Word of the day


Pungle  – to make a payment or contribution of money; hand over; pay up; shell out.

Rural round-up


Tasman dam plan put on hold:

Plans to build a dam in the Tasman District are being put on the backburner after a new report recommends that neither of the two proposed funding models for the project should be adopted.

A consultation period, followed by a series of public meetings and hearings has been held in recent weeks, with nearly 800 submissions received on the Waimea Community dam in the Lee Valley.

There has been fierce opposition to the two funding models, which called for 30 percent of the $80 million cost to be met by ratepayers. . .

Fonterra shifts ‘silo’ culture since WPC food scare – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group claims to have made significant progress on the entrenched “silo” mentality it was criticised for in the government’s final report into last year’s whey protein contamination scare.

Stage two of the government inquiry into the WPC80 recall has recommended the Ministry for Primary Industries beef up its ability to manage food safety, including statutory powers to force companies to disclose relevant information that could then be handed over to other affected parties.

Fonterra was caught up in a false food scare last year when it quarantined several batches of WPC amid fears it was contaminated with a potentially dangerous form of the clostridium bacteria, though was ultimately cleared as a false alarm. . .

Profit and food safety ‘top priorities’ – James Small:

Profit and food safety are a “balancing act”, said Chris Lewis, Federated Farmers Waikato president.

Earlier this year, Fonterra was fined $300,000 for an incident, which saw milk-products pulled off shelves when it emerged they were potentially contaminated with Botulism. 

The last of a series of independent reports was released today, and the inquiry, led by Queen’s Counsel Miriam Dean, found a number of errors were made. 

While food-safety protocols were in place, the culture of care around food safety had not been fostered.

“Its an everyday thing for farmers and also for Fonterra,” Lewis said. . .

Infant formula body welcomes inquiry report:

The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) welcomes the final report of the independent inquiry into last year’s whey protein concentrate incident, says Infant Nutrition Council Chief Executive Jan Carey.

INC represents marketers and manufacturers of infant formula.

“We are particularly pleased that the Government will be accepting all of the inquiry’s recommendations. In fact, many were already well advanced ahead of this report.

“If this inquiry has done nothing else it has shown very clearly that New Zealand has food safety standards that are as good, if not better, as any country in the world. . .


Confidence in Lawson’s Dry Hills Prompts Long Term Investors to Purchase Majority Shareholding:

The future of one of Marlborough’s leading wine producers is looking particularly rosy. Strong confidence in the quality and potential of Lawson’s Dry Hills, a pioneer of the Marlborough wine industry, has enticed two of the company’s long-term partners to invest further in the company.

After a 15 year involvement, investors Tim and Pauline Evill have purchased additional shares previously owned by the Lawson family, so as to take a majority interest. Key members of the management team have also shown their backing for the company: Sion Barnsley, General Manager for five years and Business Manager prior to that has increased his shareholding, while Chief Winemaker of eleven years, Marcus Wright and newly appointed Sales and Marketing Manager, Derek Lilley have also invested to become new shareholders. . .

 Airborne National Honey Week Returns in 2015 to Celebrate New Zealand’s Sweetest Natural Resource:

The Airborne National Honey Week is back for a second year in March 2015. Tying in with the end of the New Zealand honey season, it will be a celebration of the country’s sweetest natural resource, with a particular emphasis on the versatility, quality and uniqueness of New Zealand’s honey types.

Among other activities, public tastings around the country will give Kiwis the opportunity to taste the eight main varieties of New Zealand single flower honey types – from Kamahi and Clover to Manuka and Honeydew. Airborne Honey is also launching a nationwide honey challenge, inviting Kiwis to choose and share their favourite via social media. There are prizes on offer for those that share their top honey and use the hashtag: #NZHoneyWeek. Airborne Honey will be giving away a pack of six different premium monofloral honeys every day for two weeks starting onTuesday 17 March.




Derryn Hinch has discovered Oamaru:

YOU KNOW THE place you have chosen to camp  is tranquil, and soul-soothing, and just right, when the biggest noise you have to contend with — as you go to sleep–  is the plaintive cry of the  nearby penguins.

I kid you not. A big colony of penguins lives right here. There are Penguins Crossing caution signs on this small town’s harbourside streets.

I mentioned, at the end of yesterday’s Hinchville Express report, that we had  arrived in a beautiful, small, seaside town  and tipped ‘I just know I am going to enjoy it. At first taste, it could turn out to be my favourite nesting place of the whole trip’.

The town is Oamaru. And my prediction is true. This place is everything I tipped and more. The craziest thing, in this world of instant communications,  is that in 2014 Oamaru is still ‘Om-a-Who?’. . .

The new Spring/Summer edition of the Visit Oamaru  newspaper boasts on Page One: ‘Unspoilt, Unique, Unforgettable’. They could easily have added ‘Unknown’.

I reckon there were decades when this backwater gave other backwaters a bad name.  And yet it cries out to be a major tourist attraction.

(Part of me, knowing I’ll be back, says ‘Don’t write about it, dickhead.  Save it for yourself ).

One bearded artesan told me in the Lazy Cat Café (which has the best fudge anywhere!) that: ‘We weren’t even in the Lonely Planet Guide until the most recent edition. Even then we only got 12 lines, but people are starting to come’.

In those 12 lines, the travel bible described Oamaru as ‘the coolest town in New Zealand’.

It could well be. It rates No.1 so far in the Hinchwick Express instant poll.  Ahead of Dunedin, Wanaka, Invercargill and even Queenstown. . .

The town is still Om-a-Who? to most of the world and that’s not a bad thing.

Locals and visitors can enjoy its charms without the crowds which get in the way of more well known tourist gems.

But in part thanks to Lonely Planet’s endorsement as the coolest town in the country; part word of mouth and social media from people who live or visit; part work by local visitor oriented businesses and part luck by the growing number of FITs (Free Independent Travellers) who stumble upon it, Oamaru is becoming a tourist destination.

It doesn’t set out to rival attractions in the likes of Queenstown but to complement it and it’s working.

It might still be Oam-aWho? to many but it’s the coolest town in New Zealand to Lonely Planet and more and more people who are discovering its charms.

Fonterra payout down to $4.70


Fonterra chair John Wilson’s message to suppliers:

Today we announced that the forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season is being reduced from $5.30 per kgMS to $4.70 per kgMS.
When combined with the previously announced estimated dividend range of 25-35 cents per share, this amounts to a forecast Cash Payout of $4.95 – $5.05 for the current season. . . 

Fonterra forecast payout to fall?


Fonterra is expected to announce a further fall in its forecast payout today.

No-one was expecting this season’s payout to equal or surpass last season’s record but few would have thought it would be less than $5.

That will be less than break-even for most.

That shouldn’t be a disaster for one season especially for farmers and sharemilkers with a few seasons’ income behind them.

Even those who have just got into dairying should be able to get through one bad season when the medium to long term outlook is good.

However, most will make a loss this season and be spending far less. That will impact businesses which service and supply them, the wider economy and of course the tax-take.

It is important to keep it in perspective, though.

New Zealand doesn’t live on milk alone. Dairying  is our biggest primary export but this season sheep and beef prices are getting a welcome boost which will help compensate for the dip in dairy income.

December 10 in history


220 – Cao Pi forced Emperor Xian of Han to abdicate the Han Dynasty throne. The Cao Wei empire was established and the Three Kingdoms period began.

1041 – Empress Zoe of Byzantium elevated her adopted son to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V.

1508 – The League of Cambrai was formed by Pope Julius II, Louis XII of France, Maximilian 1, Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand II of Aragon as an alliance against Venice.

1394 King James I of Scotland was born  (d. 1437).

1520  Martin Luther burned his copy of the papal bull Exsurge Domine outside Wittenberg‘s Elster Gate.

1655 The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps was founded by Michiel de Ruyter.

1684  Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley.

1830 Emily Dickinson, American poet, was born (d. 1886).

1868 The first traffic lights were installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.

1878  Rajaji, India’s freedom fighter and the first Governor General of independent India was born  (d. 1972).

1901 The first Nobel Prizes were awarded.

1902 Women were given the right to vote in Tasmania.

1906 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first American to do so.

1907 The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clashed with 400 police officers over the existence of a memorial for animals which had been vivisected.

1907 Rumer Godden, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

1908 Ernest Rutherford won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Rutherford wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

1914 Dorothy Lamour, American actress, was born (d. 1996).

1927 The Grand Ole Opry premiered on radio.

1932 Thailand adopted a Constitution and became a constitutional monarchy.

1936 Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication.

1948 The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1949 Chinese Civil War: The People’s Liberation Army began its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan.

1952 Susan Dey, American actress, was born.

1955 Jacquelyn Mitchard, American novelist, was born.

1960  Kenneth Branagh, Northern Irish actor and director, was born.

1962 New Zealand born Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. His colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick shared the prize for their studies on the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic molecule found in all organisms. Watson used X-rays to show the shape of the double helix.

Wilkins wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

1978 Arab-Israeli conflict: Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1983 Democracy was restored in Argentina with the assumption of President Raúl Alfonsín.

1989 Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the establishment of Mongolia‘s democratic movement that peacefully changed the second oldest communist country into a democratic society.

1993 The last shift left Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marked the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.

1994 – Rwandan Genocide: Military advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General and head of the Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations Maurice Baril recommended that the UN multi-national forces in Zaire stand down.

2013 – The life of Nelson Mandela was celebrated in a memorial service at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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