Word of the day

16/07/2014

Facient – producing a specified action or state; one who does anything, good or bad; a doer; an agent; the second number in a two-digit multiplication problem.


Which dessert?

16/07/2014

Which dessert are you?

Chocolate Chip Cookie

You’re the go-to favourite dessert. The delectable morning and afternoon treat. Speckled with melty cocoa chips, you just beg for a tall glass of milk.

I’d rather be a biscuit that a cookie and pair with ice cream than milk.

 


Rural round-up

16/07/2014

Tax relief for Northland flood affected farmers:

Revenue Minister Todd McClay has said that flood affected farmers in Northland will be offered assistance through Inland Revenue’s income equalisation discretion following the declaration of a medium scale adverse event by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy this morning.

“The Government recognises that this will be a difficult time for many in Northland as they come to terms with the damage caused by recent severe weather events. This assistance from IRD will give greater certainty to affected farmers and is designed to make the coming months easier for them as they deal with the damage done to their farms,” Mr McClay says. . .

Scope to boost profits:

High levels of labour efficiency, low costs of production and plenty of potential to increase productivity with minimal investment are the good news stories from the 2013 Southern Beef Situation Analysis, commissioned by MLA.

The findings reinforced earlier work about the opportunities for southern beef producers.

The analysis found that average profits per hectare in beef production have lagged behind most alternative enterprises in the southern region, excluding wool, in the past 15 years.

However, it also showed that it would be better for southern beef producers with low profitability to improve efficiencies in their current business rather than switching to an alternative enterprise. . . .

Crown Irrigation Investments Limited reaches financial close on the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme:

Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (Crown Irrigation) today announced it has reached financial close on its first investment with Central Plains Water Limited.

Under the agreement, Crown Irrigation will provide $6.5 million of subordinated debt finance for a period of up to five years, to support the construction of excess capacity in the headrace to be built during Stage 1 that is needed for later stages of the irrigation scheme.

Following the agreement of a terms sheet in March 2014, the transaction has been subject to comprehensive due diligence by Crown Irrigation and all conditions precedent have been satisfied. . .

Molkerei Ammerland to offer Sweet Whey Powder (SWP) on GlobalDairyTrade:

GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) announced today that Molkerei Ammerland will join the seven existing sellers on GlobalDairyTrade beginning September, 2014, offering Sweet Whey Powder for the first time on the world’s leading auction platform.

 Molkerei Ammerland’s participation as a seller on GDT marks yet another significant development in the world’s foremost online dairy commodity trading platform.

 Molkerei Ammerland, one of Europe’s leading dairy cooperatives, gathers milk from over 2000 farmers across northwest Germany, and through its state of the art production facilities it processes more than 1.5 billion kilograms of milk for sale to over 50 countries around the world. Molkerei Ammerland specialises in cheeses, butter, whey powders, milk powders and fresh dairy products, and has capitalised on over 125 years’ experience. . .

New film shows seafood industry and conservation groups working together to protect seabirds:

The New Zealand seafood industry congratulated Southern Seabird Solution Trust’s on its short film “Sharing Worlds, Seabirds and Fishing” which was launched today by the Hon Nick Smith, the Minister of Conservation at the Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula.

The film highlights Otago fishing and conservation working together for the benefit of seabirds like the yellow-eyed penguin and sooty shearwater, also known as titi.

“The film is a tangible demonstration of how organisations, often with differing interests, can work together in a positive and proactive way,” says George Clement, Chair of Seafood New Zealand who was at the launch. . .

New CEO for primary industry alliance:

Andy Somerville has been appointed as the new chief executive officer for the Primary Industry Capability Alliance (PICA).

PICA is a collaboration between New Zealand Young Farmers; DairyNZ; Beef and Lamb NZ; PrimaryITO; Taratahi; Ministry for Primary Industries and Lincoln University, set up in 2012 to develop a capability strategy for the wider agricultural industry.

Chair of the Transition Board for PICA, Mark Paine, says Andy, originally from Otago, is a Lincoln University graduate who comes from a rural and commercial banking background. . . .


Tech tantrum

16/07/2014

This came in an email, but oh how it resonates:

WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.
USER: cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters
USER: boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character
USER: 1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
USER: 50bloodyboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.
USER: 50BLOODYboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.
USER: 50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon’tGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.
USER:
ReallyPissedOff50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDontGiveMeAccessNow

WINDOWS: Sorry, that password is already in use.


Keep eyes on road

16/07/2014

It’s not only phones which distract, of course, but this is a good reminder of how serious the consequences of a moment of inattention could be.


GDT drops 8.9%

16/07/2014

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped 8.9% in this morning’s auction.

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The drop to US$3,309 a tonne takes the GDT to the lowest price since December 2012.

. . . The New Zealand dollar was trading at 88.16 US cents before the release. It dropped as low as 87.50 cents and was recently trading at 87.65 cents. . .

One factor influencing the price is the drop in the price of corn in the USA which is making milk production cheaper there.


It’s all about priorities

16/07/2014

An  imbalance between supply and demand is pushing up property prices in a few places.

But, Glen Herud writes, you can afford a house in most places despite what people say:


This article, about young people investing property got me thinking.

I’ve had a few conversations with people who I’d describe as being middle class New Zealanders. They are earning around $100,000/year, yet they claim they can’t afford to buy a house.

As we talk it over further, it becomes clear that they actually can’t afford a house of the required standard in the desirable area of the major city in which they live.

It’s pretty hard to buy your first house in Queenstown, Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington, especially if you are not prepared to live in the cheaper suburbs.

But if you are prepared to live in the cheaper suburbs and start on the bottom rung of the ladder rather than several rungs up it’s possible.

Priorities

It occurs to me that people have priorities in their lives and when they say “we can’t afford to buy a house”, they really mean that they are not prepared to make the sacrifices required to get into home ownership. . .

He gives some examples of people who were prepared to make sacrifices and concludes:

Money gives you options

When you are young you have no money and I think all money does is give you options.

When you have no money you have limited options and you have to focus your limited resources.

It’s totally possible for young families to buy a house in New Zealand. The question is are people prepared to make the sacrifices required?

When I look at the people who tell me they can’t buy a house, I notice that they all eat out at restaurants regularly, there’s lots of money being spent of manicures and salons & plenty of nights out on the town & shopping trips to Melbourne.

The same thing applies to farming. I saw my parents move from Zimbabwe with nothing in there 30s, working as farm workers to buying their first farm 11 years later.

My first employer started dairy farming at 17 and was sharemilking 400 cows at 28 and at 40 years of age owns a large dairy farm, among other things.

These are all examples of ordinary people with ordinary intellect just getting on with it and getting ahead.

It’s all about priorities, attitude & peoples willingness to do what is required. . .

Too many people want to start where their parents finished and aren’t willing to work their way up to something better than what they can afford nor go without while they save so they can afford something better.

At least part of the housing ‘crisis’ is really a problem with priorities.


Fonterra holds 4th place in global dairy rank

16/07/2014

Fonterra has held fourth place in Rabobank’s global dairy rankings:

  The latest annual Rabobank survey of the world’s largest dairy companies highlights the giants of one of the world’s most valuable food sectors.

The last 18 months have seen most of these players battle challenging conditions, with weak economies and supply constraints undermining sales growth in key markets. Againt this backdrop, mergers and acquistions have become an attractive route to growth and profitability. But with billion dollar deals increasingly hard to come by, dairy giants will need to acquire or tie up with more companies to sustain the same rates of growth in future. Those adept at acquiring and embracing new businesses will remain well positioned to survive and thrive. 

“Once again, giants Nestlé, Danone and Lactalis top the list, showing that the world’s largest dairy companies are reasonably entrenched,” commented Rabobank analyst Tim Hunt. “We continue to see some companies outperform their peers in sheer growth terms. In particular, the Chinese giants Yili and Mengniu, which saw their sales expand by 14% and 20% respectively, with Yili entering the top 10 for the first time ever”. 

Saputo continued its march up the list to push to eighth place, in part due to several recent acquisitions. Meiji and Morinaga slipped down the list largely due to the sharp decline in the value of the Yen (in which most of their products are sold).  

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2013 was a challenging year for most of the world’s major dairy companies, with stagnant sales volumes in most OECD dairy markets. Acquisitions have become a more attractive route to grow sales and in 2013, there were 124 dairy transactions, up from 111 in 2012 and the highest since 2007.

Positioning for maximum effectiveness in the expanding Chinese market remains prominent. In 2013, joint ventures were announced between Mengniu and Whitewave and COFCO and Danone while Yili announced a partnership agreement with Dairy Farmers of America.

Mengniu took a stake in China Modern Dairy to secure raw milk supply. A further joint venture is pending between FrieslandCampina and Huishan. Despite the increase in transactions, the dairy sector saw no billion dollar deals in the 12 months to 30 June 2014.

While underlying growth will pick up in coming years, many markets will not return to the rapid growth rates seen before 2008. In this context, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures will remain a key avenue to growth and profitability.

“The catch is that the number of attractive targets is shrinking and multiples have risen,”  explained Hunt. “With billion dollar value deals harder to come by, dairy giants will need to acquire or tie up with more companies than in the past to sustain the same rates of growth”.

Fonterra made a record pay out to its suppliers last season but that was overshadowed in the media by its poor handling of the whey protein concentrate debacle.

However, it maintained its 4th place in the rankings.


When party vote doesn’t count

16/07/2014

Under MMP it’s the party vote that counts.

That’s the one which determines how may seats a party gets and ultimately which parties are in government.

That’s the message parties try to give to voters and it’s the one their MPs are supposed to give too.

But Duncan Garner has noticed that at least three Labour MPs are giving a very good indication that they’re a lot more interested in staying in parliament than helping their party get into government.

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

Mallard either turned down the list spot he was offered or chose not to go on it.  O’Connor and Davis will need Labour to get more support than it’s had in recent polls to get a list seat.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Labour MPs call it the holiday highway; David Cunliffe has campaigned against it. Labour, until yesterday, was going to can the project upon taking office. Who knows where they stand now!

Davis told me people in the north tell him they want the controversial project and so does he.

The rest of Labour don’t understand how important this road is to the people of Northland  and how insulting it is to them to refer to it as a holiday highway.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That this is the best idea he can come up with to get attention speaks volumes about him and the elvel of desperation to which he’s sunk.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

That supposedly showed his strength but it also showed he’s incapable of getting his party to see sense.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

They want to stand out and stand for something that their electorates want (not sure that Hutt South really wants the moa back, though!).

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

Who can blame them?

Their colleagues and the volunteers in the party who are still working to stem the slipping in support which threatens to turn into a landslide will blame them.

If they can’t persuade all their MPs it’s the party vote that counts, how can they hope to persuade voters?


July 16 in history

16/07/2014

622 The beginning of the Islamic calendar.

1054 Three Roman legates fracture relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal Bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as starting the East-West Schism.

1194 Saint Clare of Assisi, Italian follower of Francis of Assisi, was born (d. 1253).

1212  Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa: Forces of Kings Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal defeated those of the Berber Muslim leader Almohad, thus marking a significant turning point in the Reconquista and medieval history of Spain.

1377  Coronation of Richard II of England.

1661 The first banknotes in Europe were issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco.

1683 Manchu Qing Dynasty naval forces under traitorous commander Shi Lang defeated the Kingdom of Tungning  in the Battle of Penghu near the Pescadores Islands.

1769  Father Junipero Serra founded California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

1779 American Revolutionary War: Light infantry of the Continental Army seized a fortified British Army position in a midnight bayonet attack at the Battle of Stony Point.

1782  First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.

1809  The city of La Paz  declared its independence from the Spanish Crown during the La Paz revolution and formed the Junta Tuitiva, the first independent government in Spanish America, led by Pedro Domingo Murillo.

1862 American Civil War: David Farragut was promoted to rear admiral, becoming the first officer in United States Navy to hold an admiral rank.

1872 Roald Amundsen, Norwegian polar explorer, was born (d. 1928).

1880 Emily Stowe became the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada.

1911 Ginger Rogers, American actress and dancer, was born (d. 1995).

1915  Henry James became a British citizen, to dramatise his commitment to England during the first World War.

1918 Czar Nicholas II, his family, the family doctor, their servants and their pet dog were shot by the Bolsheviks, who had held them captive for 2 months in the basement of a house in Ekaterinberg, Russia.

1928 Anita Brookner, English novelist, was born.

1931 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia signsedthe first constitution of Ethiopia.

1935 The world’s first parking meter was installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City.

1941 Joe DiMaggio hit safely for the 56th consecutive game.

1942 Holocaust: Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv): the government of Vichy France orderswsthe mass arrest of 13,152 Jews who were held at the Winter Velodrome in Paris before deportation to Auschwitz.

1945 World War II: The leaders of the three Allied nations, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Harry S Truman and leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, met in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.

1945  Manhattan Project: The Atomic Age began when the United States successfully detonated a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon.

1948 Following token resistance, the city of Nazareth, capitulated to Israeli troops during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War’s Operation Dekel.

1948 – The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, markedthe first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane.

1951 King Léopold III of Belgium abdicated in favour of his son, Baudouin I of Belgium.

1951  J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye was published by Little, Brown and Company.

1952 Stewart Copeland, American drummer (The Police, was born.

1957  United States Marine major John Glenn flew a F8U Crusader supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds, setting a new transcontinental speed record.

1960  USS George Washington (SSBN-598) a modified Skipjack class submarine successfully test fired the first Ballistic missile while submerged.

1965 New Zealand’s 161 Battery, stationed at Bien Hoa air base near Saigon, opened fire on a Viet Cong position in support of the American 173rd Airborne Brigade.

NZ artillery opens fire in Vietnam

1965 The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy opened.

1969 Apollo program: Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.

1973 Watergate Scandal: Former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield informed the United States Senate that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.

1979 Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and was replaced by Saddam Hussein.

1981 Mahathir bin Mohamad became Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister; his 22 years in office, ending with retirement on 31 October 2003, made him Asia’s longest-serving political leader.

1983 Sikorsky S-61 disaster: A helicopter crashed off the Isles of Scilly, causing 20 fatalities.

1990 Luzon Earthquake struck in Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Aurora, Bataan, Zambales and Tarlac, Philippines with an intensity of 7.7.

1994 Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.

1999 John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a Piper Saratoga aircraft, died in a plane mishap, with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.

2004  Millennium Park, considered Chicago’s first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, was opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

2007  2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake: an earthquake 6.8 in magnitude and aftershock of 6.6  off Japan’s Niigata coast, killed 8 people, with at least 800 injured, and damaged a nuclear power plant.

2008 – Sixteen infants in Gansu Province, China, who had been fed on tainted milk powder, were diagnosed with kidney stones; in total an estimated 300,000 infants were affected.

2013 – At least 23 children died at a school in Bihar, India, after consuming food tainted with organophosphorus compounds.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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