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.


Don’t hobble leading horse

August 4, 2014

Quote of the day:

. . . Methven dairy farmer Alister Body believes there’s good diversity in the farming sector, with a balance including sheep and crops. He’s confident about dairy’s future, but is concerned about calls to harness what some have labelled a one-trick pony.

“Talking about ponies and horse races, if you think of the economy as a horse race, you know it would be silly to put the hobbles on one of the leading horses so the rest can catch up,” . . .

No-one is arguing against the need for dairy farms to ensure that their practices have environmental safeguards.

But a lot of the policies being promoted by opposition parties including extra taxes, less flexible employment law and unrealistic environmental standards would hobble the horse which is contributing so much to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being.

Practices in the past on some farms haven’t been as protective of water quality as they should have been.

But farmers and diary companies are now doing much more to guard against nutrient leaching and regional councils are using both carrots and sticks to ensure they at least meet minimum standards.


Latta vs rich List

August 4, 2014

Nigel Latta’s TV programme on the New Haves and Have Nots has reignited the debate on inequality.

Eric Crampton counters the assertion inequality is growing:

. . . First, as noted last night, inequality has not been increasing. There was an increase from the mid 1980s through the early 1990s, and it’s been flat since then. Last night I put up the Gini time series, but that’s hardly the only measure of inequality. Let me here quote the Ministry of Social Development report:

Overall, there is no evidence of any sustained rise or fall in inequality in the last two decades. The level of household disposable income inequality in New Zealand is a little above the OECD median. The share of total income received by the top 1% of individuals is at the low end of the OECD rankings.

That’s one of their big bolded summary findings. Inequality is flat, we’re hardly out of line for the OECD, and whatever you think about inequality in NZ, it’s not being driven by the top 1%. . . .

Whether or not he read that, Latta added to the debate with a Facebook post:

And… for all those people out there who dispute the fact that inequality has been steadily increasing in this country… and who argue the ins and outs of the statistics from the most recent Household incomes survey… and even the man on Newstalk ZB who just said the episode was all just “socialist propaganda”… well, all those people might be interested in the fact that in the latest National Business Review Rich List Survey the collective wealth of our rich-listers has more than doubled since 2004 from $22.3 billion to $51.2 billion in 2014.

You can call that any one of a number of things, but I don’t think you can look at those numbers and say that inequality has been “stable” since the 1990’s.

So, you know, there’s that.

To which responds:

. . . Meantime, is the Rich List 2014 exhibit A for growing inequality?

It’s worth noting the Rich List isn’t stuffed with cigar-chomping bankers or sweat shop owners or other Dickensanian characters.

Take the wealthiest new entrant, Ian McCrae (Orion Health) or Rod Drury (Xero) who had one of the biggest jumps in personal wealth this year.

Both of these sell-made CEOs have roughly doubled their software companies’ workforces from around 400 to more than 800 a piece over the past 12 months. 

Those are high quality jobs. As are the 1500+ employed by Rich Lister John Holdsworth at Datacom, which has shot up the TIN100 rankings to become our second largest high tech exporter (just ahead of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, founded by the Rich List Paykel family).

Companies on the TIN100 (and NZTE/Callgahan Innovation-backed list of our largest high tech companies) piled on staff last year — and would have added more if not for a skills shortage. The TIN100 is stuffed with NBR Rich Listers too numerous to name, but it includes Sir Peter Jackson, and the Gallagher Family.

Many make a broader contribution. Xero has fostered a shoal of smaller NZ software companies that support its platform. Holdswoth and Morgan each invest in dozes of startups, as does another Rich Lister Sir Stephen Tindall (and there are many other examples of investing in new businesses; I’m just pulling a handful from the tech scene). Morgan is also investing further afield including multiple projects in Africa aimed at creating sustainable businesses. 

It’s also worth noting that Drury and McCrae’s companies are barely gouging and exploitive by nature. Xero will only succeed against rivals if it makes it easier for small businesses to do their books. Orion Health has had wins around the world for its software, which among other things makes it easier for healthcare providers to put patient records online and share them others who need access. But its biggest success as been in the US on the back of the Obama reforms which have made healthcare more accessible. Orion is helping to make our hospital system work better too. That’s a good thing.

It’s true Rod Drury’s wealth has increased four-fold over the past couple of years, but it’s not like he got there by reaching into workers’ back pockets. It reflects the value that NZ, Australian, US and other investors have ascribed to his company’s shares.

Drury and McCrae have also made useful contributions to the debate around ICT infrastructure and public education., among other areas.

Not all Rich Listers have made such active investments in terms of employment or otherwise contributing to the economy. Some have merely seen the value of properties increase over the past year, with mixed results for middle and working class NZ. And not ever retailer on the Rich List is about to get a medal from the CTU. But it’s notable that the largest retailer, Sir Stephen Tindall’s The Warehouse, introduced a living wage programme over the past year (or Career Retailer Wage as the chain calls it). There are counter examples, but across the Rich List there are lots of examples of good jobs being created and even, like Sir Stephen, a few examples of closing the gaps.

Most wealthy people are wealthy because they have worked hard and taken risks.

They have earned their wealth and most have made a positive contribution to both the economy and society in doing it.

A very few might have got ahead at the expense of others but most get ahead by creating wealth which not only helps them it also helps others, by creating jobs and providing goods or services.

There is no doubt there are people in dire circumstances in New Zealand but the statistics on how many and comparisons with others don’t matter nearly as much as the people who are in need.

The easiest way to reduce inequality is to make the rich poorer but that won’t help the poor.

The real problem isn’t the gap between rich and poor but whether those at the bottom have enough and how easy, or difficult, it is for them to improve.

Some in immediate need require immediate direct help.

The key to helping the rest is improvements in their education, health, and helping those who could work but aren’t to move from welfare to work.


August 4 in history

August 4, 2014

1265 Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham – the army of Prince Edward defeated the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.

1532 the Duchy of Brittany was annexed to the Kingdom of France.

1578 Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir – the Moroccans defeated the Portuguese. King Sebastian of Portugal was killed leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir which initiated a succession crisis in Portugal.

1693 Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of Champagne.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Gibraltar was captured by an English and Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke and allied with Archduke Charles.

1789 In France members of the National Constituent Assembly tookan oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges.

1790 A newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).

1791 The Treaty of Sistova was signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.

1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet, was born (d. 1822).

1821  Atkinson & Alexander published the Saturday Evening Post for the first time.

1821 Louis Vuitton, French designer, was born (d. 1892).

1824 Battle of Kos  between Turks and Greeks.

1834  John Venn, English mathematician, was born (d. 1923).

1854 The Hinomaru was established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships.

1870 Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer, was born (d. 1950).

1873  The United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashed for the first time with the Sioux, one man on each side was killed.

1900 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother), was born (d. 2002)

1901 Louis Armstrong, American jazz musician, was born (d. 1971).

1902 The Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opened.

1906  Central Railway Station, Sydney opened.

1914   Germany invaded Belgium. In response, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.

1916  Liberia declared war on Germany.

1923 – The 8.5-km Ōtira tunnel, which pierced the Southern Alps and linked Christchurch with Greymouth, was formally opened by Prime Minister William Massey.

1936  Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas suspended parliament and the Constitution and established the 4th of August Regime.

1942 David Lange,  former New Zealand Prime Minister, was born (d. 2005).

David Lange Posts a Letter.jpg

1943 Vicente Alberto Álvarez Areces, President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, was born.

1944 A tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they foundd  Anne Frank and her family.

1946 Dominican Republic earthquake of magnitude 8.0;  100  killed and 20,000 left homeless.

1947 The Supreme Court of Japan was established.

1952 Moya Brennan, Irish singer, was born.

1954  The Government of Pakistan approved Qaumi Tarana, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla, as the national anthem.

1958  The Billboard Hot 100 was founded.

1960 – Tim Winton, Australian author, was born.

1960 Paul Henry,  New Zealand broadcaster, was born.

1960 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1961  Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born.

1964  Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were found dead after disappearing on June 21.

1964  Gulf of Tonkin Incident: United States destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1965  The Cook Islands gained Self Government.

Cook Islands achieve self-government

1965 Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, was born.

1969  Vietnam War: at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy began secret peace negotiations.

1974  A bomb exploded in the Italicus Express train at San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Italy, killing 12 people and wounding 22.

1975  The Japanese Red Army took more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

1984  The African republic Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso.

1987 The Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.

1991  The Greek cruise ship MTS Oceanos sank off the Wild Coast of South Africa.

1995 Operation Storm began in Croatia.

2002 Soham murders: 10 year old school girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells went missing from Soham, Cambridgeshire.

2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaëlle Jean would be Canada’s 27th — and first black — Governor General.

2006 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers by Sri Lankan government forces, killing 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF).

2007 NASA’s Phoenix spaceship was launched.

2007 – Airport police officer María del Luján Telpuk discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared amount of US$800,000 as it went through an x-ray machine in Buenos Aires’ Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, sparking an international scandal involving Venezuela and Argentina known as “Maletinazo“.

2010 – California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage passed by the state’s voters in 2008, was overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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