Word of the day

August 4, 2014

Fangle – to trim showily; hang about; waste time; trifle; fashion, manufacture, invent, or create something; new-fashioned; a foolish innovation; a gewgaw; a trifling ornament.


High heels in the High Country 1

August 4, 2014

High Heels in the High Country is CTV’s tribute to women who’ve hung up their high heels and put on their gumboots to earn a living from the land.

The first episode features retiring MP Kate Wilkinson, agribusiness bank manager Pip O’Neill and Penny Zino the creator and owner of Flaxmere Garden.


Rural round-up

August 4, 2014

Award accepted as tribute to young farmer – Alison Beckham:

Southland dairy farmer Stefan Zeestraten should have been accepting an award at the 2014 Southland Environment awards on Thursday recognising the positive environmental practices he promoted on his family’s three central Southland farms.

Instead, there was a minute’s silence as the 300 people attending paid tribute to the 24-year-old, killed on Monday when his vehicle left the road and hit a power pole north of Winton, about 3am. . .

Young farmers there to support others – Nicole Sharp:

Waimea Valley farmers Andrew and Katherine Welsh are never ones to shy away from a challenge, especially when it comes to farming.

Moving to the Waimea Valley, near Mandeville, six years ago, the pair joined Balfour Young Farmers.

Mr Welsh had previously spent 11 years with the Thornbury club. But what they arrived to took them by surprise.

The Balfour club was nearly closed and had about five members.

It was in recession, and the task for the Welshes was simple: to get the club up and running again. . .

Biodiversity grant enables nursery at wetlands – Hamish Maclean:

A plant nursery should be the focal point for visitors to New Zealand’s largest privately owned wetland by this summer.

A biodiversity funding contribution of $9600 from the Clutha District Council means work can begin immediately on a nursery at Sinclair Wetlands (Te Nohoaka o Tukiuau), wetlands co-ordinator Glen Riley says.

Mr Riley said the wetlands had benefited from 1000-plus volunteer hours already this year. . .

In sheep farming for the long haul – Annette Scott:

Canterbury farmer Chris Allen grew up on a sheep-and-beef farm in Waikato.

He is a licensed aircraft engineer but 20 years ago the farming in his blood lured him back to the land.

He and wife Anne-Marie headed south and bought a 360ha sheep-and-beef property near Mt Somers.

Despite the growing challenges behind the farmgate Allen is upbeat about the red-meat sector’s revival.

“Either you do what you do or you sell out,” he said.

“Dairy is a whole new level of investment that doesn’t interest me, so I do this.  . .

Taking the sting out of honey cowboys:

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett is hopeful new labelling rules for manuka honey will flush out what he says are cowboys who are giving the product and industry a bad name.

The interim labelling guidelines, which come into effect in January 2016, will ensure New Zealand is producing quality manuka honey for export.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said good brands had been using a quality standard, the Unique Manuka Factor, for a number of years but rogue elements within the industry had put it in jeopardy. . . .

Viability of G9 kiwifruit under question:

There are fears a newly developed kiwifruit variety could be a lemon.

An industry leader said there were concerns about the long-term commercial viability of the gold kiwifruit variety known as G9.

G9 was first commercialised, along with another gold variety, G3, in 2010 in response to the bacterial disease PSA which has virtually wiped out the former variety of gold kiwifruit.

About 150 hectares of G9 is grown, much less than G3’s 4000 hectares. . .

Realignment of Fonterra and Nestlé’s Latin American Alliance Takes Effect:

The first step in the realignment of Fonterra and Nestlé’s Latin American alliance has taken effect.

As announced in May this year, Fonterra and Nestlé have revised their 10-year-old Dairy Partners Americas (DPA) joint venture to better reflect each company’s respective strategies.

Fonterra now has a 51 per cent controlling stake in DPA Brazil, with Nestlé holding the balance; and, together with a local partner, Fonterra has taken over Nestlé’s share of DPA Venezuela.

Fonterra’s Managing Director of Latin America, Alex Turnbull, says: “This is an exciting next step for Fonterra and the people in these businesses as they are formally welcomed to the Co-operative.” . . .

 


Fantastic facts about the south #48

August 4, 2014

Fantastic fact #48:


WTO future in doubt

August 4, 2014

Trade Minister Tim Groser says the collapse of  the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Bali deal  poses fundamental questions about the body’s future role in international trade.

A trade facilitation agreement to cut red tape at borders had been reached in principal in Bali last December at a meeting of trade ministers from the WTO’s 160 member countries.

Although important to efforts to streamline global customs procedures its larger significance had been in the impetus it would have given to finishing the Doha round of trade negotiations, which aims to slash tariffs and agricultural subsidies but which has been languishing since 2008.

That is all in tatters now after the deadline to sign off the Bali deal passed this morning without agreement from all members.

Groser said any efforts that WTO members had been ready to make to move on to a larger deal tackling tariffs and subsidies might now have been dashed by the failure of the trade facilitation deal.

“God knows where this leaves that – if there is no Bali deal then by definition there is no post-Bali work programme.”

The WTO’s director-general Roberto Azevedo said the latest failure threw the organisation’s future into doubt.

“This not just another delay which can simply be ignored or accommodated into a new timetable – this will have consequences.”

Azevedo said the WTO was important not just for its role in negotiating new agreements but also in preventing countries from backsliding into protectionism.

The countries which will be hurt most by this are those which can afford it least.

He said smaller countries had the most to fear if the WTO was to lose its importance in the world trading system.

“The major economies will have other options open to them. But the smaller, more vulnerable economies may not – they’re the ones that may no longer have a seat at the table.”

Groser said the WTO’s mandate as policeman in international trade disputes could come into question if it was no longer seen as a credible institution.

“What will happen if a legal finding about some major country comes through that is politically difficult for that country to implement?

“What will they do? That is the sleeper issue here.” . . .

Liberalisation of trade on a global scale has been moving at a glacial pace but it has been moving forward.

The collapse of the Bali deal and the implications for further liberalisation and the policing of international trade disputes is of great concern.

New Zealand already has free-trade deals with important trading partners including Australia and China and it will continue with bi-lateral and multi-lateral deals.

But any threat to the WTO is a threat to global free trade and a win for protectionism, politics and bureaucrats at the cost of producers and consumers.


100 years ago today

August 4, 2014

World War I started 100 years ago today.

Last week in parliament, Prime Minister John Key moved that the house recognise that on the 4th of August 2014, we will mark the centenary of New Zealand entering the First World War:

A few hours after the declaration of war by the British Empire, of which New Zealand was a part, the Governor of New Zealand Lord Liverpool told a crowd of thousands outside Parliament that New Zealand was at war with Germany.

The New Zealand government’s offer to send an expeditionary force – a move endorsed by this Parliament – was hugely significant.

New Zealand’s population in 1914 was just over one million.

The initial deployment was of 8,000 men, but by 1919 over 100,000 New Zealanders – or ten per cent of the population – had left these shores to serve overseas.

They were not just soldiers. They included, for example, medical staff, sailors and tunnellers.

Over 5,000 Maori served in the War, alongside 500 Pacific Islanders. And 550 women served in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service.

Of those who served, 18,000 lost their lives and another 41,000 were wounded.

One in 20 New Zealanders therefore became casualties of the First World War.

This was war on a scale beyond anything New Zealand had experienced before, and the effect on the nation was profound.

Worrying about loved ones, grieving for lost relatives, working to support the war effort, making do, going without – the War touched every person at every level in New Zealand.

Today’s New Zealand has roots in the patience and endurance of those communities, carrying on through the aftermath of the War and building a future for those who followed.

It is no wonder that the First World War is marked by memorials that stand in almost every community in New Zealand.

The contribution of that First World War generation, both on the battlefield and at home, has a deep significance for New Zealanders and is integral to our sense of nationhood.

In the last decade, the number of New Zealanders attending Anzac Day services at home and overseas has risen.

Many have travelled to battle sites and cemeteries in far-off places.

We are proud of those who took part in the First World War, as we are proud of our current Defence Force. 

I believe New Zealanders will embrace this Centenary.

It will be a time to honour those who served, a time to remember those who died, and a time to deepen our understanding of a formative event in New Zealand’s history.

Other nations are embarking on a similar journey.

Many millions of people died as a result of the fighting – not just in Europe but in theatres across the globe.

So New Zealand will be marking the Centenary alongside a number of countries, and it will be an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the people and governments of those nations.

There are too many commemorations and events to name, but I want to mention just a few.

In November we will proudly join Australia at a ceremony at Albany, Western Australia, to mark the joint departure of the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Alongside our Australian, Turkish and British friends, New Zealand will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli in 2015.

And over the next four years we will be increasing our presence at Anzac Day services and commemorations in France and Belgium.

While the Gallipoli Campaign will always hold an important place for New Zealanders, the Centenary is an opportunity to expand our awareness and knowledge of what happened after Gallipoli, and in particular on the Western Front, where by far the majority of our casualties occurred.

We will be commemorating New Zealand’s involvement in the Battle of the Somme, at Passchendaele, and other major battles in France and Belgium.

Plaques with the names of those battles, and others New Zealand fought in the First World War, surround us in this debating chamber.

More broadly, New Zealand’s WW100 programme encompasses the whole range of this country’s commemorative activity – from state ceremonies and government-led initiatives to grass-roots community projects.

Part of that programme involves major legacy projects such as the National War Memorial Park, Pukeahu – a place to commemorate New Zealand’s involvement in all military conflict and peacekeeping.

Heritage trails in Europe will tell the story of New Zealanders at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

These and other projects will be enduring reminders that ensure current and future generations never forget the sacrifices that have been made, and the role of war in shaping of this country.

The Government is also a major partner in the First World War Centenary History Programme – a series of up to 13 print publications covering the major campaigns in Europe and the Middle East, New Zealanders’ contributions in the air and at sea, the experiences of soldiers at the front and civilians at home, the Māori war effort, and the war’s impact and legacy.

Equally important are the many community projects that are underway around New Zealand.

WW100 is not a government-run initiative. It is a collaboration between government, local bodies, communities and individuals which seeks to ensure every New Zealander has the chance to be part of the commemorations, and to feel a sense of ownership.

When you travel around New Zealand – as I said before – you see a lot of war memorials with lists of the fallen from that town, or city or country district.

They remind us that each community has its stories to tell.

The WW100 programme encourages communities to tell those stories, and to honour their forebears in whatever way they feel is best.

From now until 2019, when we mark the centenary of our troops returning, the various commemorations, events and projects throughout the country will provide us with the opportunity to honour those who have gone before us, and reflect on their legacy.

We will always remember.

 The official website is here

Today I spoke in the House about the upcoming centenary of New Zealand’s entry into the First World War. You can find out more on our commemorative programme over the next five years at www.ww100.govt.nz


Taxi driver test

August 4, 2014

The taxi driver who picked me up at Wellington Airport last week asked why I was in the city.

When I said I was up for valedictory speeches at parliament discussion turned to politics and he said he’d always voted Labour until the last election when he’d voted National.

He planned to vote National again this time because he didn’t think Labour is on the right track and John Key and National are.

He  said Samoans like him had traditionally voted Labour and his decision to change wasn’t taken lightly but he wasn’t the only one who was thinking blue rather than red.

The taxi driver who took me back to the airport was also Samoan.

He said he always voted Labour but last time he’d voted New Zealand First. He wasn’t sure how he’d vote this time but he wasn’t happy with Labour.

The views of two taxi drivers doesn’t have statistical validity but these conversations confirm a trend of change in political allegiance among Pacific people.

The work of National MPs Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Alfred Ngaro has helped as has the enthusiastic campaigning by Mangare candidate Misa Fia Turner.

But there is also a recognition by more Pacific people that National values are more like theirs than those of other parties.

One of those is Jonah Lomu:

Some of the comments left in response to Lomu’s tweet contained an unfortunate level of vitriol.

But like it or not, National is working for all New Zealanders and no party can take the support of any people, individuals or groups, for granted.


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