Word of the day

July 6, 2014

Asthenia – abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy; loss of strength, debility.


11/14

July 6, 2014

11/14 in The Guardian’s grammar test.


Rural round-up

July 6, 2014

Young Farmer named for 2014:

David Kidd has beaten seven finalists over three days of competition to become the 2014 Young Farmer of the year.

In the 46 years of the contest’s history, Mr Kidd is the first Northern region finalist to take the title.

His father Richard Kidd was third in a young farmer competition in 1984.

Mr Kidd joked his inspiration for competing was to better his father and said he’ll be rubbing it in when he sees him. . .

Evil among us – farm community closes ranks – Rebecca Ryan:

The quiet and friendly community of Ngapara has been shaken.

Neighbours are watching out for neighbours, new chains and locks have been placed on gates and security cameras on fence posts, some residents are unable to sleep at night and farmers are requiring help to carry out basic farm work – all fearful after a mass killing of more than 215 sheep on two different properties in the area, two weekends in a row.

They are all hopeful the culprit, or culprits, do not return this weekend.

Police believe the killings may be linked and a firearm was used in both. . .

Dairy head to focus on environment – Gerard Hutching:

Newly elected Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said focusing on the environment was one of his two main priorities.

The other was to deal with the issue of labour standards.

A Feilding dairy farmer, Hoggard said it frustrated him that farmers were always trying to play catch up when it came to dealing with environmental issues.

He acknowledged there was a “real issue” of water quality being affected by dairying.

“Cows urinate and that’s got a lot of nitrogen in it, but a lot of people perceive there’s a pipe coming out of a cow shed and into a river. There are a few ratbags but things are in place for farmers to do the right thing. I don’t defend those who don’t,” he said. . .

Firm finds cunning niches – Emma Rawson:

From a mechanism that cleans up geese poop, to small parts for a Fisher & Paykel baby incubator – the range of machinery designed and manufactured by Dannevirke company Metalform is about as broad as it gets.

But the products have one thing in common: they provide solutions to problems deemed too small for the big international manufacturing giants to produce.

Solving Canada’s geese waste issue might not be big business for an agricultural giant like John Deere, but for family-owned Metalform, its Tow and Collect product has been a winner.

Tow and Collect is being used in North American towns to clean up after Canadian geese, which leave a large volume of mess on golf courses and parks during their migration. . .

Fieldays set to get even bigger – Andrea Fox:

National Fieldays will offer up to 100 extra exhibitor sites next year and a new dairy innovation centre is in the pipeline.

Chief executive Jon Calder said the new sites were part of a master plan for the Mystery Creek Events Centre and would maximise the central exhibition space area.

Large-scale exhibitors who have been seeking a new area are likely to benefit but Calder said the flow-on effect for all exhibitors of an improved design and layout would be positive.

The planned dairy innovation centre, which might not be ready until 2016, would be based on a pavilion model in Canada and would bring together in one area exhibits devoted to the dairy industry, including a herd of cows, live robotic milking, interactive plant and equipment displays, and effluent systems, Calder said. . .

Fonterra targets audience of two billion – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra intends to be a dairy co-operative that makes a difference in the lives of two billion people by 2025, chief executive Theo Spierings says.

It was already the world’s largest milk processor and dairy exporter and now it wanted to be a globally relevant co-operative, Spierings said.

Growth in demand was forecast to exceed dairy product supply growth by 3% each year in the massive markets of China and India from now until 2020, he said.

India’s forecast compound annual growth rate was 10% and China’s 7%, whereas their supply growth rates were 7% and 4% respectively. . . .

Life in the saddle – Pip Courtney:

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In the bush, no-one likes a skite. But while modesty’s an admirable trait, it’s kept many with fascinating lives from writing their memoirs.

Alwyn Torenbeek’s a good example. Despite an extraordinary life, it took years of badgering from his family before the 77-year-old retired drover agreed to put pen to paper.

At just 21, he was Australia’s bronc-riding champion, known for his bravery, natural talent and cheeky showmanship. But his biography is about more than fame. There’s adventure, tragedy, romance and mateship, and that indomitable bush trait, endurance.

An endurance riding camp has its own pace. There’s plenty of time to catch up with mates and swap stories, some of them tall.

At Alwyn Torenbeek’s camp, you’re assured of a yarn or five. . .

Good calving nutrition can better support calving season

With calving season just around the corner, the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and SealesWinslow have teamed up to educate dairying women around the importance of good calf nutrition.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, through its animal nutrition business, SealesWinslow, will be running a series of interactive calf nutrition days across nine locations in New Zealand during June and July.

Mike Stephens, dairy category manager for Ballance Agri-Nutrients said the sessions will provide participants with practical, hands-on skills to raise healthy calves and, in the long term, build healthier and more profitable herds. . .


Lost in translation

July 6, 2014

Open large picture

There are some days when no matter what I say it feels like I’m far away in another country & whoever is doing the translating has had far too much to drink.

Lost in Translation  ©2014 Brian Andreas

Posted with permission.

The lovely folk at Story People will deliver a daily dose of whimsy like this by email if you sign-up at the link above.


21st century education that’s #working4NZ

July 6, 2014

In contrast to Labour’s policy, National is already delivering 21st education that’s working for New Zealand’s young people.

 

Photo: We’re committed to giving children the best possible start in life. http://ntnl.org.nz/1lAsat6 #Working4NZ
Photo: I’m proud of our record of lifting achievement in education. #TeamKey #Working4NZ http://ntnl.org.nz/1lYaAnw

 

And National judges success by the quality of its spending while Labour measures success by quantity.

 

Photo: In 2013 a record 25,800 bachelor's degrees were awarded. Since 2008, the number of degrees earned by Maori students has increased 62%. The number for Pasifika students has increased 56%.


Eliminate the negative

July 6, 2014

Tweet of the day:

Yes, the party which is relentlessly negative and has fought tooth and nail against every one one of the National-led government’s positive policies, is exhorting New Zealanders to vote positive.

Does this mean they’ve given up on themselves and are asking people to support National?

They certainly seem to have given up on their caucus who aren’t appearing on billboards unveiled at their congress:

. . . All had the ‘party vote Labour’ logo at the bottom, but did not feature any MPs or leader David Cunliffe, although Mr Cunliffe is expected to feature on some billboards.

Some? Not all or at least most?

Labour didn’t feature then-leader Phil Goff on their billboards three years ago because he wasn’t seen as an asset, looks like they’re not confident Cunliffe would be either.

Instead of accentuating the positive they’re eliminating the negative  – their own MPs and leader – from their publicity, again.

The first editor I worked under kept telling his reporters people sell papers.

People also sell policy and if Labour is too insecure to feature its people on its billboards its going to have trouble selling its policies and convincing anyone it’s positive.


Policy, positions, power for cash

July 6, 2014

Rodney highlights the biggest donations’ scandal:

The true donations scandal in New Zealand politics was reported this week without comment. It’s the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s $60,000 donation to Labour.

The EPMU is one of the six unions affiliated to Labour. The affiliated unions pay fees and fund the Party through donations. The donations and fees total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More significantly, union staff campaign for Labour and the unions run parallel campaigns. For example, Labour is campaigning for the “living wage”. In a parallel campaign the Services and Food Workers Union spent more than half a million dollars last year promoting that exact policy.

The union funding of Labour totals in the millions. And what does Labour provide in return? In effect the entire party. The unions get to determine the party’s leader. Their say counts for 20 per cent of the vote. That’s the difference between winning and losing by a wide margin.

Affiliation also buys a seat at the table. The affiliated unions have a guaranteed vice-president position on Labour’s all-powerful New Zealand Council.

They also get their people as MPs. The Labour Party enables the unions to parachute members into Parliament. Labour list MP Andrew Little headed the EPMU for 11 years before entering Parliament. . . 

That’s power and positions for cash.

If any organisation which donated to National had this sort of influence and reward for their money there would be cries of corruption.

But it doesn’t stop there, unions also get policy:

In 1999 the EPMU gave $100,000 to Labour. The following year the Labour Government passed the Employment Relations Act. This act gives the unions incredible power over Kiwi workplaces as well as easy access to workers’ pay packets.

The Employment Relations Act nicely closes the loop. The act was provided by the Labour Party. It gave the unions access to workers’ pockets, and that’s the money the unions now tip into Labour’s coffers.

Indeed, in the state sector it’s policy for Government to give union members a bonus to cover their union fees. You and I pay their union fees.

Unions and Labour are guilty of “cash for policy”, “cash to sit at the table”, “cash to decide the leader” and “cash to parachute members into Parliament”.

The rort serves to bolster Labour and entrench the power of union bosses.

Unions are highly politicised organisations that only exist now because of the legal privileges bestowed by Labour governments.

The rorting of our democracy by the unions and Labour would make a great expose.

But don’t expect anything soon: it’s the EPMU that represents journalists in this country.

That’s right, our journalists – through their union – help fund the Labour Party.

Now union membership is voluntary, not all journalists are members of the EPMU but any who are members are potentially compromised if they are covering or have any influence over stories on issues which could have any even vague political link.

Bias in reporting is easy – the stories that are covered, angle that’s taken, who’s interviewed, how much of what they say is used, the context around quotes . . . any and all of these can convey an impression that covertly, if not overtly, supports, distorts or opposes a world view.


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