Word of the day

November 26, 2014

Pother – commotion or fuss; confused or fidgety flurry of activity; agitated talk or controversy usually over a trivial matter; cloud of smoke or dust that chokes or smothers.


Rural round-up

November 26, 2014

Foreign investment in NZ helps fuel our growth – Andrew McGiven:

Returning from Federated Farmers National Council last week, we discussed the importance of how our provinces can work with the national organisation, as the grass roots part of the organisation. The Federation is focused and built from the member up.

So you, our members, here’s what the big ticket items were on the Federation’s agenda – employment, health and safety, science and innovation and the future or the primary industries.  Something to discuss and think about was the remit put forward by the Taranaki province on overseas investment. They want a comprehensive review of the current overseas investment policy, which is one of those issues that tends to divide views.

Regardless it needs to be discussed and understood where everyone’s coming from. . .

Farming on the roof of the world – Andrea Fox:

Mark Fagan farms in the Forgotten World.

The tourism label for the other-worldly landscape in the North Island’s Waitomo district is top of mind as I creep furtively around hairpin bends on a skinny road that would see one of us reversing for the rest of the morning if two vehicles met and happened to survive the encounter.

Fagan had forgotten to mention that accessing his world an hour inland west of Te Kuiti meant spitting gravel for miles, negotiating rock falls, an ironcast faith in his directions when hope of ever arriving – anywhere, today – was fast fading, or that city cars are out of their depth here. . .

Farmers revive seasonal lamb tradition – Gerald Hutching:

Bluff oysters and whitebait are two traditional delicacies that tempt the tastebuds at different times of the year.

Early season lamb heralding spring used to be celebrated by Kiwis in the same way, but the tradition has fallen by the wayside with the decline of independent butchers and the rise of exports to lucrative overseas markets.

Coastal Spring Lamb is a recent initiative aimed at turning the clock back to reacquaint local consumers with the joys of eating the first lamb of the season. . .

AWDT produces 50th graduate:  

 FOURTEEN WOMEN completed the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) Escalator programme last week, bringing its total number of graduates to 53 since it began in 2010

 The 10-month programme came about after AWDT’s research into the role of New Zealand women in agriculture found low participation rates at leadership and governance levels. In an effort to answer this problem, the programme aims to develop women’s skills and confidence to govern and lead agricultural organisations and communities. . .

This year’s programme attracted women from Bay of Plenty to Southland who are involved in the dairy, honey, sheep and beef, animal health, agri-business and banking sectors.

Korean demand spiking early – Joanna Grigg:

Before the launch of the velvet cutting season talk among velvet traders was that prices may be up.
Velvet buyer Graeme Hawker of Hawker Deer buys velvet from growers across the South Island.
He said speculation on stronger prices for farmers has become a reality with initial buyers quoting $125-$130/kg for the traditional Korean mix. This is 15% up on the previous season’s initial price of $110/kg which, in turn, was 5% up on the year before.  . .  

Chance to represent NZ at Global Youth Ag-Summit:

New Zealand ideas wanted for feeding the world.

Chance to represent NZ at Global Youth Ag-Summit

Canberra to host

Feeding the world main topic

Calling New Zealand youth with a passion for agriculture – we want your ideas on how to feed a hungry planet…and we want them now!

That’s the message from Bayer New Zealand, which is seeking four youth delegates to represent New Zealand at the Global Youth Ag-Summit, to be held in Canberra, Australia, August 2015.

Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 as of 24 August 2015. . .


Westland drops 40c from predicted payout

November 26, 2014

A continuing global oversupply of dairy products and the impact of a relatively high New Zealand dollar have prompted Westland Milk Products to reduce its predicted pay-out for this season by 40 cents per kilo of milk solids.

Chairman Matt O’Regan advised shareholders yesterday that Westland’s predicted pay-out was now at $5 to $5.40 per kgMS. Advance payments to shareholders will also be adjusted to reflect the lower dairy prices and, therefore, the lower cash flows into the business.

“This will be unwelcome news for shareholders, but not unexpected,” O’Regan says. “At our October shareholder meetings we warned suppliers that the high level of in-market stocks held by dairy customers was producing downward pressure on prices, especially in the area of bulk milk powders where the majority of our business is still conducted. Farmers will have also noted that bank and industry commentators have widely predicted this continued downward pressure on pay-outs throughout the industry.”

O’Regan said that the inventory position for many of New Zealand’s dairy customers is a reflection of some overstocking earlier in the year following supply concerns due to drought, food safety and regulatory changes.

“These concerns are not significant at present and in-market inventory is slowly being consumed. But customers are generally comfortable with their inventory positions into the first quarter 2015, so we do not expect a sudden uplift in demand.

“The lesson from this,” O’Regan noted, “is that Westland’s drive to produce more value added products – such as our move into base infant formula powders and our recent announcement of an investment in a UHT milk plant – is the right direction to take so we are less reliant on the highly volatile commodity markets in future.”

O’Regan said the pay-out will undoubtedly be a challenge for many farmers and budgets will be tight. The company had systems and processes in place to offer every support it can to shareholders who might struggle financially, he said.

Farmers and sharemilkers who were sensible with last seasons’s record high payout will weather the lower payout this season.

Those in their first season will find it harder but the medium to long-term outlook is still good.

In the shorter term businesses that service and supply farmers will find business slows down as costs are cut to match the expected drop in income.

 


Who leaked and why?

November 26, 2014

The Inspector General of the SIS, Cheryl Gwyn’s, report into the release of information to Cameron Slater found:

The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“These errors resulted in misplaced criticism of the then Leader of the Opposition, Hon Phil Goff MP. Mr Goff is owed a formal apology by the Service,” said Ms Gwyn.

 Ms Gwyn found no evidence of political partisanship by the NZSIS but did find that the NZSIS failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality.

Having released inaccurate information that was predictably misinterpreted, the then Director of the Service had a responsibility to take positive steps to correct the interpretation. He failed to do so,” said Ms Gwyn.

Ms Gwyn said she had also investigated allegations, made before and during the course of the inquiry, that NZSIS officers had acted in collusion with Mr Slater or under direction from the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s Office. Ms Gwyn said that these allegations were particularly serious and that she had made full use of her statutory powers to investigate them.

From that thorough investigation, I do not believe that any NZSIS staff member contacted Mr Slater to instigate his OIA request. Nor have I found any collusion or direction between the NZSIS and the Prime Minister or his Office.”

Ms Gwyn went to on comment that she had, however, established that a staff member of the Prime Minister’s office had provided unclassified NZSIS information to Mr Slater. However, that information was understood by the Prime Minister’s Office to have been provided for media purposes and there was no breach of confidence towards NZSIS in that disclosure.

That disclosure did not breach any confidentiality or security obligations owed by those staff to the NZSIS. No classified information was disclosed to Mr Slater.” Said Ms Gwyn. . .

That doesn’t reflect well on the SIS but it did not find a smoking gun in the hand of the PM the opposition was hoping it to.

So who leaked the report and why?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No. In fact, the report does not show that my office was deeply involved. There were a series of claims made and not a single one of them has stacked up. That is why Phil Goff had to leak the report yesterday, because he knew it would not stand up on its own merits. . .

Goff wanted maximum publicity and to inflict maximum damage on the PM and the only way he could do that was selectively leaking the bits of the report which fitted his narrative.

The full report is here.

It raises serious questions about the behaviour of  the SIS at the time.

It will exercise political tragics and cofirm existing biases.

It doesn’t, as Goff and the opposition hoped, damn the PM both of whom should be reassured that the SIS has learned from mistakes made.

 


November 26 in history

November 26, 2014

43 BC – The Second Triumvirate alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (“Octavian”, later “Caesar Augustus”), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony was formed.

783 – The Asturian queen Adosinda was put up in a monastery to prevent her kin from retaking the throne from Mauregatus.

1476 – Vlad III Dracula defeated Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V Bathory and becomes the ruler of Wallachia for the third time.

1731 William Cowper, English poet, was born (d. 1800).

1778 –  Captain James Cook became the first European to visit Maui.

1789 – A national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States.

1805 – Official opening of Thomas Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

1842 – The University of Notre Dame was founded.

1863 – American Civil War: Mine Run – Union forces under General George Meade positioned against troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

1865 – Battle of Papudo: The Spanish navy engaged a combined Peruvian-Chilean fleet north of Valparaiso, Chile.

1876  Willis Carrier, American engineer and inventor (air conditioning), was born  (d. 1950).

1895 Bill Wilson, American co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1971).

1918 – The Podgorica Assembly voted for “union of the people”, declaring assimilation into the Kingdom of Serbia.

1922 – Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.

1922 Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, was born (d. 2000).

1922 – Toll of the Sea debuted as the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor (The Gulf Between was the first film to do so but it was not widely distributed).

1923  Pat Phoenix, English actress, was born.

1924 – George Segal, American Pop Sculptor, was born (d. 2000).

1939 – Shelling of Mainila: The Soviet Army orchestrated the incident which was used to justify the start of the Winter War with Finland four days later.

1939 –  Tina Turner, American singer and actress, was born (d. 1986).

1942 – World War II: Yugoslav Partisans convened the first meeting of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia.

1944 – World War II: A German V-2 rocket hit a Woolworth’s shop on New Cross High Street killing 168 shoppers.

1944 – World War II: Germany began V-1 and V-2 attacks on Antwerp.

1949 – The Indian Constituent Assembly adopted India’s constitution presented by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

1950 – Korean War: Troops from China launch a massive counterattacked against South Korean and United Nations forces (Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River and Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.

1960 – The National Party, led by Keith Holyoake, defeated Walter Nash’s one-term Labour government. Holyoake went on to become the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister.

'Kiwi Keith' begins 12-year reign as PM

1965 – In the Hammaguir launch facility in the Sahara Desert, France launched a Diamant-A rocket with its first satellite, Asterix-1 on board, becoming the third country to enter outer space.

1968 – Vietnam War: United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescued an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire and was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

1970 – In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain fell in a minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

1977 – ‘Vrillon’, claiming to be the representative of the ‘Ashtar Galactic Command’, took over Britain’s Southern Television for six minutes.

1983 – Brink’s-MAT robbery: In London, 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million were stolen from the Brink’s-MAT vault at Heathrow Airport.

1990 – The Delta II rocket made its maiden flight.

1998 – Tony Blair became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland’s parliament.

2003 – Concorde made its final flight, over Bristol.

2004 – Ruzhou School massacre: a man stabbed and killed eight people and seriously wounded another four in a school dormitory in Ruzhou, China.

2004 – Male Po’ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper) died of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, Hawaii before it could breed, making the species in all probability extinct.

2008 – The first of 10 co-ordinated attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorists were fired.

2011 –  NATO forces in Afghanistan attacked a Pakistani checkpost in a friendly fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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