Word of the day

22/07/2014

Manuhiri  – guests, visitors.


Rural round-up

22/07/2014

Lepto danger with flood waters:

RURAL WOMEN New Zealand  reminds Far North farming families to be mindful about health issues in dealing with flood waters, including the elevated risk of leptospirosis.

Families should be careful about drinking water, pull on their gumboots, wash hands and faces thoroughly, and cover cuts and grazes before they come into contact with flood water to reduce the chance of getting infections, in particular leptospirosis, Rural Women says.

The leptospirosis bacteria is shed in the urine from infected animals including stock, rodents, dogs, possums, and hedgehogs and is more easily spread about where there is excess surface water as the Far North is currently experiencing. . .

Free lunch for Northland farmers:

WHO SAYS there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or dinner, asks the Northland Rural Support Trust.

It is holding free lunch or dinners for flood-hit Northland starting tomorrow (Wednesday, July 23).

“We can’t stop it raining, but here’s a chance to have a dinner you don’t have to cook and an opportunity to talk to other storm affected folk plus pick the brains of some support people,” the Support Trust says to farmers.

Free food and drink is supplied at each event thanks to the trust and local merchants. . .

Stark difference between NZ and Australian dairying but why? – Pasture to Profit:

The visual & financial differences between the New Zealand & Australian dairy industries at the current time are stark and startling!

Why is the NZ dairy industry booming and Australian dairy farmers under so much pressure & having to dig deep to remain profitable. Both dairy industries supply into the same international market and Australia has a much bigger domestic population and local market. A strong local market is often argued as being a strength and likely to lift dairy farmers farm gate price. The economy in both countries is relatively strong & to a large extent was not greatly affected by the world financial crisis. Yet one dairy industry is hanging in by their fingernails while the other is buoyed (perhaps unrealistically!) by higher milk prices. . . .

AbacusBio finalist in sheep awards – Sally Rae:

Dunedin-based AbacusBio and its managing director Neville Jopson both feature among the finalists in this year’s Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

After being held in the South for the past two years, the awards have been shifted to Napier and will be held on August 6.

Dr Jopson is a finalist in one of two new categories – the sheep industry science award, which recognises a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming. . .

Decision on effluent area reserved:

An Environment Southland hearing committee has reserved its decision on whether Southland meat processor South Pacific Meats (SPM) can spread effluent on to a larger area of farmland in northern Southland.

SPM, jointly owned by Affco New Zealand and Talleys Fisheries Ltd, opened a plant at Awarua, south of Invercargill, in 2005.

Last year, it gained consent from Environment Southland to spread sludge from the bottom of its wastewater treatment pond on to 55.5ha of a 1033ha sheep farm near Garston. . . .

Farms: the abuse of children –  A Farm Girl’s Fight:

Recently, I was reading some blogs and websites of organizations and individuals that oppose farmers. These websites have “facts” that are outrageous. Luckily, these facts have “sources” attached….that link back to their own website. Anyway, it’s humorous to me, and gives me ideas for my blogs. And let me tell you what. I am fired up.

There was a sentence on one of the websites (which no I will not link to their website) that stated:

“Farmers are awful people that often take advantage of underage children, often their own, forcing them into a life of work and learning of inhumane ways.”
Let me tell you something. With the exception of the “inhumane ways” addition, that statement is damn true and I am darn proud of it. . . .

 


No sea cold enough

22/07/2014

Hamish Walker, National’s candidate in Dunedin South received one of those Ice Challenges and accepted it with a twist.

He chose to do it by total immersion in the sea at St Clair,wearing a kilt, with the support of some Young Nats and the accompaniment of the bagpipes.

 

Can't say THANK YOU enough to John BP, Katy H & Liz B who were stupid enough to join me this morning for the Ice Challenge- what commitment to the National Party!

It goes to show there’s no sea cold enough to stop the pursuit of party votes for National and #TeamKey who are seeking #3moreyears.

You can see it on video here – while you’re there you could like his Facebook page too.


Moa siting

22/07/2014

Trevor Mallard’s suggestion of bringing back the moa is being regarded as a dead duck by his leader but the topic is refusing to die:


Hauiti standing down

22/07/2014

National list MP Claudette Hauiti is standing down.

National MP Claudette Hauiti is calling time on her short stint in politics, removing herself from contention at the coming election.

She had been selected at as the party’s candidate for Kelston, but told her caucus colleagues of her decision this morning. 

Her decision comes just days after it emerged she surrendered her Parliamentary charge card after using it to pay for a Christmas trip to Australia.

That trip, and other unauthorised spending on the card – known as a purchasing or p-card – led to the list MP returning it to Parliamentary Service in March.

Outside the caucus room, Hauiti confirmed her intention to stand down from politics at the election, but refused to comment further.

She is yet to release a statement.

It’s understood she was told she would receive a low list ranking, and Kelston was considered to be a safe Labour seat. . . .

This is the right decision.

 

 


It’s red meat’s turn

22/07/2014

The red meat sector has been lagging behind dairying for the best part of two decades but ANZ’s Privately Owned Business Barometer Survey says that’s about to change:

Over the past two decades red meat farmers have not enjoyed the same stellar gains as dairy farmers due to decreasing real prices, increasing costs, lack of reinvestment and an industry structure that did not encourage collaboration or economies of scale.

The ANZ survey of 779 farmers, including 374 red meat farmers and discussion groups found that most participants were planning investment in their farms to increase productivity and take advantage of rising global demand for protein.

“The survey found the sector was confident that conditions were right to regain some of the lost momentum and play a bigger role in the New Zealand economy,” said Graham Turley, Managing Director Commercial & Agri for ANZ Bank NZ.

“Farmers we spoke to had active strategies in place to take advantage of rising global demand for protein, and advances in agronomy and genetics to increase production.

“While structural issues within the industry remain unresolved, many farmers have an expectation that solutions are emerging that will lead to better integrated supply chains.”

Key findings of the ANZ Red Meat Sector Key Insights Report
65% of red meat farmers plan to increase production in next 3–5 years. Of these:
• 84% plan to invest in pasture
• 69% plan to invest in animal genetics
• 53% see benefit in getting expert help in improving farm productivity
• 63% say succession is about passing the farm to family or whanau
• 34% say the purchaser’s ability to finance is the key barrier to succession

Turley said it was likely the red-meat sector would see faster productivity gains than dairy.

“Already, many operations are achieving outstanding results way in excess of the averages.

“The top 20% of farmers are achieving productivity of around four times more than the average, irrespective of land class and location.

“They rightly have the confidence to reinvest profits to lift productivity and generate long-term wealth.”

Beef + Lamb NZ has been working with farmers to help them learn from the top operators who are doing significantly better than average.

On and off-farm research and improvements in farming practices have already led to significant improvements as this shows:

We’re producing 7% less lamb but from 46% fewer sheep which means there’s been a huge increase in productivity in the sector.

No-one should be celebrating the fall in milk prices but it might help sheep and beef farmers take a fresh look at their own sector and see opportunities for improvement.


Management matters

22/07/2014

Frequent flyers are familiar with the safety talk cabin crew on airlines deliver.

They all say if an oxygen mask appears you should put your own on first then help others.

That’s a good metaphor for life.

If you don’t look after yourself you can’t look after other people and you might end up needing help from them.

Regular holidays are a sensible part of self-care which is why I won’t criticise politicians who took the opportunity parliamentary recess offered to have a break.

The first most people knew about holidaying leaders was a story in the Herald which devoted nine paragraphs to John Key spending 10 days in Hawaii and one sentence saying David Cunliffe would be taking a break.

That got the expected criticism of the PM from the usual suspects but there wasn’t much reaction at all to Cunliffe’s holiday until Sunday when someone in his party went seriously off message:

. . . However, Labour MPS are disgusted by Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider said.

Labour is trailing National by 30 percentage points, polling just 24.9 per cent in the latest Stuff-Ipsos poll.

“A lot of MPs are really f….. off about it,” the insider said.

“They are all working hard up and down the country, and f…… Cunliffe is on holiday. Guys like [Phil] Goff and [Annette] King and [David] Shearer, these guys really want it badly and they are working like their lives depend on it. And I think they are a little incredulous about what the guy is doing.”

Cunliffe’s camp saw very little value in the hypothetical poll on replacing the Labour leader.

“We take issue with the validity of the finding that a whole lot more people (including all of the National voters polled) would vote for Labour if someone else (unnamed) was leader. This is meaningless,” said Simon Cunliffe.

The insider said while the prime minister was also holidaying – John Key is in Hawaii – there was a “world of difference” between an incumbent prime minister enjoying 52 per cent support in the polls and an opposition leader trailing nearly 30 points behind.

“It sounds a little treasonous, but the guy doesn’t want it badly enough. If he did, he would be working. I think it is disgraceful behaviour, and not the sort of behaviour becoming of a guy who wants to be prime minister.

“We will be having a talk to David at caucus about his work ethic on Tuesday. We’ll be letting him know he’s got two months to turn this around, and we’re backing him and right behind him but he’s got to lift his game.”

The insider believed up to 20 of the 33 Labour MPs were deeply unhappy with Cunliffe’s leadership, but had accepted that an attempt to dump him this late in the term would backfire.

Instead, he said some, especially those whose places in Parliament were now at risk because they would not be returned on the Labour list on present numbers, would run increasingly individual campaigns focused solely on regaining their seats.

Clayton Cosgrove, eighth on the list, and Kelvin Davis, 18th, were deviating from party line, as seen by Davis’ public backing – against party policy – of the Puhoi-Wellsford SH1 “holiday highway” upgrade.

“Clayton knows …. he’s not back on the list, so if he doesn’t win his seat, it’s the end of his career. And he also knows his career is very closely tied to the political capital of David Cunliffe.”

The insider believed Cunliffe’s decision to go on holiday showed he didn’t have the qualities to become prime minister.

“David says family is really important to him, and I get that, but the thing is if you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game. Politics involves sacrifice, and it is hard on families. David knew this… he’s been a cabinet minister and an MP for 15 years.

“Six months out from the election he should have said to his wife and family, ‘sorry darling, you’ll see me Sunday evenings, the rest of the time I am up and down the country. That’s what his MPs are doing and Phil Goff’s wife hardly ever saw him for the three years he was leader, he worked like a demon, and so did Helen [Clark].

“He’s just not got the work ethic and the question is, does he want it that badly, it almost seems as if he wants the glory, but he hasn’t got the guts.”

There’s nothing wrong with taking a holiday but there’s something lacking in Cunliffe’s leadership and political management if it wasn’t discussed with caucus colleagues beforehand and done with their blessing.

Another incident which highlights poor management was his meeting a sex offender.

. . . But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.” . . .

Rodney Hide highlighted the case in a column nine days ago.

It is possible Cunliffe didn’t read the column and no-one is doubting his word that he didn’t know.

It’s not his honesty which is being question it’s political management – again.

If Labour was well managed someone in the party would have made it their business to find out who the offender was and let the leader know for several reasons, not least of which would have been to save him from what happened.

Cunliffe is being let down by insiders who are putting their personal ambitions ahead of the party’s and it is very difficult to counter that.

But he’s also being let down by poor management and at least some of that is his responsibility as leader.

Management matters in politics and parties which can’t manage themselves can’t be trusted to manage the country.


Some would owe us

22/07/2014

Stephen Franks has an innovative suggestion on incentive pay for MPs:

. . . When the Remuneration Authority was asking MPs about reform of the system 10 years ago, I urged that parties be given a material amount they could distribute among their members according to their pre-Parliament incomes, to do three things:

  • reduce the income cut involved in going to Parliament for people for whom there is much more to lose, and
  • reduce the overpayment of the kind or people who would never be thought useful enough outside Parliament to get anywhere near their Parliamentary income, so they don’t cling quite so desperately to their places; and
  • have the supplement reduce each year after entry to Parliament, to encourage turnover of people who have not progressed. . .

It would be very interesting to know how many MPs take a pay cut when they enter parliament and how many get an increase.

I can see why Franks’ suggestion could appeal but wages and salary are best based on what people are being paid to do rather than what they did in a previous position.

An MP like mine, Waitaki’s Jacqui Dean, has to service an electorate of 34,888 square kilometres which places far more demands on her than those with smaller electorates or in parliament through a party list.

However, while paying on performance would have appeal, how to judge that would be debatable.

Although this Twitter exchange, brought to my attention by Kiwiblog,  provides evidence some MPs are paid far more than they could possibly gain outside parliament:

Asenati Lole Taylor  could be a Minister in a Labour, Green, NZ First, Internet Mana Party government.

If this exchange is a fair reflection on her competence and she was paid on performance she’d owe us.


BPS working for NZ

22/07/2014

National set targets for its Better Public Services programme which are showing positive results.

Long-term welfare dependency is reducing and more young people are achieving higher qualifications under the Government’s Better Public Services initiative, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman say.

The Government today published the July update of BPS targets, which confirms more good progress in tackling some of the most challenging issues facing New Zealanders, however making headway in other areas is slower, Mr English says.

“The Government is committed to making progress on the really difficult issues that affect our communities and families, and particularly the most vulnerable,” he says.

“Taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year on public services to help their fellow New Zealanders and this Government is determined to ensure they get what they pay for. Our focus on reducing welfare dependency, increasing achievement in schools and reducing crime require government agencies to find better solutions and to work with others to implement them.

“We are prepared to spend money on effective programmes which change lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.”

Dr Coleman says the ambitious goals set by the BPS initiative were chosen to make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

“We have always said some of the targets will be challenging and require determination and teamwork to achieve, and it’s pleasing to see agencies working co-operatively.

“The latest update shows we are making good progress overall. We have now met the targets for reducing total crime and youth crime. There has been good progress in reducing long-term welfare dependency, increasing Level 2 NCEA pass rates and those with New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 4.

“Progress in the past 12 months towards our target of reducing long-term welfare dependency is encouraging, with 6434 (8.5 per cent) fewer people continuously receiving jobseeker support for more than one year. We are also seeing people stay in employment for longer.

“In other result areas, more work is being done to reduce rheumatic fever, reduce assaults on children, and improve online business transactions.”

Dr Coleman says that because of the BPS programme, agencies are working together more effectively and delivering results through collaboration and innovation.

“Agencies are making better use of data to drive better services and to meet the needs of local communities. Agencies are also learning about what works through research and evaluation,” he says.

“There is a greater focus on chief executives doing what is best for the system as a whole, rather than just looking at the short term interests of their department, and that is supporting the changes needed to achieve results.”

The BPS programme began in 2012 when the Prime Minister announced goals and measurable targets in 10 challenging areas, including reducing long-term welfare dependency, supporting vulnerable children, boosting skills and employment, reducing crime, and improving interaction with Government.

The Better Public Service Results July update is here.

Money is being spent where it will have a positive impact.

This is often more expensive in the short term but it will pay off with both social and financial dividends in the medium to longer term.

Behind these numbers are individuals whose lives and outlook are better than they would have been had National not introduced targets and policies that are working for New Zealand.

We’re committed to tackling some of the most challenging issues facing New Zealanders. You can check out our good progress here: national.org.nz/better-public-services #Working4NZ


July 22 in history

22/07/2014

838 – Battle of Anzen: the Byzantine emperor Theophilos suffered a heavy defeat by the Abbasids.

1099 – First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon was elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem.

1209 – Massacre at Béziers: the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade.

1298 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Falkirk – King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeated William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk.

1456 – Ottoman Wars in Europe: Siege of Belgrade – John Hunyadi, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary, defeats Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire.

1484 – Battle of Lochmaben Fair – A 500-man raiding party led by Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas were defeated by Scots forces loyal to Albany’s brother James III of Scotland; Douglas was captured.

1499 – Battle of Dornach – The Swiss decisively defeated the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I.

1510 Alessandro de’ Medici, Duke of Florence, was born  (d. 1537).

1587  Colony of Roanoke: a second group of English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.

1793 Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.

1805  Napoleonic Wars: War of the Third Coalition – Battle of Cape Finisterre – an inconclusive naval action was fought between a combined French and Spanish fleets under Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve of Spain and a British fleet under Admiral Robert Calder.

1812  Napoleonic Wars: Peninsular War – Battle of Salamanca – British forces led by Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) defeated French troops.

1844 William Archibald Spooner, English priest and scholar, was born  (d. 1930).

1849 Emma Lazarus, American poet, was born (d. 1887).

1864 – American Civil War:  Battle of Atlanta – Confederate General John Bell Hood led an unsuccessful attack on Union troops under General William T. Sherman on Bald Hill.

1890  Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, American Kennedy family matriarch, was born (d. 1995).

1894  First ever motorised racing event was held between the cities of Paris and Rouen – won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion.

1908 Amy Vanderbilt, American author, was born (d. 1974).

1916 A bomb exploded on Market Street, San Francisco during a Preparedness Day parade killing 10 and injuring 40.

1932 Oscar De la Renta, Dominican/American fashion designer, was born.

1933 Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

1934 “Public Enemy No. 1″ John Dillinger was mortally wounded by FBI agents.

1936 Tom Robbins, American author, was born.

1942  The United States government began compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to the wartime demands.

1942  Holocaust: the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto began.

1943  Bobby Sherman, American singer and actor, was born.

1944 Anand Satyanand, former Governor-General of New Zealand, was born.

1944 Estelle Bennett, American singer (Ronettes), was born (d. 2009).

1944  Rick Davies, British musician (Supertramp) , was born.

1944  The Polish Committee of National Liberation published its manifesto, starting the period of Communist rule.

1946  King David Hotel bombing: Irgun bombed King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British civil and military administration, killing 90.

1947  Don Henley, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1951 Dezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, “Gypsy”) were the first dogs to make a sub-orbital flight.

1962 Mariner programme: Mariner 1 spacecraft flew erratically several minutes after launch and had to be destroyed.

1970 Craig Baird, New Zealander racing driver, was born.

1976  Japan completed its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed in Japan’s imperial conquest of the country in the Second World War

1977  Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was restored to power.

1980 Scott Dixon, New Zealand racing driver, was born.

1983 Martial law in Poland was officially revoked.

1987 Lotto went on sale for the first time with a first division prize of $360,000.

Lotto goes on sale for first time

1992   Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar escaped from his luxury prison.

1993  Great Flood of 1993: Levees near Kaskaskia, Illinois ruptured, forcing the entire town to evacuate by barges operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

1997 The second Blue Water Bridge opened between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.

2002 Israel killed terrorist Salah Shahade, the Commander-in-Chief of Hamas’s military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

2002 – Prince Felix of Denmark was born.

2003 Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attacked a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, plus Mustapha Hussein, Qusay’s 14-year old son, and a bodyguard.

2005  Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by police as the hunt started for the London Bombers responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the 21 July 2005 London bombings.

2011 – Twin terror attacks in Norway:  the first being a bomb blast which targeted government buildings in central Oslo, the second being a massacre at a youth camp on the island of Utøya.

2012 – Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

2013 – A series of earthquakes in Dingxi, China, killed at least 89 people and injureed more than 500 others.

2013 – – Prince George of Cambridge was born.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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