Word of the day

December 4, 2014

Proot – command to move faster given to donkey or mule.


Rural round-up

December 4, 2014

Another industry signs up for biosecurity partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed Pipfruit New Zealand onboard as the third industry to join the Government’s biosecurity partnership.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by Pipfruit New Zealand today.

“This means that apple and pear growers and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can work closely together and make joint decisions on readiness and response to manage mutual high priority biosecurity pests,” says Mr Guy. . .

More support for Otago farmers to improve water quality:

Dairy farmers in Otago are receiving more support to meet upcoming water quality rules through a series of DairyNZ ‘EnviroReady’ field days being held with the support of Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb.

More than 200 farmers and rural professionals attended four recent field days in both north and south Otago, with the last one being held this week at Elderslie, near Oamaru.

DairyNZ’s sustainability team manager Theresa Wilson says the farmers were given an understanding of new regional environmental rules and regulations presented by Federated Farmers’ policy staff. . .

ANZ to pay $19 million in interest rate swaps case:

The Commerce Commission has reached a $19 million settlement with ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (ANZ) in relation to the marketing, promotion and sale of interest rate swaps to rural customers between 2005 and 2009.

The settlement will see ANZ establish a payment fund of $18.5 million, to be used to make payments to eligible customers (those who registered their complaints with the Commission). The Commission will also receive $500,000 towards its investigation costs, and some monies from the payment fund are able to be distributed to charitable organisations for the assistance of the rural community. . .

Federated Farmers call Commerce Commission ANZ settlement ‘fair and equitable’:

Federated Farmers have described the Commerce Commission settlement with the ANZ Bank over interest rate swaps as ‘a fair and equitable outcome’ for rural customers.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement that the ANZ will pay compensatory payments to customers, who believe they were misled by their interest rate swap contacts, is the best outcome which could be expected.

“While some farmers found interest rate swaps a useful instrument, others felt they were not adequately informed of the risks should the market run against them. The Global Financial Crisis created those unexpected and unfavourable conditions. Federated Farmers wrote to the Commerce Commission asking it to investigate and the outcome today vindicates our stance,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

Rural areas need law reform – Hugh Stringleman:

Regional economies are declining when a means of revitalisation is within reach according to a new study of the potential for mining.

The New Zealand Initiative think tank has published the Poverty of Wealth, subtitled why minerals need to be part of the rural economy.

It sought to answer the conundrum of why resource-rich regions were not tapping into the wealth beneath their feet. . .

Weevil-killing wasp in demand:

Farmers in Southland have been queuing up for supplies of a small parasitic wasp used to fight a serious pest.

Scientists have warned that farms in region could be hit hard by the clover root weevil again this summer – one of the worst pasture pests that attacks and destroys clover.

AgResearch scientist Colin Ferguson said more than 200 farmers had attended workshops in Southland to find out more about the pest and where and how to release the wasps. . .

 20K signs without delay  call:

Rural Women New Zealand says this week’s accident in Canterbury, when a teen was hit crossing the road after getting off a school bus, may have been avoided if the bus had been fitted with flashing 20K signs.

Rural Women New Zealand took part in a trial of new LED signs in Ashburton last year, which included a public education and police enforcement campaign. The trial proved very successful in slowing drivers and Rural Women New Zealand hopes that the signs will be approved for general use on school buses in 2015. . .

Blue Sky Meats acquires Clover Export, adding beef, venison processing – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats, whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform, has agreed to acquire Gore-based Clover Export, adding processing capacity in beef and venison to the range of services it can offer to sheep and bobby calf customers, while attracting new suppliers.

No price was disclosed for the transaction. Chairman Graham Cooney said Clover is about 10-15 percent of the size of Blue Sky in terms of turnover. Blue Sky’s revenue was $95.3 million in its 2014 year. More details may be given in the company’s annual report after its March 31, 2015, balance date.

Clover’s owners include European shareholders and, as part of the deal, Blue Sky has agreed to continue with Clover’s horse meat processing on a toll basis for sale into the European market. Horse meat will be a small ongoing business, amounting to about “a day a month,” Cooney said. . .

Another Success for NZ Farming:

CarboPhos®, a phosphate based fertiliser developed after conducting pot, plot and field trials and construction of a pilot plant in Nelson NZ, has been granted a patent in both New Zealand and Australia.Independently monitored trials have shown it can be applied at half the rate of the NZ mainstream phosphate product, saving time and costs for farmers. Sales continue to grow in New Zealand as farmers begin to understand the need for slower release, soil and biology friendly nutrients, compared with the mainstream fertiliser.

Chris Copplestone, Managing Director of The Growing Group commented “We are extremely proud of being able to offer a solution to farmers who understand the need for traditional nutrients, delivered in a granular form free of the traditional sulphuric acid base”. . .

 

 


Thursday’s quiz

December 4, 2014

1. Who said: We must plant the sea and herd its animals using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about – farming replacing hunting.?

2. Which New Zealand Prime Minister was known as Farmer Bill?

3. It’s ferme in French, fattoria in Italian, granja in Spanish and pāmu in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What are Awassi, Dorper and Ryeland?

5. Do you own gumboots and if so when was the last time you wore them?


Key #1

December 4, 2014

Prime Minister John Key is Trans Tasman’s politician of the year:

This year’s 10th annual Roll Call can reveal John Key as its Politician of the Year. It was a straightforward choice. Key has stood head and shoulders above the rest in the polls, and his party romped home in its third election, the third time in a row it has added extra seats as well.

Key polled highest among the Trans Tasman Editors, contributors and their Capital insiders who make up the panel which compiles Roll Call, and despite signs there may be trouble ahead for Key if he is not careful, 2014 was his year.

Of course winning a fourth term will be dependent as much on the party’s support staff and their management as the Parliamentary team. The same goes for Labour as it battles to rebuild after its shattering defeat.

Roll Call says Key is “still phenomenally popular and if he comes through a third term without serious damage, a fourth could be within his grasp. But he’ll have to be careful.”

Trans Tasman’s Editors note “Key has not only performed strongly at home, he has become an international figure as well, cementing his and NZ’s reputation abroad with his election as chairman of the International Democratic Union.”

“However there are clouds. The fallout from the “Dirty Politics” saga continues. It should have been firmly put to bed in the campaign. And Key’s tendency to “forget,” or “mishear” the question is becoming a worrying feature of the way he involves himself in the Parliamentary and media discourse.”

“He has the respect – almost the love – of the voters, he needs to be careful he does not treat them with contempt. A fourth term does beckon, but the PM’s tendency to be just a bit smug, a bit arrogant, and at times a bit childish could derail it.”

“For now he is a titan, but Labour has a new leader and a new sense of purpose, and the next election is a long way away.”

National’s Front Bench performed exceptionally well in 2014, with just a single Cabinet Minister losing ground. Nikki Kaye fell from 6.5 to 6, after the “bright young thing” nearly lost Auckland Central. Roll Call suggests she must work harder.

Steven Joyce adds half a mark, taking the man most see as John Key’s successor to 8. “He doesn’t drop the ball and handles a raft of senior portfolios with calm confidence. Outside Parliament he was National’s campaign manager and must share some of the credit for its victory.”

Bill English, last year’s Politician of the Year, maintained his score of 9 out of 10. He is still “the safest pair of hands in the cabinet. Cautious, dependable and now mostly steering clear of debating chamber rhetoric.”

After a bad year in 2013, Hekia Parata has battled back to take her score from 5 to 7. “Key believes she’s competent and wasn’t going to hang her out to dry. He’s giving her the benefit of the doubt in delivering on a gutsy vision for the Education sector.”

Murray McCully takes his score from 6.5 to 7.5 after putting together the team which won NZ a seat on the UN Security Council and doing many of the hard yards himself, while Maggie Barry gets kudos for fitting in well to Conservation and being who “some say is the most popular National MP behind Key himself.” Her score jumps from 3 to 5.5.

The Ministers outside Cabinet are more average with Craig Foss, and Jo Goodhew, going down in score, Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith staying the same and just Nicky Wagner boosting her score from 4.5 to 5.

Both support party Ministers, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell boosted their scores. Dunne from 4 to 5 “gets a point for coming through a horrible year with his head/hair up” while Maori Party leader Flavell goes from 6 to 6.5. “We’ll make a call and say he’s going to be an outstanding Minister.”

The dubious honour of low score for National goes to Melissa Lee. “Hard working but faded after a good start.”

Among the thoroughly shattered Labour MPs, there was little to write home about. David Cunliffe’s score falls from 7.5-6 after the election defeat. But “history may judge him more kindly than last week’s headlines. Is he NZ’s Kevin Rudd?”

Andrew Little’s star starts to shine though. His score jumps from 4.5 to 7. “No-one is going to die wondering what Little thinks. He’s a tough talking union man from way back who isn’t going to compromise his beliefs.”

Labour’s low scorer is Rino Tirikatene who stays on just 2.5 out of 10. “Do still waters run deep or are they just still? Has had time to find his feet and still no impact.”

For the Greens co-leader Russel Norman is the standout, holding his score on 7 out of 10. “After John Key Norman works the media better than any other party leader… If the Greens had gone into coalition with Labour he would have been hard to handle.”

And of course the old war horse Winston Peters is still there, blowing a bit harder than usual. He boosts his score from 7 to 7.5. “Does he have the will and the stamina for another three years on the opposition benches and a campaign in 2017?”

This year for the first time Roll Call also looks at the impact those MPs who left Parliament at the election had, and it is here we find this year’s low scorers Claudette Hauiti and John Banks, both on 1 out of 10.

As for the numbers:

Of National’s 60 MPs, 30 improved their score on last year, 7 went down, and 10 stayed the same. There were 15 new MPs who were not ranked.

Of Labour’s 32, 12 went up, 8 went down, 5 remained on the same score as last year and 7 were unable to be ranked.

ACT’s single MP was unable to be ranked. Of the Maori party’s 2 MPs 1 went up, and the other was unable to be ranked, while United Future’s single MP improved his score.

The Greens had 3 of their 14 MPs improve their score, 4 went down while 6 remained the same, one was unable to be ranked.

For NZ First 2 MPs improved their scores, 1 went down and 2 remained the same. 6 were unable to be ranked.

Of the National MPs able to be rated this year, 32 had a score of 5 or higher, while 13 scored below 5, while for Labour it had 16 of its MPs rated 5 or above, while 9 scored below 5.

The 2014 roll call is here.

 

 


NZ 2nd least corrupt

December 4, 2014

New Zealand has cemented its global reputation for being among the least corrupt countries:

New Zealand remains one of the top countries in the world for low levels of perceived corruption, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index released today ranked New Zealand second out of 175 countries. The index scores and ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be on a scale of zero to 100.

New Zealand retained last year’s score of 91, taking out second place to Denmark which moved up one point to 92.

Ms Adams says New Zealand’s high ranking reflects the Government and the public sector’s strong commitment to protecting New Zealanders’ rights and freedoms.

“New Zealand is perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. We’ve got a strong track record of open and transparent government and our public sector is internationally renowned for low levels of corruption,” says Ms Adams.

“The Government is continually working to prevent and address the risk of corruption. Our robust legal frameworks encourage transparency, criminalise bribery and corruption, and facilitate collaboration with other countries to tackle such practices.

“I note Transparency International have noted a concern that we have not ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. However, the legislation to enable this has passed its first reading and is currently before a select committee for consideration.”

“This year we’ve progressed a range of initiatives to strengthen anti-corruption measures and further enhance transparency,” says Ms Adams.

Anti-corruption initiatives progressed by the Government this year include:

  • introducing  the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill to strengthen New Zealand’s bribery and corruption offences
  • formally joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which is a multilateral initiative aimed at promoting open and transparent government and fighting corruption
  • enacting the Companies Amendment Act 2014 and the Limited Partnerships Amendment Act 2014 to prevent overseas criminals from using  New Zealand’s companies registration systems to create shell companies
  • implementing an information sharing agreement between Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Police
  • reviewing New Zealand’s extradition and mutual legal assistance laws
  • the Serious Fraud Office’s collaboration with Transparency International NZ and BusinessNZ to create a free online anti-corruption training course
  • introducing the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill to combat match-fixing risks during the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 (football) World Cup.

Transparency International says corruption is threatening economic growth.

Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it paints an alarming picture. Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Corruption is a problem for all countries. A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Countries at the top of the index also need to act. Leading financial centres in the EU and US need to join with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it. The G20 needs to prove its global leadership role and prevent money laundering and stop secret companies from masking corruption.

New Zealand has topped the index for several years.

Our second place is due to Denmark’s improvement not a reduction in our own performance but it is not something about which we can be complacent.


December 4 in history

December 4, 2014

306 – Martyrdom of Saint Barbara.

771 – Austrasian King Carloman died, leaving his brother Charlemagne King of the complete Frankish Kingdom.

1110 – First Crusade: The Crusaders sacked Sidon.

1259 – Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agreed to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounced his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.

1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent was held (it opened on December 13, 1545).

1619 – 38 colonists from Berkeley Parish in England disembarked in Virginia and gave thanks to God (this is considered by many to be the first Thanksgiving in the Americas).

1676 –  Battle of Lund: A Danish army under the command of King Christian V of Denmark engaged the Swedish army commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt.

1745  Charles Edward Stuart’s army reached Derby, its furthest point during the second Jacobite rising.

1791 The first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, was published.

1795  Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer and historian, was born (d. 1881) .

1835  Samuel Butler, English writer, was born (d. 1902).

1867 – Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founded the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (better known today as the Grange).

1872 The crewless American ship Mary Celeste was found by the British brig Dei Gratia (the ship had been abandoned for 9 days but was only slightly damaged).

1881 The first edition of the Los Angeles Times was published.

1892  Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain, was born (d. 1975).

1918  U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sailed for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.

1930 Ronnie Corbett, Scottish actor, was born.

1939 –  HMS Nelson was struck by a mine (laid by U-31) off the Scottish coast.

1942 – In Warsaw, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz set up the Żegota organization.

1942 – Carlson’s patrol during the Guadalcanal Campaign ended.

1943 – World War II: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaimed a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.

1943 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt closed down the Works Progress Administration, because of the high levels of wartime employment in the United States.

1945 – By a vote of 65 to 7, the United States Senate approved United States participation in the United Nations

1949 Pamela Stephenson, New Zealand-born actress, was born.

1952 Great Smog of 1952: A cold fog descended upon London, combining with air pollution and killing at least 12,000 in the following months.

1954 The first Burger King opened in Miami, Florida.

1958 – Dahomey (present-day Benin) became a self-governing country within the French Community.

1966 – The state monopoly on commercial radio broadcasting was challenged by the pirate station Radio Hauraki’s first scheduled transmission from the vessel Tiri in the Colville Channel.

Radio Hauraki rules the waves

1971 The Montreux Casino was set ablaze by someone wielding a flare gun during a Frank Zappa concert; the incident would be noted in the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water“.

1971 – McGurk’s Bar bombing: An Ulster Volunteer Force bomb kills 15 civilians and wounds 17 in Belfast.

1977 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 is hijacked and crashed in Tanjong Kupang, Johor, killing 100.

1978  Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco, California’s first female mayor.

1980   Led Zeppelin officially disbanded following the death of drummer John Bonham on September 25th.

1991 –  Journalist Terry A. Anderson was released after 7 years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut.

1991 Captain Mark Pyle piloted Clipper Goodwill, a Pan American World Airways Boeing 727-221ADV, to Miami International Airport ending 64 years of Pan Am operations.

1993 – A truce was concluded between the government of Angola and UNITA rebels.

1998 – The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, was launched.

2005 – Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protested for democracy and call on the Government to allow universal and equal suffrage.

2006 – An adult giant squid was caught on video for the first time by Tsunemi Kubodera near the Ogasawara Islands.

2006 – Six black youths assaulted a white teenager in Jena, Louisiana.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: