interest rates which were at historic lows and have risen only slightly, and that much maligned high dollar which increases our purchasing power and makes imports, including essentials like fuel, less expensive and we really are better off under  a National-led government and #TeamKey.


July 3 in history

03/07/2014

324  Battle of Adrianople Constantine I defeated Licinius.

987 Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, the first of the Capetian dynasty.

1608  Québec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

1728 Robert Adam, Scottish architect, was born (d. 1792).

1754  French and Indian War: George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to French forces.

1767 Pitcairn Island was discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on an expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret.

1767  Norway’s oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, was founded and the first edition published.

1775 American Revolutionary War: George Washington took command of the Continental Army.

1778 American Revolutionary War: British forces massacred 360 people in the Wyoming Valley massacre.

1819 The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opened.

1839  The first state normal school in the United States, the forerunner to today’s Framingham State College, opened in Lexington, Massachusetts with 3 students.

1844 The last pair of Great Auks was killed.

1848  Slaves were freed in the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten in the culmination of a year-long plot by enslaved Africans.

1849  The French entered Rome to restore Pope Pius IX to power.

1852  Congress established the United States’ 2nd mint in San Francisco, California.

1863  U.S. Civil War: The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminated with Pickett’s Charge.

1866  Austro-Prussian War was decided at the Battle of Königgratz, resulting in Prussia taking over as the prominent German nation from Austria.

1884  Dow Jones and Company publishes its first stock average.

1886  Karl Benz  officially unveiled the Benz Patent Motorwagen – the first purpose-built automobile.

1886  The New York Tribune became the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Spanish fleet, led by Pascual Cervera y Topete, was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in Santiago, Cuba.

1913  Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenacted Pickett’s Charge; upon reaching the high-water mark of the Confederacy they were met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors.

1937 Tom Stoppard, Czech-born, British playwright, was born.

1938  World speed record for a steam railway locomotive was set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h).

1938  President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lights the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield.

1940  World War II: the French fleet of the Atlantic was bombarded by the British fleet, coming from Gibraltar, causing the loss of three battleships: Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne, and death of 1200 sailors.

1944 World War II: Minsk was liberated from Nazi control by Soviet troops during Operation Bagration.

1947 Dave Barry, American humorist and author, was born.

1950 – Ewen Chatfield, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1951  Richard Hadlee, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1952  Puerto Rico’s Constitution was approved by the Congress of the United States.

1952  The SS United States set sail on her maiden voyage to Southampton. During the voyage, the ship took the Blue Riband away from the RMS Queen Mary.

1959 Julie Burchill, British journalist and author, was born.

1960 Vince Clarke, British songwriter (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure), was born.

1962  Tom Cruise, American actor, was born.

1962  The Algerian War of Independence against the French ended.

1963 In New Zealand’s worst internal civil aviation accident, all 23 passengers and crew were killed when a DC3 crashed in the Kaimai Range. Helicopters were used for the first time in the search and rescue operation that followed.

DC-3 crashes in Kaimai Range

1964 Joanne Harris, British author, was born.

1969  The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurred when the Soviet N1 rocket exploded and destroyed its launchpad.

1970 The Troubles: the “Falls Curfew” began in Belfast.

1970  A British Dan-Air De Havilland Comet chartered jetliner crashed into mountains north of Barcelona killing 113 people.

1977 The Senegalese Republican Movement was founded.

1979  US President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

1986  US President Ronald Reagan presided over the relighting of the renovated Statue of Liberty.

1988  United States Navy warship USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 people aboard.

1988 Winston Reid,   New Zealand– Danish Football Player, was born.

1988  The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, providing the second connection between the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus.

1994 The deadliest day in Texas traffic history when 46 people were killed in crashes.

1996 Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland.

2001 A Vladivostok Avia Tupolev TU-154 jetliner crashed on approach to landing at Irkutsk, Russia killing 145 people.

2004  Official opening of Bangkok’s subway system.

2005  Same-sex marriage was legalised in Spain.

2006 Valencia metro accident left 43 dead.

2006  Asteroid 2004 XP14 flew within 432,308 kilometres (268,624 mi) of Earth.

2009  Mark II.5 Skytrain cars entered service in Metro Vancouver.

2013 – Egyptian coup d’état: President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the military after 4 days of protests all over the country calling for Morsi’s resignation, to which he didn’t respond. President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour was declared acting president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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