Word of the day

November 18, 2014

Exsanguine – bloodless; containing no blood; anaemic.


No ringing endorsement

November 18, 2014

It took three rounds before Andrew Little gained 50% of the vote for leader – and then he only just made it:

. . . The first two rounds of counting eliminated Nania Mahuta and David Parker, leaving Grant Robertson against Little. Caucus and party member votes favoured Grant Roberston, but a strong vote from union affiliates decided the vote for Little.

The decision was a close one, said Little, who won in the third round of voting with a total of 50.52%, compared to Grant Robertson’s 49.48%. . .

That isn’t a ringing endorsement and Andrew Geddis calls it the worst result ever:

The only thing worse than electing the wrong person as leader of Labour is electing him by the narrowest of margins, by virtue of the influence of a handful of individuals acting under instructions. 

Labour just made the wrong choice, in the worst possible way. . .

First, Little beat Grant by just over 1% of the weighted votes cast. That’s about as close a margin of victory as you can get, achieved on the third round. So the overall mandate for Little’s leadership is … fragile, at best.

Second, Little lost heavily to Grant in both the Caucus and the Membership vote in every successive round of voting. Little was the first choice to be leader of only four of his colleagues (assuming he voted for himself, that is). Only 14 of 32 backed him as leader over Grant by their third choice – meaning 18 of 32 think Grant is a better person to lead them. And in respect of the membership vote, Little was consistently 10% behind Grant at each stage of the vote. . .

The Herald gives the break-down on the voting:

 

Last time members inflicted on caucus a leader the majority didn’t support.

This time the unions, who had 20% of the vote, have inflicted on caucus and the party, a candidate the majority didn’t want.

Unions have money but Act and the Conservative Party are good examples of how that is not enough without members.

Little hasn’t managed to win a seat and was the last Labour MP in to parliament on his party’s list and the union support that gave him the leadership will make many centrist voters wary.

But before he can have any chance of wooing voters, he’s got the big job of wooing his caucus and members.


Fourth in four

November 18, 2014

Radio New Zealand has just announced that Andrew Little is Labour’s new leader.

He is the fourth to hold this position in four years  and the fifth since Labour lost power in 2008.

He has several challenges ahead of him.

They include uniting the caucus and the various factions in the party; increasing and rejuvenating the membership; rebuilding the party’s finances; leading an effective Opposition; and developing policy that will attract voters.

Given he was one of four contenders, none of whom appeared to have overwhelming support, his first challenge will be to convince the party, and the public, that he is capable of all that.


Rural round-up

November 18, 2014

Aussies eye fairer fight with NZ dairying  – Matthew Cranston & Tim Binsted:

As an exporter of 40,000 litres of milk to China a year, Lemontree Dairy has had to wait 11 years for the same treatment in China as New Zealand dairies.

“We have been fighting with one hand behind our back for years now with New Zealand but with this free trade agreement being equal to New Zealand will make the fight fairer,” said director James McNamee.

“It’s about time they got it over the line.”

Australia’s free trade agreement with China is set to provide A$630 million in savings from 2016 to 2025 as the tariffs are wound back, according to Australian Dairy Industry Council. . .

Black market for messy mutton  – Tracey Chatterton:

Sheep carcasses are being dumped on Hastings streets as thieves continue to target livestock.

Meat continues to be sold on the black market despite suspects having already been arrested in recent months, Flaxmere community constable Greg Andrew said.

Ratepayers were footing the bill for the mess sheep rustlers were making.

Hastings District Council contractors collected and cleaned up the dumped carcasses and offal at a cost of between $100 and $300 per carcass. . .

Milk price variability – what it means for dairy farm businesses  – Grant Rowan:

It may not appear to be, but the milk price is trending upwards.

It is also becoming more and more volatile, with the past 18 months a good case in point. In May 2013 global Whole Milk Powder (WMP) prices peaked at US$5600/tonne. The average WMP price at Fonterra’s most recent Global Dairy Trade auction was US$2522/tonne.

The question for anyone interested in the health of NZ’s biggest export industry is how are dairy farmers faring?

This edition of Farm Investment Insight explores milk price variability and the tools farmers can use to generate operating profits in times of negative price shocks. . . .

Is Our Food Safety System as Strong as We Think. Private Sector vs Public Sector – Milking on the Moove:

Is our food safety system as robust as we think it is? And are we better served by the public or private sector?

Last week I blogged about my issues getting the mobile cowshed evaluated by inspectors.

The way the food safety system works, is the government agency via The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) set the food standards. When a company sets up a food business, the verification services are provided by the private sector.

In New Zealand we have AsureQuality, which is a state owned enterprise, but it operates as a for profit business. There seems to be only two other providers, Eurofins & SGS in NZ who can offer dairy evaluation services. . .

Cut fees for Ag degrees:

GETTING YOUNG people into agribusiness is critical for New Zealand’s future, says ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie.

 He told the recent Zespri conference that he is concerned to see the right people enter the agri sector in the numbers required. For example, the kiwifruit industry will soon be producing 30 million more trays of product and will need more people to cope with that trend.

Bagrie is convinced that most young people do not understand the long term future they could enjoy in some primary industries. . .

$18mln payday for Rural Women NZ in sale to Green Cross Health – Jonathan Underhill:

Green Cross Health has agreed to pay around $18 million for Access Homehealth, a not-for-profit home healthcare services company owned by a grass-roots charitable organisation, Rural Women New Zealand, which will gain representation on the Green Cross board as part of the deal.

The purchase will add to earnings immediately, said Green Cross, formerly known as PharmacyBrands and the owner of the Life Pharmacy and Unichem pharmacy chains. Access has annual sales of about $85 million and employs about 4,000 people, the Auckland-based company said.

The purchase price, which includes assumed debt, will be funded from existing cash and bank funding, Green Cross said. . .

 Grow your own with a hand from Ballance science:

With cashflows tight on dairy farms, pasture comes out on top as the cheapest feed source and getting the best grass for the least cost can be achieved with a hand from science.

Ballance Science Manager, Aaron Stafford says the “grow your own” approach of using nitrogen fertiliser to boost pasture growth provides the most cost-effective supplementary feed, but with cash-strapped farmers working within very tight budgets, they want to be confident of a good pasture response to money spent on nitrogen.

“There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a poor or variable pasture response nitrogen fertiliser to boost feed availability. We can help farmers get the best results by enabling them to tailor application rates to areas which are likely to produce the highest pasture response.” . . .


Where there’s a gap . . .

November 18, 2014

Last week news of Air New Zealand’s decision to pull out of some smaller domestic routes was met with the usual emotional response.

But already Sounds Air is looking at  flying some routes Air New Zealand will ditch and Tauranga-based Sunair Aviation is investigating starting flights to Kaitaia and Whakatane.

These airlines are only at the investigation stage but it shows where one business leaves a gap in the market, there can be an opportunity for another to fill it.


November 18 in history

November 18, 2014

326 – Old St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated.

1105 – Maginulf elected the Antipope Sylvester the IV.

1210 – Pope Innocent III excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV.

1302 – Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam (One Faith).

1307 – William Tell shot an apple off of his son’s head.

1421 – A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike broke, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people.

1477 – William Caxton produced Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres, the first book printed on a printing press in England.

1493 – Christopher Columbus first sighted Puerto Rico.

1626 – St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated.

1686 – Charles Francois Felix operated on King Louis XIV’s anal fistula after practicing the surgery on several peasants.

1730 – Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, was granted a royal pardon and released from confinement.

1785 David Wilkie, British artist, was born (d. 1841).

1793 – The Louvre was officially opened.

1803 – The Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

1809 – In a naval action during the Napoleonic Wars, French frigates defeated British East Indiamen in the Bay of Bengal.
1836 Sir William S. Gilbert, British dramatist, was born (d. 1911).
1861 – Dorothy Dix, American journalist, was born (d. 1951).

1863 – King Christian IX of Denmark decided to sign the November constitution that declared Schleswig to be part of Denmark.

1865 – Mark Twain’s story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was published in the New York Saturday Press.

1874 – En route to Auckland with immigrants, the Cospatrick caught fire and sank off South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Cospatrick fire kills 470

1883 – American and Canadian railroads instituted five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.

1903 – The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

1904 – General Esteban Huertas step down after the government of Panama fears he wants to stage a coup.

1905 – Prince Carl of Denmark became King Haakon VII of Norway.

1909 – Two United States warships were sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) were executed by order of José Santos Zelaya.

1916 – World War I: First Battle of the Somme ended– British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig called off the battle.

1918 – Latvia declared its independence from Russia.

1926 – George Bernard Shaw refused to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”

1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

1929 – 1929 Grand Banks earthquake: a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake, centered on Grand Banks, broke 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggered a tsunami that destroyed many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula.

1930 – Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai, a Buddhist association later renamed Soka Gakkai, was founded by Japanese educators Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda.

1938 – Trade union members elected John L. Lewis as the first president of the Congress of Industrial Organisations.

1939 Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer, was born.

1940 – World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met to discuss Benito Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece.

1940 – New York City’s Mad Bomber placed his first bomb at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison.

1942 – Susan Sullivan, American actress, was born.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Berlin: 440 Royal Air Force planes bombed Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lost nine aircraft and 53 air crew.

1947 – The Ballantyne’s Department Store fire in Christchurch killed 41.

1949 – The Iva Valley Shootin after the coal miners of Enugu, Nigeria struck over withheld wages; 21 miners were shot dead and 51 wounded by police under the supervision of the British colonial administration of Nigeria.

1961 – United States President John F. Kennedy sent 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.

1963 – The first push-button telephone went into service.

1967 – The United Kingdom government devalued the Pound sterling from $2.80 to £2.40.

1970 – U.S. President Richard Nixon asked the U.S. Congress for $155 million USD in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government.

1978 – Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple cult to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them in Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan was murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.

1983 Jon Johansen, Norwegian software developer, was born.

1987 – Iran-Contra Affair: The U.S. Congress issued its final report on the Iran-Contra Affair.

1987 – King’s Cross fire: 31 people died in a fire at the city’s busiest underground station at King’s Cross St Pancras.

1988 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law allowing the death penalty for drug traffickers.

1991 – Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.

1991 – The Croatian city of Vukovar capitulates to the besieging Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.

1993 – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was ratified by the USA House of Representatives.

1993 – In South Africa 21 political parties approved a new constitution.

1999 – In College Station, Texas, 12 were killed and 27 injured at Texas A&M University when the 59-foot-tall (18 m) Aggie Bonfire, under construction for the annual football game against the University of Texas, collapsed at 2:42am.

2002 – Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrived in Iraq.

2003 – In the United Kingdom, the Local Government Act 2003, repealing controversial anti-gay amendment Section 28, became effective.

2003 – In a 50-page, 4–3 decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.”

2004 – The Clinton Presidential Centre was opened in Little Rock, Arkansas, containing 2 million photographs and 80 million documents.

2012  – Nintendo released the Wii U.

2013 – NASA launched the MAVEN probe to Mars.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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