Word of the day

10/07/2014

Gubbins – bits and pieces; odds and ends; miscellaneous items; an object of little or no value; paraphernalia; a gadget; fish parings or refuse.


Rural round-up

10/07/2014

India’s massive buffalo exports reflect different approach to food safety – Alan Barber:

India has exported well over 500,000 tonnes of buffalo to Vietnam in 10 months of the latest July to June year. This figure easily exceeds the total of New Zealand’s beef exports to all countries.

Over the same period India’s total bovine (buffalo) exports were 1.45 million tonnes at an average value of US$3041 (NZ$3475), while the average price to Vietnam was US$3489 (NZ$3987), an increase of 40% since 2012. Other main markets in order of importance are Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.

In comparison New Zealand’s beef exports command an FOB price of between $5000 to the USA, Canada, Korea and China and up to $9000 to French Polynesia, the highest paying market, with other main markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Europe at various points in between. . . .

Consultation opens on infant formula proposals:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced the opening of consultation on measures that aim to ensure the robustness of the government’s assurance system for infant formula exports.

“In June last year I announced a work plan to further protect and strengthen confidence in New Zealand’s food assurance systems, to match rapid growth in infant formula exports,” Ms Kaye says.

“Export assurances are particularly important for infant formula exports where consumers have strong concerns about food safety, quality and product integrity.” . . .

Wools of NZ:

It’s not our wool, we borrow it from nature to where we can return it.Photo: It's not our wool, we borrow it from nature to where we can return it.

Why politicians shouldn’t be on the field of play – Andrew Hoggard:

In case you were expecting Willy Leferink this week, there has been a bit of a change at Federated Farmers.  My name is Andrew Hoggard and I am the new Dairy Industry Group chair.  That’s not the only change.  Being a North Islander you may get a slightly different perspective on things as I farm with my wife and two children near Fielding in Manawatu. That’s of course the region which gave us that planning beast called “One Plan.”

At Federated Farmers National Conference last week, we heard from political leaders from across the spectrum.

One common theme that annoyed me and the farmers around me was this notion that New Zealand is doing the wrong thing in the marketing of its agricultural products.  That we are not adding value and are just doing cheap and nasty commodity products thanks to industrial farming practices.  Oh and the primary industries are like putting all our economic eggs in one basket.  Now where have I heard that before? . . .

Environment Southland listening to farmers:

Federated Farmers commends Environment Southland for listening to the concerns of Hill and High Country farmers, and delaying notification of the proposed Hill and High Country Development Plan Change today.

“The council’s decision, having engaged and taken on board farmers concerns, will result in better outcomes for farmers and the environment,” says Allan Baird Federated Farmers Southland acting provincial president.

“Taking time to fully consider the issues, potential impacts, inclusive of the whole community and their values, is a fundamental part of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management, and needs to be central in all decision making. . .

Finalists of Consultant of the Year Awards announced:

The judges have deliberated and the finalists have been selected for this year’s annual Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Today Farmax announced the finalists for the DairyNZ Dairy Consultant of the Year, Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year, and NZIPIM Emerging Rural Professional of the Year.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said it was great to see such a high standard of talent and skills amongst the nominations. . . .


Thursday’s quiz

10/07/2014

1. Who said: Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.?

2. To whom does this refer: Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this son of York.?

3. It’s gel in French, gelo in Italian, helada in Spanish and haupapa in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who wrote The Snow Goose and what historical event does it depict?

5. What’s your favourite hot soup for cold days?


Argentina 0 – Netherlands 0

10/07/2014

At the end of extra time Argentina and the Netherlands are locked 0 – 0.

This, the second World Cup semi final, will now be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

I know almost nothing about football but I’m on the edge of my seat.


CTG very bad idea

10/07/2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte is not impressed by Labour’s proposal to introduce a Capital Gains Tax:

On TV1’s Q&A programme, David Cunliffe boasted that his proposed new capital gains tax would collect an extra $5 billion a year. That is the biggest tax hike in the history of New Zealand. Which is saying something.

This isn’t replacing other taxes, it’s in addition to them.

It is a dreadful boast. Taxes are always paid by people, whatever the taxes are levied on. Income taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, GST: they are all the same in this respect. They are all paid by people.

Nor are the people who bear the cost necessarily the people who write the cheques to the government. For example, if a capital gains tax means that landlords get a lower return on the capital appreciation of their properties, it will increase the rents they charge their tenants. Or landlords may sell their properties to owner-occupants. The supply of rental properties will then fall and, again, tenants will end up paying more.

Actions have consequences. If the cost of property rises or the return on investment falls, landlords will put up rents or sell and invest elsewhere.

This won’t just affect domestic rentals, it will affect commercial properties too which will add to the costs of businesses.

Where the cost of a capital gains tax will fall is a complex matter and extraordinarily difficult to predict. All Cunliffe knows is that the $5 billion will somehow be extracted from the people of New Zealand so that it can be spent in ways that he figures will buy him the most votes.

At least, that is what Cunliffe thinks he knows. In fact, he has almost certainly over-estimated the amount he will be able to squeeze out of tenants, consumers and entrepreneurs because taxes can be avoided.

Our observation of CGT in Argentina is that it prompts people to hold on to property, especially farms, rather than selling them.

This has led to a lot of absentee ownership, boosted the price of land and made it harder for people to get into farming.

When it comes to income tax, people can divert their activities from highly taxed activities, such as working in productive jobs, to low taxed activities, such as playing golf. When it comes to a capital gains tax, they can divert their investments from rental properties to bigger homes for themselves (which will not incur capital gains tax at sale). They can invest overseas rather than in New Zealand. They can delay selling assets to avoid realising a gain and paying the tax. And they can spend money on accountants and tax lawyers to devise all sorts of other ingenious schemes

Such avoidance activities will reduce the loot Cunliffe can get his hands on. That’s good. But they will also reduce the growth of the New Zealand economy. Resources will not flow to their most valuable uses. They will instead flow to the uses that are farthest from Cunliffe’s grasp.

A capital gains tax is a very bad idea.

I’m not opposed to a CGT per se.

There could be merit in it if it was comprehensive and replaced other taxes so it was cost-neutral.

Labour’s is neither of those and is, as Whyte says a very bad idea.


Most deep-seated deprivation occurs in beneficiary families

10/07/2014

Quote of the day:

Employment for existing sole parents, and deterrence for prospective, particularly young parents, is the most effective approach to reducing child poverty. Lindsay Mitchell

This is a very small part of a post which deserves to be read in full.

It shows that being in a benefit-dependent family is the greatest predictor of child poverty.

That isn’t an argument for more generous benefits.

It’s an argument in favour of current government policies which aim to help people from welfare to work, for their own sake and the sake of their children.

 

Great work by Paula Bennett MP and all the social sector team.

The post is an opinion piece in this week’s Listener which also published two letters:

Your support of Professor Jonathan Boston’s definition of child poverty in New Zealand (Editorial, July 5) simply perpetuates the debate over how much money to throw at the problem. But money is just a glib answer to so many of society’s ills and, in this case, skirts around the elephant that’s filling the room.

A child without access to a flat-screen TV and missing out on birthday parties might constitute deprivation from an academic perspective, but the most pervasive manifestation of poverty, and the most distressing to witness, is that of three- and four-year-olds who have never known or been shown love and affection from their parents; children who are emotional vacuums.

Boston argues that children from poor homes are less likely to succeed educationally. He’s just missed that elephant. Although emotionally deprived children are almost exclusively from low-income households, a household having a low income is not the cause of such child neglect. In fact, if a child from a low-income home is loved and emotionally secure, the scholastic disparity with children from more affluent backgrounds is almost non-existent.

Any early childhood teacher will testify that before a child can start to learn, he or she must be emotionally engaged. Teaching and engaging a child from an emotionally deprived background is almost impossible and certainly beyond the resources of most early-childhood educational centres. And without early intervention, these emotionally deprived children will later help to fill our mental and correctional facilities.

Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes to the problems of bad parents – parents who probably shouldn’t be parents – and social agencies that are poorly resourced and pursue the least challenging options. Nonetheless, a good start would be recognition and debate on New Zealand’s real child poverty issue: the love-starved little ones.

Roger Clarke
(Te Awamutu)

Poverty isn’t just financial it’s emotional too.

The second letter builds on this point

Your editorial appears very “ambulance at the foot of the cliff” stuff.

Everyone would agree it is not in society’s best interests to have malnourished children suffering various degrees of brain damage as a result of poor nutrition. Although there will be exceptions to this generalisation, it is reasonable to assume that a high percentage of parents of such children are just incompetent in a variety of ways – quite possibly as a result of ignorance and deprived upbringings of their own.

The priority needs to be to identify the poor carers and the common causes of their inabilities to cope. Then introduce policies that direct resources at those people while forcing them to address their shortcomings.

The majority of carers on low incomes are managing to bring up children who are adequately loved, fed, clothed and housed. For the deprived children, the issue in a great many cases is more that of carer competency than available cash. More money is not necessarily going to solve anything in such situations if the underlying competency issues are not addressed.

Denis Muir
(RD2, Kaiwaka)

This is why National’s policy is to work with teen parents to educate them and help them help themselves and their children.

Lack of money can be part of the problem but lack of knowledge, skills and love are often contributing factors to child poverty too.

That can happen in families at any income level.


Labour stands firm with no proof

10/07/2014

The Labour Party is standing firm on its claim the Government has influenced police statistics, despite admitting it has no proof to back it up.

That stance isn’t confined to these accusations which not only smear the government but are an attack on the integrity of police too.

Labour is standing firm on several policies although the facts don’t support their stand.

Examples include:

* The belief that increasing tax rates will increase the tax take.

* The assertion that a capital gains tax will restrain property prices rises even though family homes are exempt and a CGT has not restrained property prices in other countries.

* The contention that adding fewer than one teacher per school will be better for children than improving the quality of teachers.

* The belief that what’s good for unions is good for workers.

* The belief that increasing the minimum wage will not have a negative impact on employment and business.

* The belief that adding costs and complexity to employing people won’t harm jobs.

* The claim that inequality is worsening.

* The belief that changing  KiwiSaver contribution rates would be a viable tool for reducing inflation.

* The assertions that National’s policies aimed at helping people from welfare to work are beneficiary bashing.

* The belief that governments are good at running businesses.

These are just a few of Labour’s policies and beliefs which aren’t supported by facts.

But the most erroneous belief is that they, a party riven by internal divisions, could lead a stable government with the support of the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties.


July 10 in history

10/07/2014

48 BC Battle of Dyrrhachium: Julius Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat to Pompey in Macedonia.

988 The city of Dublin was founded on the banks of the river Liffey.

1212 The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground.

1452  King James III of Scotland  was born (d. 1488).

1460 Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick defeated  the king’s Lancastrian forces and took King Henry VI prisoner in the Battle of Northampton.

1499  Portuguese explorer Nicolau Coelho returned to Lisbon, after discovering the sea route to India as a companion of Vasco da Gama.

1509  John Calvin, French religious reformer, was born  (d. 1564).

1553 Lady Jane Grey took the throne of England.

1584 William I of Orange was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard.

1645  English Civil War: The Battle of Langport.

1778 American Revolution: Louis XVI of France  declared war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1789 Alexander Mackenzie reached the Mackenzie River delta.

1802 Robert Chambers, Scottish author and naturalist, was born  (d. 1871).

1804  – Emma Smith, Inaugural President of the Women’s Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born (d. 1879).

1806 The Vellore Mutiny, the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.

1821 The United States took possession of its newly bought territory of Florida from Spain.

1830 Camille Pissarro, French painter, was born  (d. 1903).

1850  Millard Fillmore was inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States.

1859 Big Ben rang for the first time.

1864  Austin Chapman, Australian policitian, was born (d. 1926).

1871  Marcel Proust, French writer, was born (d. 1922).

1875  Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator, was born (d. 1955).

1903 John Wyndham, British author, was born (d. 1969).

1909 Donald Sinclair, British hotel manager, inspiration for Fawlty Towers, was born  (d. 1981).

1913  Death Valley, California hit 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature recorded in the United States.

1921 Belfast’s Bloody Sunday: 16 people were killed and 161 houses destroyed during rioting and gun battles in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1921 Harvey Ball, American commercial artist, was born (d. 2001).

1925 Meher Baba began his silence of 44 years. His followers observe Silence Day on this date in commemoration.

1925 Scopes Trial: The so-called “Monkey Trial” began with John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

1931 Alice Munro, Canadian writer, was born.

1938  Howard Hughes set a new record by completing a 91 hour flight around the world.

1940 Tom Farmer, Scottish entrepreneur, was born.

1940 World War II: the Vichy government is established in France.

1940  World War II: Battle of Britain – The German Luftwaffe began attacking British convoys in the English Channel thus starting the battle (this start date is contested).

1941 Jedwabne Pogrom: the massacre of Jewish people living in and near the village of Jedwabne in Poland.

1943 World War II: The launching of Operation Husky began the Italian Campaign.

1947 Arlo Guthrie, American musician, was born.

1947  Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was recommended as the first Governor General of Pakistan by then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Clement Attlee.

1951 Korean War: Armistice negotiations began.

1954 Neil Tennant, British musician (Pet Shop Boys), was born.

1962  Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit.

1966 The Chicago Freedom Movement, lead by Martin Luther King, held a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

1967 New Zealand adpoted decimal currency.

NZ adopts decimal currency

1968 Maurice Couve de Murville became Prime Minister of France.

1973  The Bahamas gained full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.

1973 – National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution on the recognition of Bangladesh.

1971  King Hassan II of Morocco survived an attempted coup d’etat, which lasts until June 11.

1976 The Seveso disaster in Italy.

1976   One American and three British mercenaries were executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial.

1978  President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania was ousted in a bloodless coup d’état.

1980 Alexandra Palace burned down for a second time.

1985  Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sank in Auckland harbour.

Rainbow Warrior sunk in Auckland harbour

1991 Boris Yeltsin began his 5-year term as the first elected President of Russia.

1991  The South African cricket team was readmitted into the International Cricket Council following the end of Apartheid.

1992 In Miami, Florida, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.

1997 Scientists reported the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which supported the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

1997 – Partido Popular (Spain) member Miguel Ángel Blanco was kidnapped in the Basque city of Ermua by ETA members, sparking widespread protests.

1998 The Diocese of Dallas agreed to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.

2000 A leaking southern Nigerian petroleum pipeline explodes, killing about 250 villagers scavenging gasoline.

2000  EADS, the world’s second-largest aerospace group is formed by the merger of Aérospatiale-Matra, DASA, and CASA.

2002  At a Sotheby’s auction, Peter Paul Rubens’ painting The Massacre of the Innocents sold for £49.5million (US$76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.

2003 A bus collided with a truck, fell off a bridge on Tuen Mun Road, Hong Kong, and plunged into the underlying valley, killing 21 people.

2005  Hurricane Dennis slams into the Florida Panhandle, causing billions of dollars in damage.

2006 Pakistan International Flight PK-688 crashes in Multan, Pakistan, shortly after takeoff, killing all 45 people on board.

2008  Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges by a United Nations Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.

2011 – Russian cruise ship Bulgaria sunk in Volga near Syukeyevo, Tatarstan, leading to 122 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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