Word of the day

July 19, 2014

Rannygazoo – the run-around; horse-play,  irritating or foolish carryings-on; nonsense; prank or tricks.


Rural round-up

July 19, 2014

Regen owner named Mumtrepreneur of the Year:

Wellington businesswoman Bridgit Hawkins has been named Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur of the Year in the Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards.

Hawkins’ business, Regen Ltd, helps dairy farmers manage a key issue – disposing of cattle effluent. The company has developed software that turns data, including soil moisture, temperature and rainfall, into a simple daily recommendation that’s sent to the farmer by text message.

Since Regen launched in 2010, the company has helped hundreds of farms across the country manage effluent disposal efficiently and its customer numbers have doubled year on year. . .

$107.5m to Lincoln University science rebuild:

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce today announced that the Government has approved in principle to provide up to $107.5 million in capital funding toward the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes.

“Lincoln University suffered very significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes, and this money will assist the university with its rebuild programme and help it get back fully on its feet. Lincoln is focused on growing its undergraduate enrolments and the rebuild of its key facilities is the next stage in returning it to sustainable operations”, Mr Joyce says.

Lincoln University lost more than 40 per cent of its academic floor space in the Canterbury earthquakes, including much of its facilities for science teaching and research. The rebuild will involve demolishing the badly damaged Hilgendorf and Burns buildings, and replacing them with modern facilities. . .

Federated Farmers on Ruataniwha appeal:

While Federated Farmers did not lodge an appeal with the High Court against the Board of Inquiry decision on the Ruataniwha Dam and the associated Plan Change 6, it is now considering options in light of Hawke’s Bay & Eastern Fish & Game Councils lodging an appeal.

“Federated Farmers principal interests are in the plan change rather than the dam, which was given consent to proceed,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay Provincial President.

“I cannot comment on the merits of Fish & Game’s appeal until we see it next week.

“Since we now know of Fish & Game appeal, we must now reconsider the best way forward.  I need our members to know that we do have options.

“It seems farcical since the news today says Kiwi farmers will have to make big changes to cope with climate change, following release of the International State of the Climate report.  Yet more reasons to store water. . . .

Looking for the South Island’s next top farmer:

The South Island’s next top farmer is out there and Federated Farmers wants to see farmers nominated for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award. The 2013 award being won by the winemaker, Peter Yealands.

“New Zealand farming does not celebrate success enough,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers National President.

“As the farmer-comedian Te Radar told us at Federated Farmers’ National Conference, we do not take time to stop and appreciate just how good our farmers really are. . .

Levy vote about capturing wool’s value –  Chris Irons:

In recent news, one might think that sheep farming is all about red meat, but the sheep farmer’s story is not all about protein. We farm a dual purpose animal and whilst the red meat side is performing, its fibre counterpart has yet to reach its full potential.

Sheep farmers are world leaders in producing fibre; supplying 45 percent of the world’s carpet wool, we are the world’s third largest wool exporter. To capture that value behind the farm gate and building the industry’s worth of $700 million, we need a Wool Levy.

The Wool Levy Consultation has been officially launched, and the Referendum will be voted on the 10th October. Imagine the possibilities, with the average value of our raw wool exports having increased by 38 percent from 2010 to 2014. . . .

Rural elderly communities to struggle – report:

An ageing population where deaths outnumber births will be a challenge for rural communities who won’t be able to afford the services they need, according to analysis of New Zealand census data.

The challenges of adapting to an older population are highlighted in the Our Futures report, by an expert panel at the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Panel chairman, Professor Gary Hawke, says the review is a unique multi-disciplinary approach that looks at the big picture.

“We wanted to highlight what an evolving New Zealand society might look like, what is underlying these changes, and the challenges and opportunities these present.” . . .

Mixed fortunes at wool auction:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the South Island auction offering 10,122 bales this week received varied support despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 10th July.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.11 percent with 81 percent of the offering being sold.

Steady demand from China underpinned the Fine Crossbred sector, however most carpet wool types eased as contracts in this area have been harder to conclude recently. . .

Value Creation and Environmental Sustainability for Marlborough Wine Industry By-Products:

Marlborough’s wine producers have come together with the Marlborough District Council in a new collaborative approach to the management of grape marc disposal, to generate a new, commercially viable and environmentally sustainable product from grape waste.

Facilitated by the District Council, participating wine companies have formed the “Marlborough Grape Marc (MGM) group” to advance a proposal for an environmentally sustainable use of the wine industry’s waste streams.

The MGM group is chaired by Eric Hughes of Pernod Ricard Winemakers with representatives from Cloudy Bay, Constellation Brands, Delegat’s, Giesen, Indevin, Matua, Mount Riley, NZ Wineries, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Saint Clair and Villa Maria. The group members generate approximately 80% of the wine production in Marlborough. MGM is an open collective, it is hoped that further companies will join and support this industry wide initiative. . .


Saturday’s smiles

July 19, 2014

* Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.

* Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins.
And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.

* Golf is harder than baseball.. In golf, you have to play your foul balls.

* If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here’s a valuable tip: your life is in trouble.

* Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.

* The term ‘mulligan’ is really a contraction of the phrase ‘maul it again.’

* A ‘gimme’ can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers …..neither of whom can putt very well.

* An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse.

* Golf’s a hard game to figure.. One day you’ll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no reason at all you really stink.

* If your best shots are the practice swing and the ‘gimme putt’, you might wish to reconsider this game.

* Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you.

* Golf is like marriage: If you take yourself too seriously it won’t work, and both are expensive.

* The best wood in most amateurs’ bags is the pencil.


How many care?

July 19, 2014

John Armstrong has joined the growing crowd calling for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up:

The time has come for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up, for this intelligent, canny but highly manipulative individual to front with his yet-to-be-made public disclosures which he boasts will blow John Key out of the water – and though Dotcom does not say it directly, presumably bring a rapid end to Key’s days as Prime Minister.

Dotcom must now prove far beyond any reasonable doubt that Key has lied repeatedly when challenged as to when exactly he became aware or was made aware of the former Megaupload mogul’s existence.

If Dotcom cannot or will not do that, he should zip it.

Because he is not a New Zealand citizen, Dotcom cannot stand for Parliament. But as a resident he otherwise has the same political rights accorded any voter. Turning the election campaign into even more of a circus is not one of them. . . .

If he really has a mega-bomb to drop which would be big enough to turn the tide from National the least he can do is drop it in time for voters to consider which other party would get their vote.

If he thinks that his own political travesty of Internet Mana would benefit, then he’s even more deluded than he appears to be.

Key will stand or fall on the strength of Dotcom’s case. The time has come for the country to hear it and appraise it. The time has come for Dotcom to cut the babble and prove Key is the one talking nonsense when he insists that until the eve of the police raid on Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion he did not know of Dotcom, let alone that Dotcom was living in his Helensville electorate, or that Dotcom was the subject of a FBI investigation even though the intelligence agencies for which Key has ministerial responsibility had known for at least 15 months before the raid that was the case.

If the Prime Minister has not been telling the truth, then, as Dotcom and his supporters argue, it is a matter of paramount importance even if what they are arguing about could hardly be more trivial. . .

But will Key stand or fall on the case and is it of paramount importance when the issue is so trivial?

Armstrong counters his own assertion:

If Dotcom’s case similarly relies on hearsay or circumstantial evidence in any way, he would be best to work on an exit strategy – one in which he exits now. Or at least as quickly as he can without losing too much face.

Key, in contrast, has said little that he might later regret, but done much to try to second-guess exactly what Dotcom seems to think he has on him.

When Dotcom first suggested Key had known of him some time before Key claims to have heard of him, the Prime Minister and his staff in Wellington and Helensville searched desks, filing cabinets and computer records for anything that might be incriminating even in the slightest. They found nothing.

Lastly, Dotcom should ponder over this scenario. If Key is caught out, he will probably apologise and then make his credibility the issue for the final days of the campaign.

He will be able to wager his huge stocks of popularity on voters viewing any conflict over what he said about Dotcom and what he knew about Dotcom as a minor indiscretion.

Again, the argument is probably too trivial to destroy Key. But Dotcom needs a change of government if he is to have any hope of avoiding extradition to the United States. And Key’s hard-to-believe ignorance of his existence is one of the few means Dotcom has of securing such a change.

Why is it hard to believe?

Even with my bias I couldn’t condemn David Cunliffe for forgetting he’d written a letter about a would-be immigrant years ago.

Similarly no reasonable person could expect anyone to remember everyone he’s ever heard of, especially when the records have been scoured to find anything which might counter the PM’s assertions.

And how many people care anyway?

Jane Clifton writes:

. . . The premise here is that Key lied about knowing that he had, in his very own electorate, a man Most Wanted by the US authorities. Key has always insisted he knew nothing of Dotcom till the police raid on his home. The question here is, why does this matter? It’s likely it can be proved Key “was told” about Dotcom. But whether he actually took the information on board, along with the ninety-thousand other things he’s informed of as Prime Minister and SIS Minister, is probably unprovable.

Realistically, had Helen Clark, Jim Bolger or any other recent PM been told that some funster computer tycoon whose business practices were under overseas scrutiny had moved to New Zealand, it’s doubtful they would have seared the information into their memories either.

As for “knowing about” the raid, that information was the province of the Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson, who would have found it highly improper to share with other ministers, least of all the target indivdual’s local electorate MP.

And even if Key did “know” – so what? What does that prove? That he didn’t stop the raid? Why would he, since the police officials concerned – albeit wrongly, as a judge later ruled – would have advised him it was the correct procedure? Had Key known and overridden it, that would have been the scandal: “PM Interferes With Police To Protect Rich Constituent.”  .

Whatever’s in store from Big Kim’s Mega-Evidence Upload, it seems unlikely to achieve the status of game-changer. Most people will not cast their votes according to the status or treatment of Kim Dotcom. And those voters who can be bothered to process the information will simply divide according to what they want to believe: that the Government would take all manner of risks in order to give residency to and then persecute a blameless business tycoon; and those who strongly suspect the usual roil of cock-ups and unsuccessful conspiracies to cover the cock-ups up. . .

Dotcom and his rag-tag collection of enemies of his enemy would like to believe that a revelation that the PM had heard of Dotcom earlier than he said he did is a mega-bomb that will blow National’s chances of winning the election out of the water.

That just shows how desperate and deluded they are.

It is important to Dotcom because of his ego.

But even if he does find something to prove his assertion how many other people really care enough about who heard what and when to change their votes?

Those already decided would be unlikely to be swayed by something of so little import and those undecided and moved by it would be even more likely to declare a plague on all their houses and find something better to do on election day than vote.


Welfare numbers lowest since 2008

July 19, 2014

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has released latest benefit figures showing the number of people on welfare for the June quarter is the lowest since 2008, with sole parents leading the impressive results.

“There are over 16,000 fewer people on welfare compared to June 2013, with the total number currently 293,586,” Mrs Bennett said.

“When we look back just a few years to 2010, when benefit numbers were around 352,000, it’s clear to see the difference that welfare reforms are making, alongside New Zealand’s strong and growing economy.” 

Numbers on the Jobseeker Support benefit have decreased by almost 7,500 since last year and have been consistently declining since 2010, even as the overall working age population has increased over the same time.

“Most significant is the 10.7 per cent total drop in people on the Sole Parent Support benefit in the past year, which is happening nationwide with 12 per cent drops in Nelson and Waikato, and an 11.9 per cent drop in the Bay of Plenty, as well as big decreases in Canterbury and Auckland,” Mrs Bennett said

“Sole parents, particularly those who go on benefit in their teens, have the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare and are more likely to stay on benefit the longest.”

“We’ve deliberately targeted our welfare reforms at sole parents by investing millions into intensive support and training and into help with study and childcare, so that working while raising children alone is achievable, and rewarding.” 

The latest figures also point to positive trends in the years to come, with the number of teen parents aged 18 and 19 on the Young Parent Payment decreasing by 11.7 per cent.

“With teen parents spending an average of 19 years on benefit and costing around $246,000 over a lifetime, the headway we are making now will pay off for generations,” Mrs Bennett said. 

The intensive wrap-around support through Youth Services and the tailored support Work and Income case managers are providing each person they work with is paying off – for taxpayers and for people who were otherwise at risk of long term welfare dependency.

The drop in benefit numbers is good for those directly affected and indirectly for all of us.

Moving from welfare to work has economic and social benefits for those who do it and their dependants.

The more people who can help themselves do, the more there is to support those who can’t.

Reducing the long-term cost of welfare provides significant savings which benefit the country as a whole.

 

I’m proud that our growing economy and welfare reforms are enabling more Kiwis to take control of their own lives. http://ntnl.org.nz/1mT7i5r #Working4NZ


Saturday soapbox

July 19, 2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse.

Shore it’s punny, but it’s great advice.


July 19 in history

July 19, 2014

64 – Great Fire of Rome: a fire started in the merchant area of Rome and soon burned completely out of control. According to a popular, but untrue legend, Nero fiddled as the city burned.

484 – Leontius, Roman usurper, was crowned Eastern emperor at Tarsus (modern Turkey). He was recognized in Antioch and made it his capital.

711 Battle of Guadalete: Umayyad forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic.

1333  Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Halidon Hill – The English won a decisive victory over the Scots.

1544 Italian War of 1542: The Siege of Boulogne began.

1545 The Tudor warship Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth.

1553 Lady Jane Grey was replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after  just nine days.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The Spanish Armada sighted in the English Channel.

1692  Salem Witch Trials: Five women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.

1759 Seraphim of Sarov, Russian Orthodox Saint, was born (d. 1833).

1832 The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.

1800 Juan José Flores, first President of Ecuador, was born (d. 1864).

1814 Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor, was born (d. 1862).

1827  Mangal Pandey, Indian freedom fighter, was born (d. 1857).

1834 Edgar Degas, French painter (d. 1917)

1843  Brunel’s steamship the SS Great Britain was launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and also the largest vessel afloat in the world.

1848 The two day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York and the “Bloomers” were introduced.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid – General John Hunt Morgan’s raid into the north was mostly thwarted when a large group of his men were captured while trying to escape across the Ohio River.

1864 Third Battle of Nanking:the Qing Dynasty  defeated the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

1865 Charles Horace Mayo, American surgeon and founder of the Mayo Clinic, was born (d. 1939).

1870 Franco-Prussian War: France declared war on Prussia.

1879 Doc Holliday killed for the first time after a man shot up his New Mexico saloon.

1896 A. J. Cronin, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1981).

1912 A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg exploded over the town of Holbrook, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town.

1916 Battle of Fromelles: British and Australian troops attacked German trenches in a prelude to the Battle of the Somme.

1919  Following Peace Day celebrations marking the end of World War I, ex-servicemen rioted and burnt down Luton Town Hall.

1937 George Hamilton IV, American country singer, was born.

1940  World War II: Battle of Cape Spada – The Royal Navy and the Regia Marina clashed; the Italian light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni sank, with 121 casualties.

1940 World War II: Army order 112 formed the Intelligence Corps of the British Army.

1942  World War II: Battle of the Atlantic – German Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast positions in response to the effective American convoy system.

1946 Alan Gorrie, Scottish musician (Average White Band), was born.

1947 Brian May, English musician (Queen), was born.

1947 Prime minister of shadow Burma government, Bogyoke Aung San, 6 of his cabinet and 2 non-cabinet members were assassinated by Galon U Saw.

1963  Joe Walker flew a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human space flight under international convention.

1964 Vietnam War: At a rally in Saigon, South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Khanh called for expanding the war into North Vietnam.

1971 Urs Bühler, Swiss tenor (Il Divo), was born.

1976  Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal was created.

1979 Sandinista rebels overthrew the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua.

1982 The Privy Council granted New Zealand citizenship to Western Samoans born after 1924. The government challenged this ruling, leading to accusations of betrayal and racism.

Privy Council rules on Samoan citizenship

1983 The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT was published.

1985  The Val di Stava Dam collapsed killing 268 people in Val di Stava, Italy.

1989  United Airlines flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa killing 112 of the 296 passengers.

1992  Anti-Mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino  and  five police officers were killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo.

1997  – The Troubles: The Provisional Irish Republican Army resumed a ceasefire to end their 25-year campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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