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.


State funding by stealth

August 13, 2014

Labour and the Green Party have made no secret of their desire to have taxpayers fund them.

They’ve made no traction on direct funding so now they’re trying another route, making political advocacy charitable:

 In Australia political advocacy is recognised as a charitable purpose in its own right”.

It is time we modernised our system and included advocacy in the Charities Act. I have a members bill in my name that would do just that

This is Green MP Denise Roche to whom David Farrar responds:

I’m absolutely opposed to this. You should not get a tax deduction because you donate to do political advocacy. Should Kim Dotcom get a $1.3 million tax deduction because he gave $4 million to the Internet Party?

This law change would allow every lobby group in New Zealand to claim they are a .

This is an attempt to get state funding by stealth.

Tax deductibility would come first and open the way to more.

Democracy is supposed to be of, for and by the people as individuals and in groups.

Political parties must not be of a few people for a few people funded by taxes.

MMP has encouraged the growth of wee parties who’ve made it into parliament. They’ve found  it’s much easier to persuade people to give them a vote than it is to give them money.

Running parties and campaigning isn’t cheap and the best foundation for funds is strong and diverse membership.

National is polling well for several reasons, one of which is it still has a strong, nation-wide membership base and contrary to the way the left like to portray those members, they come from a wide cross-section of society.

The party does get some big donations but it’s a lot of people giving a little which makes the party strong.

Defaulting funding to the taxpayer would reduce the incentive to increase membership and widen the gap which already exists between too many parties and the people they are supposed to serve when they get into parliament.

It would also take scarce taxpayer funds which could be far better used for a whole lot of far more deserving causes.


Civilan Party regsitered

August 13, 2014

The Civilian Party has met the membership and other criteria necessary to be registered as a political party:

On 11 August 2014 the Electoral Commission determined applications made under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993 to register the following political party and logo:

Party: The Civilian Party

Logo:

The Electoral Commission determined that the party and logo be registered in accordance with sections 67 and 71F of the Electoral Act 1993. The Register of Political Parties and logos has been updated accordingly.

I admire this party because it knows it and its policies are jokes.

There are several other parties without the required self-knowledge to realise they are too – though none of them is nearly as funny.


Right not always popular

August 13, 2014

The Maori Party has the endorsement of New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan:

. . . O’Sullivan has thrown his celebrity behind the Maori Party saying he believed compromise was the best way to advance Maori interests, and the Maori Party was best placed to do that.

O’Sullivan’s face is plastered over party billboards across the country.

He said that despite warnings it was “reckless and risky” to publicly endorse a party he felt it was necessary.

“I hope that my small – and I do think it’s small – contribution to this campaign could help to bring a positive light to what the Maori Party has achieved and has the potential to achieve,” he said.

O’Sullivan, who also spoke at the party’s campaign launch, cited its willingness to straddle the political divide and its focus on issues such as rheumatic fever and healthy homes as being behind his decision.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” he said.

While reluctant to comment specifically on the Internet Mana Party, he said he preferred a positive message over one focused on “pulling down the Government”.

He had been forced to make unpopular but necessary decisions in his own career and the Maori Party was willing to do the same, he said.

“I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,” he said.

“Like I say, sometimes the decisions are not popular . . . it’s hard to be popular and do the right thing at the same time.” . . .

No party can expect to get all the policies it wants enacted.

MMP is supposed to promote consensus but that is rarely possible without at least some compromise.

Small parties tend to get punished for their part in a coalition but the Maori Party has won more than it could have had it chosen to stay in opposition.

One of those gains was the continuation of the Maori seats which would almost certainly have gone had Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples not argued for them in their coalition deal.

Another was Whanau Ora which is making a positive difference to people’s lives.

But perhaps the most significant achievement was proving that the party could work with National and Maori had much to gain by it doing so.

Had it chosen to stay outside the coalition it would be marooned on the left of politics like the Green and Mana Parties.

It’s leaders realised the gains they could make by being in a National-led government, even though it meant accepting compromises.

In doing so they have made real gains.

Tai Tokerau Maori Party candidate Te Hira Paenga has made it clear at a political debate that its relationship with National is to ensure government policies will improve the lives of tangata whenua. . .

In the time allocated to Te Hira Paenga, he said the party made no apologies for striking a relationship with the Government.

He said more tangata whenua needed to work with government agencies in order to provide a better education system, real jobs and living wage.

Mr Paenga also made a subtle dig at his fellow candidates by saying it was time to get rid of the ‘old nets’ referring to the proverb – ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.

That translates as: As a old net withers another is remade, meaning when an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier leader will stand in his place.

The Maori Party’s two older leaders are retiring.  Paenga’s speech shows he is willing to follow their example and accept that compromise is necessary in government.

So too is accepting that the right decisions won’t always be popular.

O’Sullivan understands that.

It is a message he and the party must get across to voters if it is to survive this election in a state to continue making a positive difference.

 

 


August 13 in history

August 13, 2014

1516  The Treaty of Noyon between France and Spain was signed. Francis recognised Charles’s claim to Naples, and Charles recognises Francis’s claim to Milan.

1521 Tenochtitlán (present day Mexico City) fell to conquistador Hernán Cortés.

1536  Buddhist monks from Kyōto’s Enryaku Temple set fire to 21 Nichiren temples throughout Kyoto in the Tenbun Hokke Disturbance.

1553  Michael Servetus was arrested by John Calvin in Geneva as a heretic.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Battle of Blenheim – English and Austrians wona gainst French and Bavarians.

1790 William Wentworth, Australian explorer and politician, was born (d. 1872).

1792   Louis XVI of France was formally arrested by the National Tribunal, and declared an enemy of the people.

1814  The Convention of London, a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United Provinces, was signed in London.

1818 Lucy Stone, American suffragette, was born  (d. 1893).

1831 Nat Turner saw a solar eclipse, which he believed was a sign from God.

1860 Annie Oakley, American sharpshooter, was born. (d. 1926)

1888 John Logie Baird, Scottish television pioneer, was born (d. 1946).

1889  German Ferdinand von Zeppelin patented his “Navigable Balloon“.

1899 Alfred Hitchcock, English film director, was born (d. 1980).

1907 Sir Basil Spence, Scottish architect, was born (d. 1976).

1913  Otto Witte, an acrobat, was purportedly crowned King of Albania.

1913  First production in the UK of stainless steel by Harry Brearley.

1918  Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

1918 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) established as a public company.

1920 Polish-Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw began.

1926 Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary and politician, was born.

1937 Battle of Shanghai began.

1940  Battle of Britain began.

1951 Dan Fogelberg, American singer/songwriter, was born (d. 2007).

1960 The Central African Republic declared independence from France.

1961 The German Democratic Republic closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin, to thwart its inhabitants’ attempts to escape to the West.

1968 Alexandros Panagoulis attempted to assassinate the Greek dictator Colonel G. Papadopoulos.

1969 The Apollo 11 astronauts were released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker-tape parade in New York. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon.

1978  150 Palestinians in Beirut were killed in a terrorist attack.

1979  The roof of the uncompleted Rosemont Horizon near Chicago, Illinois collapsed, killing 5 workers and injuring 16.

2004   Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, struck Punta Gorda, Florida.

2004  156 Congolese Tutsi refugees massacred at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi.

2005 Former NZ Prime Minister David Lange died.

Death of David Lange

2008 Michael Phelps set the Olympic record for most the gold medals won by an individual in Olympic history with his win in the men’s 200m butterfly.

2010  – The MV Sun Sea docked in CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils.

2011 – The main stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair during a hurricane-force wind gust ahead of an approaching severe thunderstorm, killing 7 and injuring 45.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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