Word of the day

September 26, 2014

Furuncle –  a tender, dome-shaped skin lesion caused by an infection around a hair follicle with Staphylococcus aureus; a boil.

What fruit are you?

September 26, 2014

What fruit are you?

I’m a grape:

You’re adaptable and intelligent. Always one step ahead of the rest, your friends often rely on you to know the answer to any question or help update their resumes. If everyone would just let you write ‘The Rules for Life’ that everyone must follow, the world would be a better place.

I’ve never thought of myself as a grape, nor ever thought of grapes as adaptable and intelligent.

Rural round-up

September 26, 2014

Biofuels vs food production – Keith Woodford:

There is an inevitable tension between using crops for biofuel or for food. In working out the capacity of the world to feed itself in the future, the demand for biofuel is an essential part of the equation.

In the last ten years, the global quantity of biofuels has more than doubled. The big question is where will it go in the next ten years? It is widely agreed that biofuels are a key reason why grain prices have been much higher in this current decade than in the previous decade.

The largest producer of biofuels is the US, where 40 percent of the corn crop is now distilled into ethanol. To put that into perspective, corn is by far the most important crop grown in the US. The US produces four times as much corn as wheat, and it is corn that underpins both the animal feed and much of the human food industries. . .

New Zealand’s dairy opportunities in China – Keith Woodford:

This is the fourth in the ‘China series’ of articles written for the journal  Primary Industry Management by Xiaomeng (Sharon) Lucock and myself. It was published in September 2013.

As with other products to China, the statistics have moved on in the last year but the drivers of change are similar.

In the last year since the Primary Industry Management paper was written,  New Zealand’s total dairy exports to China have increased from $NZ2.9 billion for the 12 months ending 30 June 2013, to NZ6.05 billion for the 12 months ending 30 June 2014. These numbers will almost certainly decline in coming months, not because of a decline in volume, but from the current major downturn in prices. . . .

Passion for dairy drives manager  – Sally Rae:

When it comes to succeeding in the dairy industry, Maigan Jenkins believes passion is needed.

”You’ve got to want to be out there. It’s not a job where you go to work just for the money,” the young Clydevale herd manager said.

Brought up in South Otago, Miss Jenkins (21) had always enjoyed being around animals and wanted to be a vet from a young age. . .

Sculptor aims for essence of Shrek  – Lucy Ibbotson:

Capturing the ”multi-faceted personality” of New Zealand’s most high-profile sheep was a challenge relished by sculptor Minhal Halabi.

Central Otago celebrity wether Shrek, who died three years ago, will soon be immortalised in bronze in his hometown, Tarras, as a $75,000 sculpture by Mr Halabi nears completion.

Shrek’s owner, John Perriam, commissioned the piece, which will be unveiled later this year in the Tarras village. . .


Comvita sees annual earning lift of up to 32 %  – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products derived from manuka honey, sees annual earnings growth of up to 32 percent, while bemoaning a growing imbalance between the first and second halves of the year.

The Te Puke-based company expects net profit of between $9 million and $10 million in the year ending March 31, 2015, up from $7.6 million a year earlier, on revenue of between $140 million and $145 million, up from $115 million, it said in a statement. That will largely come through in the second half of the year, due to uneven sales between the northern and southern hemispheres, and after the honey harvest is collected between January and May next year, which will generate revenue from the beekeeping operations.

 Strong Wool Sale

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that at today’s South Island Wool Sale prices held firm to slightly dearer across all categories.

The Trade Weighted Indicator continued its recent decline at 0.7269 against 0.7305 last week.

A small Half-bred offering was generally 2.5 to 3.5 percent dearer through all microns 25 to 30. . . .


Friday’s answers

September 26, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: A leader is a dealer in hope.?

2. What is the source of this sentence: Where there is no vision, the people perish. ?

3. It’s too easy in French, guida in Italian, liderazgo in Spanish and ārahitanga in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People?

5. Which three qualities do you require in a leader?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four right and a near-enough for #4 (had you given just the surname you’d have got five) so wins a virtual batch of ginger crunch.

Alwyn got four and a near enough for #3 (leadership not leader) so also wins a virtual batch of ginger crunch.

J Bloggs got four and PDM got three.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Bravery helps sense of belonging

September 26, 2014

Lucy Knight stepped in to stop a youth stealing a stranger’s handbag and ended up in hospital with a head injury.

Friends set up a fund raiser on Give A Little, expecting a few thousand dollars to cover basic things like groceries, parking and petrol.

They’ve been rewarded with more than $180,000 and a lot of that comes from Chinese people who were moved that the good Samaritan stepped in to help one of them.

Kerre McIvor on NewstalZB  last night said one of the comments from a donor said she’d been in New Zealand four years and that Mrs Knight’s willingness to help someone like her made her feel at home for the first time.

It is heart warming to know that people care and that Mrs Knight’s selflessness helped not only the woman who was being attacked but helped others feel they belong.

This Facebook page has been set up for people who are able to offer other support.

Broad church vs bunch of factions

September 26, 2014

The National Party has always prided itself on being a broad church, and it still is.

Its membership includes economic and social conservatives and liberals.

They hold a variety of positions on policies and issues but members are united by the party’s visions and values.

Labour might once have been a broad church too but now it looks, and acts, like a bunch of factions, at best united by what they’re against and with little if any unity on what they’re for.

This isn’t new.

A journalist who covered party conferences more than 20 years ago said that was the case then.

People leapt on to the Labour bus, not because they were wedded to its principles, but because they saw it as a vehicle to advance their own diverse agendas.

It’s never easy to keep different factions in line, but it’s less difficult for a party in government and Helen Clark managed to do it.

Once Labour was in opposition, she moved on to the United Nations and the discipline which had kept the party together crumbled.

Labour is undergoing an independent review of its campaign which had many shortcomings.

But the best campaign in the world wouldn’t have overcome a party and caucus riven with dissent and with fundamental divisions in its membership and meaning.

Bigger than one man

September 26, 2014

David Cunliffe is expected to resign as Labour leader:

Labour leader David Cunliffe is expected to resign within three days but is still seriously considering going back into battle to reclaim the leadership, despite his own supporters urging that it is time to give up.

That would foil attempts by Grant Robertson’s supporters, who are already putting pressure on other potential contenders to clear the way to hand the Wellington Central MP the leadership without a contest.

Last night, Napier MP Stuart Nash joined deputy leader David Parker in confirming he would not seek the position.

Mr Cunliffe is expected to decide before next Tuesday’s caucus meeting – possibly on Sunday, when Labour’s ruling council meets to set up a review of the election result.

He is understood to believe he will still win a leadership contest under Labour’s primary-style system because of support among members and unions.

However, after talking to colleagues he is weighing up whether his difficulties with the caucus are too entrenched to heal, and what effect that could have on Labour’s chances of winning the 2017 election. . . .

Labour’s problems are bigger than one man, even if he is the leader.

One of the causes of its woes is its rules which enabled the unions and wider membership to inflict a leader on the caucus who didn’t have MPs’ support.

Those rules still stand.

The caucus never had confidence in Cunliffe and are pushing him to go, but the members and unions still have the power to return him or lump another leader on MPs whom they don’t support.

The theory of allowing members to vote for the leader might sound attractive but it has difficulties in practice.

With Labour all it does is illustrate the chasm between members and MPs.

That won’t change by just changing the leader because the party’s problems go far deeper and broader than the leadership.

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