Word of the day

August 13, 2014

Stercoraceous – consisting, containing,  of, resembling or produced by dung or faeces; fecal; consisting of or relating to excrement.


Which classic rock band are you?

August 13, 2014

Which classic rock bank are you?

The Eagles

You sure know how to ‘Take It Easy.’ You are easygoing and relaxed. You are a good listener and people rely on you for feedback and advice. You are easily approachable and often greet people with a warm smile. You enjoy the simple things in life like sunsets, walks on the beach, and homemade dinners.

The Eagles were one of the bands which accompanied me through university.


Bribe-O-Meter

August 13, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has launched an election campaign  Bribe-o-meter:

As political parties announce their policies in the weeks leading up to the General Election, we’ll be crunching the numbers and showing you just how much all the promises cost.

This week we’re launching with the total cost of the policies announced by the two main parties, up to Monday 11 August 2014.

And the results are:

National Party’s total cost of announced promises: $2,770.37 per New Zealand household (or $4.698 billion)

Labour Party’s total cost of announced promises: $4,081.85 per New Zealand household (or $6.922 billion) . . .

The Taxpayers’ Union has commissioned Dr Michael Dunn of Economic and Fiscal Consulting Ltd to independently calculate the data for the Bribe-o-meter. Michael is politically independent and has extensive experience in the field of economics, including as a Manager within IRD’s Forecasting and Analysis unit for 12 years. . .

The Bribe-o-meter compiles the political promises of each of the main political parties and places them within the major spending portfolios.

It assumes that the government elected on 20 September will last for a full three-year term and oversee Budgets 2015/2016 to 2017/2018.  Policies announced that do not come into effect during the next Parliament will not be included in the figures.

Our analysis includes spending pledges announced between 2011 and now. Given that the purpose of the Bribe-o-meter is to track spending pledges announced by politicians, it does not model the effect of tax cuts or tax increases and the effect they have on households.

Tax credits and rebates have been considered as constituting new spending.

Our cost tables do not include the provisions for future budget spending that have been made by each party.  For the next three budgets (2015, 2016 and 2017) National propose additional spending of $9.1 billion, and Labour $6.9 billion.  In addition, Labour plan to contribute $3.9 billion to the NZSF over the 3 year period.. . .

The quantity of money spent is only one factor, the quality of the spend – where and how effective it is –  is more important.

Spending is only one side of the ledger.

The other side – revenue the government gets in from taxpayers, user-pays and other charges – and the impact of policies on economic growth and the tax take are also important.

Though as a general rule of thumb, when it comes to government spending, less is often more and almost always better.


Fantastic facts about the south #39

August 13, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 39:


Rural round-up

August 13, 2014

Getting New Zealand agriculture on the global market access ‘VIP’ list:

Priority must be given to policy and regulatory settings that improve market access for New Zealand exporters, with a heightened focus on the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements and building business-to-business and government-to-government working relationships, according a new report by global agribusiness specialist Rabobank.

Further leveraging New Zealand’s world class production and supply chain systems is also of utmost importance, the report says.

Releasing the research report, Competitive Challenges – Getting on the global market access ‘VIP’ list – Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello says improving market access is critical for the future growth and success of New Zealand agriculture, given the importance and reliance on exports across all sectors. . . .

Human clinical trial demonstrates digestive differences in A1 and A2 beta-casein – Keith Woodford:

The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.

The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author.

Prior to this trial there was already conclusive evidence that A1 and A2 beta-casein digest differently in animals. . . .

DNA technology a ‘game changer’ for monitoring environmental impacts:

Cawthron scientists have proved DNA technology can be used to accurately and effectively assess changes in the environment around marine-based operations.

Their findings have generated international interest – in particular from the aquaculture and off-shore oil and gas sectors that see huge potential for the technology. It will enable them to undertake environmental monitoring in near real-time.

“This revolutionary DNA technology, while still in its infancy, will eventually deliver results in real-time so industries can know instantly if anything is changing in the marine ecosystems around their operations, and if necessary, they can respond and adapt their practices immediately – it’s a game changer,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says. . .

Oh No! The ‘Perfect Bad Storm’ for Dairy Farmers World-Wide – Pasture to Profit:

Falling demand for dairy products, increasing wheat stocks, Russian ban on food imports have created the worst possible “Perfect Storm” for dairy farmers worldwide.

Dairy farmers’ business resilience will be severely tested, especially over the next year until these extraordinary events are resolved or resume normal trading.   Farmers need to quickly get control of their cash-flows, debt servicing and capital spending needs to ‘out of cash surplus’ only.

New Zealand dairy farmers have been ‘farming the milk price’…some have made decisions based on “an apparently ever increasing milk price”. . .

 Nothing forbidden about 40-fruit tree:

If you are the indecisive sort, especially when choosing exactly what sort of snack you’re craving, a special tree may be the answer.

A man in the US has created a fruit tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruit.

Sam Van Aken’s nursery is a workshop, laboratory and easel all rolled into one, and here he has created his masterpiece.

A springtime rendering of what the tree will look like in blossom has been gathering world-wide attention.

“It’s flattering. It’s amazing. But yeah, it’s also overwhelming,” Mr Van Aken says.  . .

Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year competition:

A wide variety of entries has been received for this year’s Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, with meat, wool and dairy dominating the range of farm types competing.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland are particularly well represented among the entries, which include high and low country operations ranging from a large-scale pig operation to beef cattle specialists, dairy farms, sheep (both meat and wool breeds) and deer farms. Two of the entries include a cropping component their business. . .


If you’ve never been . . .

August 13, 2014

If you’ve never been to Oamaru’s Victorian Heritage Celebrations you’ve missed a treat.

This year’s festivities run from November 12th – 16th with the theme of transport.

The programme hasn’t been finalised but if you click on programme at the link above you’ll see last year’s which will give you an idea of the delights which await you this year.

Oamaru TODAY's photo.


Move to country to become a have

August 13, 2014

A reversal of  rural-urban migration could help more have-nots become haves,  Massey University professor of pasture science Peter Kemp, says.

Clinical psychologist Nigel Latta painted a gloomy picture in his recent television programme “The Haves and Have Nots” that highlighted the thousands of unemployed university graduates in New Zealand.

It provided a stark contrast to the agriculture sector crying out for qualified workers to meet the growing demand over the next 10 years.

I suggest too many urban people are looking in the wrong place for a career with a good salary and the opportunity for wealth creation. If people are looking for a lifestyle that incorporates running your own business and being able to afford hobbies ranging from horses to helicopters, they should target a career in agriculture, food and agribusiness. In other words, join the agrifood industry that drives New Zealand’s economy. . .

It would help if more people studied the subjects which are in demand in land-based careers, but smart people trained in one discipline can usually learn fast in another, and the agrifood sector is far broader than farming.

Agrifood doesn’t just underpin our economy with food exports, it supports jobs in almost everything – banking, software development, mechatronics, food technology, veterinary science, environmental management, manufacturing and marketing to list a few. Whether you want to be a farmer, bank manager or entrepreneur, you will find success in the agrifood industry.

Let’s look at some facts and figures. The Government’s latest “People Powered” primary industries future capability report projects there will be 50,000 new jobs in agriculture by 2025. Many of these will be service workers with qualifications such as researchers, rural business consultants, food safety specialists, irrigation specialists and sales professionals. The report also shows the need for 15,000 qualified workers in horticulture by 2025. Horticulture is a multi-billion dollar industry yet there is a chronic shortage of managers and consultants with horticulture degrees.

Not all these jobs start with high salaries but they all come with the potential to get ahead.

New Zealand is well placed to provide the eduction to support the need for more qualified workers in primary industries. We have Massey University, ranked 19th in the latest QS rankings, which offers programmes across the whole spectrum of agrifood and agribusiness, as well as Lincoln University, which focuses on production agriculture and Waikato University that offers agribusiness.

There are many entry points into jobs in agrifood and there is training and education at all levels. Secondary Schools such as St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton are setting up an elite academy for students heading into agribusiness. Taratahi College near Masterton will teach you how to manage and work on a farm, while the Primary Industry Training Organisation supports on-the-job training across the country.

Some schools still think agriculture is a subject for the less able and deter brighter students from studying it.

I do not have the solution to all the economic ills that worry Nigel Latta but if you are a person who wants to get ahead in life then I believe you should consider a job in the agrifood industry. Who knows, you might end up with a multi-million dollar business.

Paddocks aren’t paved with gold but there’s opportunities in the agrifood sector to earn good incomes.

The demand for good workers is high and there are plenty of opportunities for becoming your own boss.


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