Word of the day

November 12, 2014

Tocsin – alarm bell or ringing of it; a warning signal.


Rural round-up

November 12, 2014

The restructuring of Silver Fern Farms – Keith Woodford:

During 2014, I have written several times about the challenges of restructuring the meat industry. I have described the period we have been going through as akin the phony war as all sides prepared for battle, but everyone waiting for someone else to make the first move. Now, within the last ten days, we are seeing the first signs of action.

The key announcement, easy to miss within a wide-ranging media release covering multiple topics, is that Silver Fern Farms is restructuring into species specific business units. This contrasts a decision reported in the 2013 Annual Report that Silver Fern Farms had re-organised its sales on a geographical rather than species basis.

Why the change? Well, there is only one logical reason. The move will allow the overall business to be split into separate sheep, cattle and deer businesses. Each of these has potential to be of interest to buyers who could not contemplate the enormity of buying the whole business.

To understand what is happening, some background is necessary. . .

Food safety agreement signed with Indonesia:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has today welcomed the signing of a Food Safety Arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia.

“Signing of the Food Safety Arrangement demonstrates the commitment of New Zealand and Indonesia to further develop our bilateral relationship,” says Mrs Goodhew, who met with Indonesian delegates earlier today.

“The areas of cooperation range from food safety risk assessments through to formal post graduate education programmes in food safety and technology.”  . .

CRV Ambreed consultant sells 70,000 semen straws this season:

CRV Ambreed is celebrating the success of its long serving sales representative in central-northern Southland, who has just sold her 70,000th semen straw of the season for the herd management company.

Irene Saul has worked for CRV Ambreed for nine and a half years and has consistently performed highly in the role. This season however is a personal best and an achievement that any sales consultant in New Zealand’s competitive dairy genetics industry would respect and acknowledge her for.

“It’s all about service,” said Mrs Saul. . .

 Changes afoot in Japanese rice farming –  Allan Barber:

I picked up quite by accident an article in today’s (20 October) The Star, a Malaysian English language newspaper, which described significant changes in Japan’s rice farming habits. Under the headline ‘Japan rice farmers rotting from inside’, the AFP article describes how many rice farmers are retiring with few interested in replacing them.

There is a photo of Shuichi Yokota, aged 38, checking growth conditions with a smartphone in his rice field 70 km from Tokyo. The article describes how he, at half the age of the average grower, flies on cutting edge technology to cultivate vast Padi fields which are many times larger than most of the country’s rice plots.

His farm in Ryugasaki is 112 ha, having expanded five fold in 15 years, simply, he says, because retiring farmers have asked him to cultivate their farms on their behalf, not wanting to sell the land, but having nobody who wants to buy it. While most rice farmers get along on centuries old methods, Yokota and his colleagues share information and data such as temperature and water levels, monitored by sensors installed in each paddy, on their smartphones. . .

Paddock warm-ups grow healthy hearty staff:

Watched by crisp lettuce and the swirling morning mist LeaderBrand harvesting staff have a new way of starting work – a paddock warm-up preparing their bodies for the day ahead.

The ten to15 minute set of exercises and stretches increases blood flow to the working muscles and gives the heart advance notice there’s about to be an increase in activity. Crew members gently start to move major muscle groups and lightly stretch tendons and nerves.

“It’s about looking after our staff” says Lettuce Crop Manager Andrew Rosso who oversees harvest crews picking five days a week year round. “The team is working hard with plenty of lifting and bending all day, so the exercises are a proactive approach for keeping our staff injury free.” . . .

Enter Dairy Awards to Progress Career:

With just over two weeks to go until entries close in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, organisers encourage those dairy farmers who are keen to progress their career in the industry to enter.

National convenor Chris Keeping says 321 entries have been received to date in the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

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

Mrs Keeping says the 321 entrants are all eligible for the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw, giving them the chance to win one of six iPad and iPod bundles worth $2100. Two bundles will be drawn from the early entrants in each competition, so long as they progress through competition judging. The entry draw closed last night. . .

 

 


WWI: changing the fabric of our nation

November 12, 2014

Statistics NZ has produced an infographic commemorating Armistice Day :

Statistics Minister Craig Foss said:.

“The First World War was a significant event in New Zealand’s history — it helped define us as a nation and it continues to have a lasting impact,” Mr Foss says.

“I am proud to be able to tell the story of this important event through statistics.”

The First World War – Changing the Fabric of our Nation infographic has been developed by Statistics New Zealand in partnership with the WW100 Programme Office.

“Communities, towns and cities rallied to the call for ‘King and Country’ in 1914. Just over 100,000 New Zealand troops served overseas from a population of barely one million,” Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says.

“The WW100 centenary honours the sacrifice of those who fought and will also tell the story of those who remained at home.”

The infographic uses historical census data to highlight key events prior, during and just after the war.

 The infographic is too wide for the post, you can see it all here.

We developed the First World War – Changing the fabric of our nation infographic in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage WW100 Programme Office, and with valuable assistance from the New Zealand Defence Force, to mark the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2018. The First World War was one of the most significant events of the 20th century and we are proud to commemorate this important event through the statistics we’ve been gathering about New Zealand for over 100 years.

The infographic aims to present key information about the war and its impact on New Zealand. With the limited space available on an infographic, depicting all factual information relevant to this significant historical event is difficult.

We developed this infographic for any organisation or group to use in their commemoration activities and events. We are happy to share relevant files with these groups for republication.

 

Image, First World War – Changing the fabric of our nation, WW100 infographic.

The WW100 programme and other resources are available at WW100.govt.nz


Air NZ: fewer flights, more seats

November 12, 2014

Air New Zealand has announced changes to its provincial routes.

It is stopping services to three smaller airports but introducing bigger planes with more seats to others:

Christopher Luxon chief executive of Air New Zealand has told customers the national carrier will stop service on seven of its domestic routes because of the cost of maintaining the regional fleet, while flagging a $300 million investment in new aircraft.

The airline will no longer operate out of the Kaitaia, Whakatane or Westport airports, as the cost of maintaining its 19-seat aircraft fleet has cost more than $1 million a month over the past two years, the Auckland-based airline told its airpoints customers in an email. Still, it had plans to boost capacity to other regional airports buying 13 aircraft for $300 million.

The abandoned routes between Auckland to Kaitaia and Whakatane, Wellington to Whangarei, Taupo and Westport, and the Palmerston North to Nelson service will end in April next year, while the Auckland to Hamilton service ending in February 2016.

“We’ve been carrying these losses while working with many regional stakeholders to improve the viability of these services, but despite best efforts, some routes are simply not sustainable,” Luxon said in the email. “In addition route withrawals we will be progressively winding down our 19-seat fleet and moving the remaining destinations to larger 50-seat aircraft requiring an investment of $300 million in 13 new and more efficient regional aircraft.” . . .

This has understandably drawn protests from the towns affected but how bad will it be?

Westport will be hardest hit with a drive of a couple of hours to the nearest airport – Hokitika.

The other two have airports within an hour or so and many people will already have trips of that long to their nearest airport, including many Aucklanders.

Oamaru, our nearest town,  had a daily air service until the 1980s. The District Council got them reinstated with a flight to Christchurch early in the morning and a return flight early evening. this allowed people to connect with other flights further north, do what they needed to do and be home on the same day.

We used the service a few times but then the timetable changed so it was no longer possible to go and come on the same day. Patronage dropped and the flights were canned.

Someone else tried flights again last year but they were expensive and not enough people used them.

Our nearest airport with routine flights  is Timaru, about an hour and a half away, Dunedin is a couple of hours south, Queenstown is about three hours inland and it takes about three and a half hours to get to Christchurch.

We usually choose that longer drive to Christchurch because there are more options and the flights are generally cheaper.

It would be convenient to have a viable option closer, but what would it cost and who would pay.

The choices are the people who use the services, subsidies by passengers on other routes or the company and its shareholders.

Air New Zealand has been criticised for cutting the flights when it made a $262 million profit last year.

But how many new planes or improvements in technology would that buy?

We need only look across the Tasman to see Qantas struggling.

Air New Zealand routinely does well in airline awards and it is profitable.

It wouldn’t have made the decision to cull uneconomic routes lightly and I understand why people who will lose their service aren’t happy.

But no handy airport is the price we pay for living where we do.

We shouldn’t expect other passengers, the company or shareholders to subsidise our choice but we should be open to the opportunity cuts by Air New Zealand could provide for other airlines.


November 12 in history

November 12, 2014

764 – Tibetan troops occupied Chang’an, the capital of the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

1028 – Future Byzantine empress Zoe married Romanus Argyrus.

1439 – Plymouth, became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

1555 – The English Parliament re-established Catholicism.

1651 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexican mystic and author, was born  (d. 1695).

1729 Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French explorer, was born (d. 1811).

1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, was guillotined.

1840 Auguste Rodin, French sculptor, was born (d. 1917).

1847 – Sir James Young Simpson, a British physician, was the first to use chloroform as an anaesthetic.

1866 Sun Yat-sen, the 1st President of the Republic of China was born  (d. 1925).

1892 – William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first professional American football player on record.

1893 – The treaty of the Durand Line was signed between present day Pakistan and Afghanistan.

1905 – Norway held a referendum in favour of monarchy over republic.

1912 Striking worker Fred Evans was fatally injured in a clash with police and strikebreakers during the bitter six-month-long dispute at the goldmining town of Waihi.

Striker fatally wounded at Waihi

1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men were found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

1918 – Austria became a republic.

1920 – Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes signed the Treaty of Rapallo.

1927 – Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.

1929 Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), was born  (d. 1982).

1933 – Hugh Gray took the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster.

1934 Charles Manson, American cult leader, was born

1936 – The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opened to traffic.

1938 – Hermann Göring proposed plans to make Madagascar the “Jewish homeland”.

1941 – World War II: Temperatures around Moscow dropped to -12 ° C and the Soviet Union launcheed ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

1941 – World War II: The Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina was destroyed during the Battle of Sevastopol.

1942 – World War II: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal began.

1943 Bjorn Waldegard, Swedish rally driver, was born.

1944 – World War II: The Royal Air Force launched 29 Avro Lancaster bombers in one of the most successful precision bombing attacks of war and sinks the German battleship Tirpitz, with 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs.

1944 Booker T. Jones, American musician and songwriter (Booker T and the MG’s), was born.

1945 Neil Young, Canadian singer and musician, was born.

1948 – An international war crimes tribunal sentenced seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.

1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completed the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

1962 Naomi Wolf, American author and feminist, was born.

1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai story.

1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempted to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

1970 – The 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history.

1978 – As Bishop of Rome Pope John Paul II took possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter ordered a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.

1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I made its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.

1981 – Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marked the first time a manned spacecraft was launched into space twice.

1982 – Yuri Andropov became the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, succeeding Leonid I. Brezhnev.

1982 – Lech Wałęsa, was released from a Polish prison after eleven months.

1990 – Crown Prince Akihito was formally installed as Emperor Akihito of Japan, becoming the 125th Japanese monarch.

1990 – Tim Berners-Lee published a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

1991 – Dili Massacre, Indonesian forces opened fire on a crowd of student protesters in Dili.

1996 – A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collided in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349. The deadliest mid-air collision to date.

1997 – Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

1998 – Vice President Al Gore signed the Kyoto Protocol.

1998 – Daimler-Benz completed a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler.

1999 – The Düzce earthquake struck Turkey with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale.

2001 – American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashed minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.

2001 – Taliban forces abandoned Kabul, Afghanistan, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.

2003 – Iraq war: In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war, were killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.

2003 – Shanghai Transrapid set a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems.

2006 – The region of South Ossetia held a referendum on independence from Georgia.

2011 – Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Prime Minister of Italy due, in large part, to the European sovereign debt crisis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikiepdia


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