Fantastic Fact about the south #41

August 11, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 41:


Word of the day

August 11, 2014

Ingurgitate – to swallow something greedily or in great quantity; overeat or eat immodestly; engulf; swallow up.


Swingers show need for straggle muster

August 11, 2014

Some people support a particular party election after election, others change allegiance.

Colmar Brunton’s analysis of vote switching shows the swingers:

We’ve noticed that in the lead up to the election, people are speculating about where political parties are gaining their support from, and losing it to. Political parties who poll regulalry will carry out their own analyses to answer these sorts of questions, but the results are typically kept confidential to those who commission the analyses.

Our pollsters thought it might be interesting to shed some light on this for those who are interested. They pooled all the data from the first five 2014 ONE News Colmar Brunton polls, and compared the ‘2014 average party support result’ with the party people recall voting for in 2011. They wanted to find out if eligible voters have switched to ‘undecided’ or ‘unlikely to vote’, so the analysis includes people who are undecided or who don’t plan to vote. For this reason the party support results are lower than those typically reported by a political poll, and they do not reflect the likely result of an election held at the time of polling. They do, however, help to shed light on where votes are coming from, and going to. The total analysis is based on over 4,500 eligible voters. Results are displayed below. 

vote switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The net gains and losses aren’t very big but in a close election a very few votes can determine which parties are in government.

This shows why all parties need to do a straggle muster to pick up any of the swingers who can be persuaded to swing back to them.

 


Rural round-up

August 11, 2014

Aim to raise sheep, beef farming profit – Sally Rae:

Graham Alder wants to help improve the profitability of sheep and beef farming.

Mr Alder was appointed general manager of Beef and Lamb New Zealand Genetics earlier this year, after a successful vote at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s annual meeting to combine the organisation’s genetics investments.

The new entity draws together Sheep Improvement Ltd, the Beef and Lamb New Zealand central progeny test and Ovita, with added investment in beef genetics, and was created with the aid of government funds. . .

South to the fore at awards – Sally Rae,

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson has been acknowledged for his contribution to New Zealand’s sheep industry.

Dr Jopson received the sheep industry science award at the recent Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Napier.

His ability to provide sound advice from both a scientific and commercial perspective was the critical reason for his receiving the award, a citation said.

His involvement and leadership in animal production had been instrumental in many of the sector’s recent technological developments. . .

New modelling steers towards better N responses:

PASTURE RESPONSE to nitrogen fertiliser will this spring be predictable more accurately by a new computer model unveiled by Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

The model is the first product of Ballance’s $19.5 million, seven-year Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership project jointly funded by MPI.

Dubbed N-Guru, the decision support software was designed in partnership with AgResearch to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use on pastoral farms. . .

Victorian community yarn bombs its towns in a display of wool pride  – Danielle Grindlay:

When Southern Grampians Shire Council (SGSC) announced it was going to re-brand and ditch its ‘wool capital of the world’ slogan, the community revolted.

The slogan was representative of a region ‘built on the sheep’s back’ and a campaign was launched to save it.

Thousands of stickers sporting the wool capital catchcry were printed and plastered on cars, shop windows and town poles.

However $75,000 was spent promoting the new ‘Hamilton – One Place, Many possibilities’ slogan, which pointed to the business, education, service and employment prospects in SGSC. . .

False ‘NZ made’ claims for merino, alpaca:

THE HIGH Court has rejected an appeal by four companies and four individuals who were convicted and fined $601,900 for selling visiting Asian tourists imported alpaca goods as “Made in New Zealand”, and making claims that duvets were 100% alpaca or merino wool when they were not.

In September 2013 the four companies and four directors pleaded guilty in the District Court at Rotorua and were convicted and fined a total of $601,900 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act. . .

Heard the yarn all about a building made from wool? – Matt Oliver:

SOME might see this as a wooly-brained idea for closure-threatened Temple Cowley Pools.

But Oxford Brookes University architecture student Will Field has won a top award for his plan to replace the pools with a building made out of wool.

Areas of knitting can be dipped in resin and set into a chosen shape by placing them over a frame.

After being left to set, the 19-year-old said it could then be removed from the frame and left at the city site for all to enjoy. . .

"The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty."


One wrong more wrong than another?

August 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago Act leader Jamie Whyte stated the party’s long-held position that there should be no race-based privilege.

The substance of his argument was lost in loud cries of racism which followed.

Yesterday New Zealand First leader Winston Peters repeated a very old line – two wongs don’t make a white.

He thought it was funny.

In another time and another place it might have been.

In the context of the xenophobia around Asian immigration in general and the purchase of properties by Chinese companies in particular it wasn’t.

It was a deliberate dog whistle designed to attention and it worked.

He got attention and the small demographic of the disenchanted to whom he appeals probably liked it.

But how will New Zealanders of Chinese descent be feeling?

New Zealand shamefully imposed a poll tax on Chinese immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Their descendents are part of the rich cultural fabric of our country, so too are more recent migrants.

They are generally over represented in positive statistics for education, health, income and crime and under represented in negative ones.

They are New Zealanders and don’t deserve to be singled out for political advantage.

That the only way Peters can get attention is with this stale word-play shows how little he has to offer.

He was wrong but contrasting the relatively mild reaction to his childish attempt at humour with the heated response to Whyte’s speech shows some wrongs are more wrong than others.

If reasoned arguments are wrong they should be met with reasonable counter arguments, not empty cries of racism.

Childish attempts at humour should be treated with the disdain they deserve.

UPDATE:

Race relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says we’ve got a lot of work to do:

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says “politicians making fun of an entire race of people isn’t new but it’s disappointing and shameful New Zealand political leaders are still doing it in 2014.”

“We’re better than this and our political leaders need to realise that.”

“We have come a long way as a nation in terms of people treating each other with respect but sadly we have some people who just don’t get it and who don’t want to get it,” said Dame Susan.

“Winston Peters needs to know he’s not funny. His outdated rhetoric belongs in New Zealand’s past: it has no place in New Zealand’s future.”

Dame Susan supported the comments made this morning by Chinese New Zealander and former Chinese Association chair, Stephen Young who said Mr Peters words belonged in the past.

Every year the Human Rights Commission fields thousands of complaints from people all over the country: approximately a third are complaints about racial discrimination. Nine out of ten complaints are resolved by our team of mediators said Dame Susan.

“We still have a lot of work to do in New Zealand when it comes to treating one another with respect. There is still, quite clearly, a lot of work to do,” said Dame Susan.

“All New Zealanders – including and especially those charged with the responsibility and honour of representing us in our parliament – need to treat one another with dignity, and respect: the foundations upon which human rights are found. Human rights begin at home.”

We all need to remember that a variety of creeds and races call New Zealand home.


Modern socialists

August 11, 2014

Karl du Fresne on modern socialists:

. . . The classical definition of a socialist is someone who believes in state control of the economy, but no intelligent person . . . could seriously argue that the heavy hand of the state creates happy, prosperous societies.

I mean, what shining examples are there? The Soviet Union? North Korea? Chaotic, wretched Venezuela, perhaps?

The truth is that wherever it has been tried, socialism has been synonymous with economic failure, misery and repression. That’s why it’s almost extinct. People aren’t stupid.

I can only conclude, therefore, that when people like Harvey describe themselves as socialists, they actually mean something else – perhaps a gentler, kinder socialism that hasn’t yet been revealed to the rest of us.

Here’s my theory. I suspect that to call yourself a socialist these days is to announce to the world that you have a social conscience, and are therefore on a higher moral plane than all those heartless people who are interested only in their own wellbeing.

In addition to that, I suspect that “socialist” has become a code word for someone who feels guilty about enjoying the trappings of capitalism – the stylish clothes, the overseas holidays, the restored villas in fashionable inner-city suburbs.

Most of the people I know who think of themselves as socialists enjoy pretty sweet lives. Capitalism has been very kind to them. . .

But we’re talking about a generation that lived through the heady era of the protest movement, when capitalism was the enemy, and part of them has never moved on.

Even when they’ve grown sleek and prosperous, in their minds they’re still marching down Willis or Queen St protesting against apartheid or the Vietnam War. Calling themselves socialist is a convenient way of resolving the contradiction between their romantic ideals and the reality of their very comfortable capitalist lives.

True socialists like the founders of the Labour Party wouldn’t recognise these people.

Being a socialist in those days meant getting your head bashed in by a special constable on horseback. Now it means sitting around a Kelburn dinner table tut-tutting about income disparity while someone opens a bottle of 2003 Felton Road pinot noir and wonders whether to go to Morocco or France for their next holiday. . .

This is one of Labour’s problems.

Socialism has been proved to have failed and the party hasn’t found any unifying philosophy to replace it.

Labour is no longer a party of people united by the principles on which it was founded.

It’s a group of factions who are using the party as a vehicle for their various and disparate causes.

The party might still pay lip service to some distant socialist ideals but most of its members do it from very comfortable lifestyles which capitalism enables them to enjoy.


Water policy attack on rural NZ

August 11, 2014

Environment Minister Amy Adams says Labour’s water tax is a pointed attack on rural New Zealand and small businesses that operate there.

“Labour is suggesting that rural New Zealand should pay taxes that no other New Zealander has to pay and should abide by rules that other water users aren’t subject to,” Ms Adams says.

“In fact, under Labour’s plan, the productive sector could be hit with a $60 million bill for every one cent of tax Labour imposes per cubic metre of water.

“You have to ask why Labour is looking to penalise farmers and small, rural businesses by making them and only them pay for water use when the issue of water quality is one that applies across urban and rural New Zealand.

“It’s an out-and-out attack on rural and provincial New Zealand.

“Only a few days ago Labour was claiming they supported small businesses. However, Labour’s water tax, which they are hiding the amount of, would cause real damage to hundreds of small, rural businesses in the productive sector.

“It’s not just costs dairy farmers would have to bear. Sheep and beef farmers in Canterbury, apricot growers in Roxburgh, market gardeners in Pukekohe and kumara growers in Dargaville could all be hit by Labour’s water tax.

“As Irrigation New Zealand points out, an equitable and affordable water tax will be impossible to implement and will cost a fortune to establish.

“If it was really about ensuring efficient water use, why is every other commercial water user, except farmers, exempt?

“A water tax will increase the cost of production which could mean higher costs for New Zealanders for products like milk, cheese and fresh vegetables.

“Improving the quality of our freshwater is important to us all but we must do it sensibly so it doesn’t cost thousands and thousands of jobs across regional New Zealand and impose millions of dollars of costs on communities.

“National’s plan will improve and maintain the economic health of our regions while improving the health of our lakes and rivers at the same time.

“With policies like this, Labour might as well give up the pretence that they care about rural and provincial New Zealand and the small businesses that are at the heart of these areas.”

Labour plans to tax “big” water takes but only those in the country that are used for irrigation.

If water has a taxable value for irrigation, why doesn’t it have a one for other big takes – like power generation and urban water supplies?

Labour isn’t going there because that would be too cost them far too much support.

For all they keep talking about supporting the regions they know they’ve got hardly any support there so it doesn’t matter to them that the tax will add costs to farming.

Unfortunately, while doing that,   it won’t contribute to their aim to clean up waterways:

. . .  IrrigationNZ does not believe that imposing an irrigation tax will lead to New Zealand’s rivers and lakes becoming swimmable.

“This policy fails to recognise the complexities of freshwater management in New Zealand and ignores the billions of dollars of on-farm capital investment which has been put into improving our waterways,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO. “A ‘fair and affordable’ variable rate water tax will be impossible to implement and will cost a fortune to establish,” he says. “In no other country in the world is irrigated water paid for through a tax.”

“There is much about Labour’s water policy which aims to yield the economic and recreational benefits of New Zealand’s water for all, this is good, but punishing irrigators by imposing a water tax is not the way to achieve this.

“The only robust and long term solution to restoring waterways is on a case by case basis engaging local communities to find solutions.

“It is time that the value of irrigation in terms of food production and creating jobs is recognised in New Zealand, as it is in every other part of the world. There is considerable public good gained from sustainably managed irrigated agriculture.”

IrrigationNZ would like to point out the following:

• Horticulture and viticulture is not possible in New Zealand without irrigation, therefore an irrigation tax will increase the cost of production and will be passed onto the public when they buy their fresh produce;

• irrigation in New Zealand is not free: irrigators pay for a water permit, pay to be part of an irrigation scheme, and operate within strict limits;

• it is inequitable to single out irrigators when hydro generators, commercial users and urban user will not be charged for their water takes;

• a charge on irrigators will reduce money available for mitigating environmental impacts;

• agriculture has been the backbone of this economy through what have been very challenging economic times globally – everyone has benefitted and now everyone needs to be part of the solution for cleaning up our waterways.

INZ is committed to finding a way for New Zealand to develop sustainably managed irrigation schemes within acceptable environmental limits.

“Water is our most valuable renewable resource and we believe that irrigation in New Zealand is essential to protect against climatic variations and to enhance the country’s ability to feed its population and to contribute to feeding the world,” says Mr Curtis.

Federated Farmers says its a thinly disguised anti-farming policy:

Federated Farmers is asking why the Hon David Cunliffe is talking about helping regional economies on one hand, while announcing new taxes on those same regions to knock them back on the other.

“This is a thinly disguised anti-farming policy that is trying to blame farmers and particularly farmers who irrigate, for all of New Zealand’s water problems,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“It is clearly misguided and worse it is opening the divide between town and country when we should be working together.

“They know they cannot bring all rivers and lakes up to swimming standards without rebuilding all urban storm water systems and clearing New Zealand of wildfowl at all, let alone, in 25 years.

“Taxing irrigators in Canterbury and Otago to fix up degraded waterways in other parts of the country seems patently unfair.

“As for the practical effect of their anti-farming Resource Rental policy, it can be summarised in Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty as being principally a tax on horticulture.

“In Marlborough and I guess in parts of Hawke’s Bay plus Wairarapa too, it is a tax on grapes as well as fruit and vegetables.

“For the rest of us, it is a tax on wheat, vegetables and pasture production.

“Independent economic modelling indicates that a Resource Rental on water at one-cent per cubic metre of water takes $39 million out of farms and provincial economies.

“This is all money that farmers are currently spending on protecting rivers and streams. Money that is making the towns of Ashburton, Pleasant Point and Oamaru places of employment for thousands of people. The same provincial economies that David Cunliffe wants to help.

“I don’t understand how you can help those towns by punitively taxing the one thing that has driven some prosperity in those regions.

“The Greens want to beat up dairy farmers, Labour wants to do it to irrigators. When will these people realise that others in New Zealand take and pollute water as well.

“Irrigation may take 57 percent of water used but residential and industrial users take 43 percent according to Labour’s own source document. It seems a bit one sided to continuously blame only one sector of the community for effects caused by everyone.

“As New Zealanders we need to collectively own up to our responsibilities and work together if we are to make a difference.

“Farmers have done that. It is time Labour and the Greens recognised that and argued for policies that encouraged the rest of New Zealand to do so too,” Mr Mackenzie.

A general charge would impose costs on production which will affect profit margins or be passed on to consumers in higher prices for food.

It will also be imposed on those doing all they can to keep water clean – which is the majority of farmers – rather than directly targeting the few who don’t.

Water didn’t get dirty overnight.

It will take time to clean it up but good work is being done already with co-operation between farmers, milk companies, councils and community organisations.

That work won’t be helped by labour’s policy which is merely another of their anti-farming taxes.


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