Aussies, Kiwis, what’s the difference?

November 3, 2014

Stuff explains:

A Chicago newspaper has apologised after delivering the ultimate insult to the All Blacks and New Zealand – calling them Australians.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story on the USA vs All Blacks game with a standfirst which read: ”Sell-out crowd watches legendary Aussie team dominate Americans”.

o their credit, the Sun-Times added a correction to their online story this afternoon.

“In the Sunday editions of the Sun-Times, the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team was incorrectly referred to as Aussies. The Sun-Times apologizes for the error.”

It appeared to be an editing error, as the writer, Brian Sandalow, mentions in his opening paragraph that the team is in fact the ”New Zealand All Blacks”. . .

It’s possible a reporter here writing about a minority support from a very small country might well get confused about the origin of the team too.

 


Word of the day

November 3, 2014

Comminuted – reduced to minute particles or fragments; (of a fracture) producing multiple bone splinters;


Rural round-up

November 3, 2014

Reducing injuries and fatalities on our forest blocks:

“The Independent Forestry Safety Review has recommended a three-year action plan to drive improvements in the forestry sector. The action plan will leverage the commitments to a new safety culture and a better safety record made by the forestry sector during the Review process. It will be a document against which the actions of the sector – at all levels – can be measured.

“The Panel Review believes the first action that needs to be undertaken is the development of a Safety Charter and an agreement by leaders across the industry to meet the mandatory health and safety and employment standards already in place.

“In the 21st century being unable to achieve these basics is simply not acceptable and has a negative impact on the culture of a workplace and the ability to work safely. It sends terrible signals to workers about how they are valued and the priorities of their employers. It also has a direct impact on safe working practices.

“The Panel Review believes all participants in the forestry sector need to make a concerted effort to improve the basic standards on the forest block to reduce the numbers of serious injuries and fatalities. If there are industry participants at any level that cannot or will not meet the standards, they should consider exiting the industry. . .

 

Minister welcomes Forestry Safety Review recommendations:

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomed the recommendations of the Independent Forestry Safety Review and outlined the Government’s initial response.

“The Government supports the findings of this review and acknowledges everyone who played a role in this critically important work. The safety record of the forestry sector is not acceptable and Government agencies are committed to working in partnership with industry to build a safe, sustainable and professional forestry sector,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The Government’s initial response released today sets out how the Review’s findings and recommendations will be addressed, including through the Working Safer reforms already underway.

“The Government supports the establishment of a Forestry Leadership Action Group (FLAG) with industry, worker and government representation. . .

Westland Milk Products proposes new investment share for its farmer shareholders – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative, is proposing a new capital structure that would see its shareholder farmers issued with investment shares annually on top of the existing milk share.

The move follows the Hokitika-based cooperative admitting it didn’t deliver an industry competitive result for shareholders in the 2013/2014 season. Westland reported record revenue of $830 million for the season, up 46 percent on the previous year but the $7.57 per kilogram of milk solids payout was well under Fonterra’s $8.40 per kgMS final payout.

Chief executive Rod Quin said the board signalled a year ago that the capital structure of the cooperative was under review and that had now taken place. The outcome was a proposal to issue investment shares that reflect the value of retentions to shareholders. . .

 

World’s first NZ Inc. farm in the high tropics, higher than the Remarkables:

Waikato farm development organisation Dairy Solutionz (NZ) Ltd. will open the first ever New Zealand-technology demonstration dairy farm in the high tropics – 2800m above sea level – next month.

After a year of development, Corpoica’s 117ha, 300-cow demonstration dairy farm is milking the first of its herd in the Narino region in the south of Colombia.

At that altitude close to the equator, the weather is very similar to the Waikato, rye grass and clover flourish, says Dairy Solutionz chief executive Derek Fairweather.

The $2m development was funded by the Colombian government and Corpoica, the equivalent to AgResearch in New Zealand. . .

 

Closing looms for Dairy Woman of the Year nominations:

There are just two weeks left to nominate someone for New Zealand’s biggest industry award for women in dairying.

The Dairy Women’s Network’s Dairy Woman of the Year Awards close on 15 November 2014.

Sponsored by Fonterra, the prestigious award includes the chance to attend the 12-month Breakthrough Leaders Programme run by Global Women, worth $25,000.

DWN chief executive Zelda De Villiers said the Dairy Woman of the Year Award celebrates and advances women who are making a difference in the dairy industry, in their dairy businesses and in their communities. . . .

 

Employers Encourage Staff to Enter Dairy Awards:

Encouraging staff to enter the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will assist their progress in the dairy industry.

Richard and Joanna Greaves have always had staff members enter the awards – the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions – and expect two of their staff to enter the 2015 awards.

Entries in the awards are now being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close on November 30. . .

 

Trans-Tasman Partnership to take equestrian events to new level:

A new trans-Tasman business partnership between New Zealand and Australia’s top two equestrian event organisers has been announced to take the sporting attractions to a new international level.

Event Pro, the company behind New Zealand’s Farmlands Horse of the Year Show, and Equine Productions, which owns Australia’s most successful equine exhibition Equitana, have established a joint venture.

The companies’ managing directors Kevin Hansen, Event Pro, and Rod Lockwood, Equine Productions, said together the companies planned to grow the equestrian event market across all aspects of the sport with a focus on attracting greater international adventure tourism. . .

 

 


Acker Bilk 28.1.29 – 2.11.14

November 3, 2014

Clarinettist Acker Bilk, who personified the trad jazz revival of the 1950s and 60s, has died:

His most famous number Stranger on the Shore was the UK’s biggest selling single of 1962 and made him an international star.

Born Bernard Stanley Bilk, he changed his name to Acker – Somerset slang for mate – after learning to play the clarinet in the Army. . .

 


NZ 3rd for global prosperity

November 3, 2014

The 2014 Legatum Prosperity Index™ shows New Zealand is the third most prosperous country in the world, ahead of Australia:

New Zealand has reached its highest level of prosperity ever recorded in the Legatum Prosperity Index (which covers the last six years), climbing two places since 2013 when it ranked fifth.

Norway takes first position while the Central African Republic finishes bottom of the rankings.

The results of the 2014 Prosperity Index show New Zealand ranks in the top 20 in all eight categories, and in the world top 10 in five: Personal Freedom, Governance, Social Capital, Education, and Safety & Security. New Zealand is the most prosperous nation in the Asia-Pacific region, and ranks ahead of Canada (5th), Australia (7th), the US (10th) and the UK (13th).

The Index reveals that New Zealand is now the freest country in the world, ranking 1st for Personal Freedom. It is the most tolerant nation in the world, with 92% and 93% reporting the country a good place to live for immigrants and ethnic minorities respectively.

Freedom is matched by strong civil society, with New Zealand’s families among the strongest in the world: 96% can rely on family and friends in times of need, the second highest in the world. New Zealand society is among the most trusting: 62% are trusting of people in general, up from 51% in 2008. New Zealand ranks 2nd in the world for Social Capital in 2014.

New Zealand has shown a particularly strong improvement in the Economy sub-index, rising 12 places since 2012 to rank 15th in the world. This rise is in large part not the result of a fiscal boost from the Christchurch rebuild, but is instead driven by low inflation, increased optimism about the job market (38% up from 28% in 2011), and a longer term improvement in living standards. 87% of New Zealanders now report being satisfied with their living standards, rising from 80% in 2008.

With improving economic performance, thriving civil society, and high levels of freedom, the 2014 Index reveals that New Zealand is strong, prosperous, and free.

The 5 most prosperous countries are:
1. Norway
2. Switzerland
3. New Zealand
4. Denmark
5. Canada

The 5 least prosperous countries are:
1. Central African Republic
2. Chad
3. Congo (DR)
4. Burundi
5. Yemen

Other interesting findings from the report include:
The United States is no longer perceived to be the ‘land of the free’. While the economy has improved as result of the fall in unemployment and an uplift in economic sentiment, the US comes 21st when it comes to personal freedom, trailing Canada (5th), Uruguay (8th) and Costa Rica (15th). The US has also become less tolerant of ethnic minorities and immigrants over the last six years.
Four of the top 10 countries in the Economy sub-index are in Asia. China rises one place this year in the Economy sub-index to 6th. Singapore is 2nd, Japan 7th and South Korea 9th, demonstrating the region’s potential for beneficial trade agreements.
Sierra Leone is the worst performing country on the Health sub-index and Sub-Saharan African countries make up nine of the bottom 10 countries on this sub-index. The health systems in the majority of countries in the region are underdeveloped and ill-prepared to face serious threats to public health, such as the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
Britain is the most prosperous of all the major EU countries, ranking 13th in the world.

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

“Today’s report by the Legatum Institute which shows the UK as the most prosperous major EU country provides further international support for the government’s long term economic plan. Thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken to deliver economic security and control the public finances we have moved three places up the global rankings. It is fantastic to see Britain leading the way for entrepreneurship, personal freedom, health and education.”

James Barty, Senior Adviser at the Legatum Institute, said:
“With prosperity recently stated as a key metric in New Zealand’s continued development, the government should take heart from the country’s impressive performance in this year’s Prosperity Index.

“Despite the challenges of productivity, location, and a small domestic market, New Zealand continues to flourish and has seen the government’s commitment to sound finances reflected in the country’s improved performance in the Economy sub-index, reaching its highest ever position at 15th in the world.

“Whilst a solid economy is important, it is in particular its strong civil society, high levels of freedom, and good governance that sets New Zealand apart, driving its prosperity upward and securing its place in the global top three.” . . .

The full report should be here (though when I looked it was still showing 2013’s results).

Doing better doesn’t mean we don’t have problems.

But this result reflects well on New Zealand, New Zealanders, are society and institutions, including government.

It contrasts with UNICEF’s child poverty report published last week which was critical of New Zealand, but the report doesn’t measure poverty, it measures inequality:

Unicef has released another instalment in their annual look at child poverty in the developed nations. And they’ve managed to pile a grievous error on top of their usual misunderstandings to leave us with a report that we really shouldn’t take seriously: for it’s really not a serious report. . .

Given that we’re simply not talking about poverty here, we’re talking about inequality. We can differ on whether inequality really is one of the defining problems of our time (I don’t agree, just for the record) but I do hope that we can all agree that this is a different problem than poverty. This especially important when we try to do cross country comparisons. When I look out my office window here in the Czech Republic I see a country where the average wage (median) is around £600 a month, the minimum wage is around £300 or so (a month). In my native UK the minimum is perhaps £1,050 and the median is more like £2,000. But if incomes are more unequally distributed in the UK (they are) than they are here in Bohemia then, despite near every child in the UK enjoying a higher income than almost all here, child poverty is described as higher in the UK. . .

We spent most of October in India where it is impossible to ignore inequality and where the problem is not just the gap between rich and poor but how little the poor have.

In New Zealand some people don’t have enough.

This won’t be solved by concentrating on inequality.

It will be solved by addressing the causes of poverty which include benefit dependency and poor education.

 


Whose property is it?

November 3, 2014

The High Court has ruled against a property owner’s appeal for permission to demolish a building he owns:

The eight-storey Harcourts Building on Lambton Quay, which was built in 1928, has been declared earthquake prone and most of its major tenants have left.

Its owner, Mark Dunajtschik, says he cannot afford to strengthen the building, but after one consent hearing and three court cases he has been told he cannot demolish it. . . .

In seeking the right to demolish, Mr Dunajtschik argued earthquake strengthening would cost $12 million, which was not worth it for a building worth just $14.5 million.

However, the court ruled an earthquake-strengthened historic building would be worth $18 to 20 million, changing the economics completely.

Property magnate Sir Bob Jones, who gave evidence to the hearing, thinks the post-strengthing value of the Harcourts Building would be even greater, and accused Mr Dunajtschik of not understanding the market.

Mr Dunajtschik declined to respond to that.

The Environment Court ruling leaves everyone in limbo, saying only that the building cannot be demolished. It does nothing for a building owner who does not earn enough from it to pay for its upkeep.

The ruling also does little for public safety, since the building would not be legally required to be strengthened for at least another decade.

Nor does it do much for a nearby tower block housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which the Environment Court itself says could collide with the Harcourts Building during a major earthquake, and have its lift shaft wrecked.

The owners of Christchurch Cathedral have permission to demolish the building which suffered major earthquake damage but a community group is fighting to have it rebuilt.

A poll  found that 51 per cent of people want the cathedral restored, compared to 43 per cent who want it demolished and replaced with a new building.

About 77 per cent of those polled believe Christchurch people should have a say in the future of the cathedral, while 58 per cent feel a close tie to the building and would be sad to see it demolished. A majority of 68 per cent of those polled believe restoring the cathedral would be a morale boost for the city.

The poll found that 66 per cent of people believe it is possible to restore the cathedral.

More people – 66 per cent – want the cathedral to be restored if there would be no cost to the ratepayer and it would cost about the same as a new building.Thirty per cent would still be in favour of a new cathedral even if there was a cost to ratepayers. . .

The ratepayers don’t own the cathedral and the poll didn’t take into account the safety risks in rebuilding.

In both cases the property rights of the owners are being overlooked.

Whether or not the value of the Wellington building would be higher if it was strengthened, the decision on how and how much money the owner spends should be his unless those telling him he can’t demolish it are willing to contribute to the costs of strengthening it.

The cathedral owners have made the decision to build a new cathedral on the site of the old one on the grounds of safety and cost.

It is their building, their money and their risk and therefore their decision.

Property rights are an important plank of democracy which are eroded if other people can dictate what owners do without compensating them.


Number matters not owner

November 3, 2014

The opposition and the other usual suspects are exercised by the government’s plan to sell some state houses and labelling it an asset sale. But Prime Minister John Key said:

“If at the end of the day, Housing NZ sells a few state houses, well, actually, that’s happened for a long period of time. We often trade our stock.

“So if we sell some individual state houses, it’s not an asset sale. If we sold Housing New Zealand or part of it, it would be, and we have absolutely no plans to sell.”

This is like Landcorp selling some of its farms.

I’d be happy if the SOE sold more, but selling farms isn’t the same as selling the company, just as selling some houses isn’t the same as selling the entity that owns them.

Mr Key said the Government was undertaking a massive redevelopment of state housing stock because many houses were in the wrong place or unsuitable for housing needs.

If the houses are in the wrong place, in poor condition, have too many or two few rooms or are otherwise not fit for purpose it is sensible to sell them.

The issue shouldn’t be who owns which houses but what’s the best way to ensure people who need a house can get it and the government is planning to increase the supply by building more state houses and also making it easier for other providers of social housing to build.

The number of houses available matters far more than who owns them.

 

 

 


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