Word of the day

January 20, 2015

Acknow – to recognise;  acknowledge; confess knowledge of.


Packing tips and new inventions

January 20, 2015

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* The 15 best luggage hacks ever – not all of which I consider good advice and prompted me to ask when did the word hack replace tip?

and

* 26 clever inventions we need to add to our everyday lives.


Rural round-up

January 20, 2015

Review of cost of food safety and biosecurity services:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking for feedback on proposed updates to fee rates needed to maintain the safety of New Zealand’s food and protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks.

The proposals update the amount the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) charges industry to provide food safety and biosecurity services.

“Biosecurity and food safety are critical to the operation and viability of New Zealand’s primary industries. Without these systems, New Zealand’s $38.3 billion primary sector exports would never get past importing countries’ borders and New Zealand’s primary industries would be exposed to a much greater risk of potentially devastating pests and diseases,” says Dan Bolger, MPI’s Deputy Director-General, Office of the Director-General. . .

Wine industry strongly opposes MPI cost recovery proposal:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) is strongly opposing a proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to recover $2.9 million per year from the wine industry to meet the costs of its wine regulatory programme.

“Wineries currently pay just over $200 million each year in excise to the government” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. “Payments have increased by $70 million, or more than 60%, in the past decade. From our perspective requiring the industry to pay an additional $2.9 million to MPI every year is manifestly unjustifiable”.

The MPI proposal for wine is part of a wider review of the fees MPI charges to primary industries for the services and activities it undertakes as part of New Zealand’s biosecurity and food safety systems. “Other major primary industries are subject to the MPI user-pays regime. However unlike the wine industry, none of those sectors also pay a product specific tax”, said Mr Green. . .

 Best dairy pastures picked

Winners of a competition to identify the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s best new and renewed dairy pastures will host field days at their properties in late January.

Morrinsville farmer James Booker, and Robert Garshaw from Waiuku, are winners of the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Renewal Leadership Group.

Robert Garshaw won best first year pasture, while James Booker won the best pasture of more than three years old. . . .

Full benefits only realised with farmer use:

Product innovation and technology breakthroughs coming out of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme are going to deliver some real results for farming, and for New Zealand. However, the full benefits will only be realised when farmers start using them.

Ballance Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says a key part of the co-operative’s $19.5 million programme, co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership, is on-farm support to help farmers understand what these innovations can do for them, and how to use them.

“With the first of our products, such as N-Guru, now becoming available for use on-farm, there’s a significant piece of work going on to make it easy for farmers to do just that. . .

Contractors available to help out:

Farmers facing financial stress and mounting pressure on-farm and exacerbated by the increasingly dry weather, should reach out for help as should agricultural contractors, advises Rural Contractors New Zealand.

RCNZ President, Steve Levet says with the on-going dry in many areas around the country – on top of the lower forecast milk price –could see some farmers feeling overwhelmed and under huge pressure.

“However, there are things on farm that have to be done – no matter what – such as supplementary feed and crop harvesting,” Mr Levet explains. “Contractors are professionals and are especially set up to help out when these jobs need to be done on-farm.” . . .

 

Inaugural Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is set to shine:

The inaugural Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is set to shine, this exciting event Wine Hawke’s Bay are planning to capitalise on the influx of trade and media coming through to attend the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 2015. The Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is being held on Monday, 26th January 2015 to capture the international and national wine trade and media’s attention prior to the Central Otago event on 29th January. . .

 

 

 


Food industry regs open for consultation

January 20, 2015

Proposals for regulations under the Food Act 2014 are open for consultation.

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew says:

The proposed regulations ensure our food is safe and suitable, and will apply to around 85,000 food premises, growers and food importers when the Act comes fully into force by 1 March 2016. 

“We want the regulations to be practical and appropriate for the wide range of businesses operating in New Zealand’s food industry, from coffee carts and catering companies to restaurants and large industrial food manufacturers,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“The best way to ensure the regulations are suitable is for those people within the food industry to get involved in the consultation process.”

Proposals cover matters such as hygiene practices, production, processing, handling of food, and how businesses are checked to ensure they are meeting these food safety requirements.

Under the new Act, food businesses will have increased responsibility for managing their food safety risks, with good performance leading to fewer checks and therefore lower compliance costs. 

“Food businesses will be regulated at different levels depending on their food safety risk. High risk businesses will need a food control plan, while low to medium risk businesses will use a national programme,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“These changes bring the Food Act into line with other food safety laws in New Zealand.”

Proposed changes include:

The central feature of the new Act is a sliding scale where businesses that are higher risk from a food safety point of view will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower risk food businesses.

The new law recognises that each business is different and is a positive step forward from the old Act and its one-size-fits-all approach to food safety.

Higher-risk food businesses – that prepare and sell meals or sell raw meat or seafood, for example – will operate under a written Food Control Plan (FCP) where businesses identify food safety risks and steps they need to take to manage these risks. The FCP can be based on a template or businesses can develop their own plan to suit their individual business.

Businesses that produce or sell medium risk foods – like non-alcoholic beverages, for example – will come under National Programmes. There are three levels of National Programmes, which are based on the level of food safety risk. They won’t have to register a written plan, but will have to make sure they are following the requirements for producing safe food that will be set out in regulations. This includes having to register their business details, keep minimal records and have periodic checks.

Unlike the old Act, the new Act provides a clear exemption to allow Kiwi traditions like fundraising sausage sizzles or home baking at school fairs to take place.  The only rule will be that food that is sold must be safe. 

Growing food for personal use and sharing it with others, including ‘Bring a plate’ to a club committee meeting or a lunch for a visiting sports team or social group, is outside the scope of the Food Act. The Act only covers food that is sold or traded. . .

Having higher standards for higher risk businesses and less stringent requirements for lower risks ones makes sense.

Clearly exempting traditional fundraisers like sausage sizzles and fairs  is a welcome common sense approach.

There must be a certain level of buyer beware and if you buy something at a sausage sizzle or fair you know the same standards of hygiene as commercial producers won’t apply.

Consultation is open until March 31. There’s more information on the Act here.

 


Poverty biggest enemy, development biggest friend

January 20, 2015

Quote of the day:

. . .  This is the ugly underside of environmentalism, the unpleasant truth, which is:

The biggest threat to the environment is poverty. 

This is not some theoretical future danger. As the firewood man showed, this is going on now. And remember that the woodcutter was not the poorest of the poor, far from it. About half the world lives on less than $2.50 per day, and an empty stomach cares nothing for the environment. For example, the larger primates are all greatly reduced in numbers, with some being heavily threatened. Is this because humans enjoy killing chimpanzees? Nope. The root cause is poverty. They are being killed for food, by people who have nothing to eat.

And when people do not have cheap energy to cook with, they burn up their forests, despite their good intentions.

Finally, since the biggest threat to the environment is poverty, that means that the biggest friend of the environment is development … Willis Eschenbach in Four Stories, Two Worlds at What’s Up With That?

Hat tip: JC

 


January 20 in history

January 20, 2015

250 – Emperor Decius began a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian was martyred.

1265 In Westminster, the first English parliament conducted its first meeting held by Simon de Montfort in the Palace of Westminster.

1356 Edward Balliol abdicated as King of Scotland.

1523 Christian II was forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.

1649 Charles I of England went on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.

1788 The third and main part of First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decided that Botany Bay was unsuitable for location of a penal colony, and decided to move to Port Jackson.

1840 Dumont D’Urville discovered Adélie Land, Antarctica.

1840 – Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1841  Hong Kong Island was occupied by the British.

1885 L.A. Thompson patented the roller coaster.

1887  The United States Senate allowed the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

1892  At the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first official basketball game was played.

1896  George Burns, American actor, comedian, was born (d. 1996).

1899  Clarice Cliff, English ceramic, was born (d. 1972).

1910 Joy Adamson, Austrian naturalist and writer, was born (d. 1980).

1921 The first Constitution of Turkey was adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.

1926 Patricia Neal, American actress, was born (d. 2010).

1929  In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, was released.

1930  Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut, was born.

1934  Tom Baker, British actor, was born.

1936  Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom.

1937 Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. This was the first inauguration scheduled on January 20, following adoption of the 20th Amendment. Previous inaugurations were scheduled on March 4.

1950  Liza Goddard, British actress, was born.

1952 Paul Stanley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1957 Scott Base opened in Antarctica.

Scott Base opened in Antarctica

1959 The first flight of the Vickers Vanguard.

1960 Hendrik Verwoerd announced a plebiscite on whether South Africa should become a Republic.

1961  John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the youngest man, and first-ever Roman Catholic, to become elected President of the United States.

1965   Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, was born.

1981 Iran released 52 American hostages twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President, the oldest man to be inaugurated at 69.

1987  Church of England envoy Terry Waite was kidnapped in Lebanon.

1990  Black January – crackdown of Azerbaijani pro-independence demonstrations by Soviet army in Baku.

Soviet tanks in Baku during Black January.

1991 Sudan‘s government imposed Islamic law nationwide, worsening the civil war between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south.

2001  Philippine president Joseph Estrada was ousted in a nonviolent 4-day revolution, and was succeeded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

2009 Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America – the United States’ first African-American president.

2009 – A protest movement in Iceland culminated as the 2009 Icelandic financial crisis protests started.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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