Word of the day

August 21, 2014

Criticaster – a minor, incompetent, inferior or petty critic.


Rural round-up

August 21, 2014

Increases for fish stocks show success of QMS:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced increases to catch limits for a range of New Zealand fisheries today, thanks to healthy stock levels.

“This shows the success of our world-leading Quota Management System (QMS). It is flexible and driven by science, which means that we can increase take as stock levels improve,” Mr Guy says.

Healthy stocks have led to increased Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for:

• Hoki 1 (10,100 extra tonnes across New Zealand)
• Orange Roughy 7A (1155 extra tonnes on the upper West Coast)
• Orange Roughy 3B (525 extra tonnes around the lower South Island) . . .

Just what the doctor ordered, no way or only a matter of time? – Allan Barber:

There are three possible responses to the prospect of an overseas, probably Chinese, investor buying seriously into the New Zealand meat industry: bring it on, not on your life or it’s inevitable.

So far Chinese interests have recently bought a minority stake in Blue Sky Meats and an application to buy Prime Range Meats is with the Overseas Investment Office; ANZCO is just under 75% Japanese owned with New Zealand management and staff holding the balance. ANZCO’s ownership structure has remained like this for over 25 years bringing positive benefits to the company, its suppliers and New Zealand as a whole. . . .

Back to the future? – Andrew Hoggard:

I am going to propose something provocative.  The big long term issue for us isn’t going to be water but will be employment and occupational health and safety. 

While the mention of water and farming gets some people worked up, the truth will eventually break through the spin and I think we are just starting to see this.  When it comes to employment matters though, our industries have been named by the government’s Worksafe NZ as the most dangerous.  Another part of government says a big minority of employers aren’t meeting basic employment law obligations.

If that’s not enough, we’re fully in the crosshairs of the Council of Trade Unions too. . .

It’s a super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no – Chris Lewis:

Do you know that in the first half of 2014, the amount of global tradable milk grew by an amazing seven billion litres.  That’s enough milk to fill 2,800 extra Olympic sized swimming pools and it was available for export.  It goes to explain why Fonterra cut this season’s forecast payout by a $1 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS).

It would be nice if our politicians realised that farmers have good and bad seasons but they don’t.  All the spending promises seem to assume we’re constantly swimming in greenbacks.  We aren’t.  It is also why anyone, whether a Kiwi or a foreigner, who looks at a farm like a get rich quick property scheme will likely end up come a cropper. 

A farm is your business and your home.  This is why farmers are passionate about what we do and that makes us go the extra mile.  It is why I take exception to the line ‘milk and disaster’ being applied to dairy.  It is super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no. It is great to see the latest GlobalDairyTrade average still in the US$3,000 a metric ton range but that slight 0.6 percent fall means we are on exactly US$3,000. . .

 High pin bones too prevalent in NZ – Yvonne O’Hara:

New Zealand has a rump angle problem, says Holstein Friesian classifier Denis Aitken.

As well as being a dairy farmer who is trying to retire, Mr Aitken, of Maungatua, is a member of the World Holstein Friesian Federation Type Harmonisation working group. He spent some time in Denmark attending its two-yearly meeting in May.

The working group was seeking to standardise or ”harmonise” 18 different physical traits in Holstein Friesians by classifying or precisely defining the ideal of each of those traits and promoting the evaluation system. . . .

Young Agricultural Professionals Are Driving Agricultural Development – Food Tank:

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is a global network of young agriculture and development professionals who are coming together to create innovative and sustainable agricultural development. YPARD enables its young members to share knowledge and information, participate in meetings and debates, promote agriculture among young people, and organize workshops.

Food Tank interviewed Rebeca Souza, a YPARD representative in Brazil, to discover what YPARD members have been accomplishing.

Food Tank (FT): How did you become a representative for YPARD?

Rebeca Souza (RS): Last year, I was doing an internship at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Three other interns and I decided to organize an event calling on young professionals to share innovative ideas to overcome world hunger and malnutrition. YPARD was one of our partners, and Courtney Paisley, the director, was attending our event. I came to her asking if I could be a country representative in Brazil since no one was appointed to this position yet. She said yes! . . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

August 21, 2014

1. Who said: Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.?

2.  What were Fred Dagg’s sons called and who created them?

3. It’s blague in French,  facezia  or scherzo in Italian,  broma or chiste in Spanish and kōrero whakakata in Maori, what is it in English?

4. He co-hosted and television comedy show satirising current affairs and often portrayed Rob Muldoon, who is he?

5. What’s your favourite funniest book and/or film?


Better Public Services better sooner

August 21, 2014

Two of the Better Public Services targets National set have been met ahead of schedule:

Better-than-expected progress in reducing crime and having more young people attain higher qualifications means these two Better Public Service targets will be made more challenging if National is returned to government after the election.

The two targets are among 10 this Government has set to ensure the money invested in public services actually delivers demonstrable gains for New Zealanders, National Party Finance Spokesman Bill English and State Services Spokesman Jonathan Coleman say.

“For too long, governments have considered that spending more money equates to fixing problems, even when the evidence shows that simply isn’t the case,” Mr English says.

“That’s why our Government considers results rather than more spending as the best measure of the effectiveness of public services.

“In 2012, we set measurable targets in 10 challenging areas to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable, and it’s pleasing that our six-monthly updates show good progress.

“In two targets, the results have been so much better than anticipated that we’re lifting the bar so we aim for even more improvement.”

The new targets are:

• Raising the proportion of 25 – 34-year-olds who will have advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees by 2017 to 60 per cent – up from 55 per cent in the current target.

• Reducing the total crime rate by 20 per cent from June 2011 to June 2017 – up from the current target reduction of 15 per cent.

 “We’re lifting our sights because there has already been significant progress on each of these targets and we want to keep them challenging,” Dr Coleman says.

Other targets in the BPS programme include reducing the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for longer than 12 months, reducing the number of assaults on children, reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever and increasing the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification.

“Our focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating,” Dr Coleman says.

“We’re open to new ideas and new ways of people working together so we get more children immunised and ensure fewer children are assaulted.

“Our primary objective is to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders and we expect that over time this will also reduce cost pressures on the government.

“That’s our aim and a third term National government would continue to work for better returns from the billions of dollars that taxpayers spend to help and support their fellow New Zealanders.”

When you get a government with the courage to set targets and which understands it takes quality spending rather than quantity spending to make a positive difference you get progress.

These targets and the policies supporting them are working for New Zealand and we need another National-led government to ensure they keep working.


Plan for future generations

August 21, 2014

Governments rarely get thanked for what they do well.

The gains get banked then people move to the next thing on their can-we-have lists.

One of the biggest achievements the two National-led governments have made since taking power is not slashing and burning in the face of natural and financial disasters beyond their control.

Instead they took an actuarial approach to spending, looked at the long term costs, found what the drivers of long-term costs were and have begun addressing them.

They also identified where the fat was and trimmed that while still maintaining benefits and enhancing services.

The government has a lot of other achievements to be proud of but at this stage in  the electoral cycle, voters need to know the plan for the next three years.

There is one – you will find it here and there’s more on policies here.

National has been working for New Zealand and the work is working for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

The plan and policies will ensure that continues should voters trust National with a third term.

Best of all it’s a plan for continued careful management which will continue to provide a solid fiscal foundation to ensure social and environmental policies which depend on it are sustainable.

This isn’t just a plan for us, it’s a plan for our children and grandchildren.

 

 


Policy matters

August 21, 2014

Wayne Mapp asks: So is this going to be the first policy-free election?

One would hope not. We are still getting over the aftermath of the GFC of 2008-2011. The inequality debate is directly stimulated by that event. Christchurch has still got a lot of rebuilding to do, with all the different choices that implies.

But over the last week any substantive policy issues were virtually drowned out. How many people know about the Greens’ child and welfare policies, or National’s cycling announcement? And without actually looking it up, I could not think of what Labour has promised in the past week. On checking, it was free doctors’ visits for those over 65.

But that is the problem with non-party actors attempting to hijack election news; it crowds out the policies that will actually be the basis of governing the country. And if people can’t recall the policies of the parties due to their naturally limited bandwidth, they are more likely to revert to their general sense of which party they will support. Of course many would say that is a good enough basis to decide how to vote, but it rather makes a mockery of election campaigns and the manifesto commitments each party makes. . .

Yesterday two people who know I’m active in the National Party opened a conversation about the election.

Both said they had no interest in the side shows, both wanted to know more about policy.

Policy matters but most never gets reported and even less gets serious analysis.


Keep the team that’s working for NZ

August 21, 2014

National is working for New Zealand.

Only a party vote for National will enable it to continue with policies that are working for New Zealand.

The alternative would be Labour, the Green, New Zealand First and Kim Dotcom’s puppets in the Internet Mana Parties.

Photo: Both Labour and the Greens have released spending commitments that take little account of each other. So far, Labour has promised to spend at least $18b over four years, and the Greens have promised another $10b.  NZ can't afford disarray in its government and its economy. Authorised by G Hamilton, 41 Pipitea St, Wellington


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