Feedback sought on earthquake memorial

February 18, 2015

The public is invited to give feedback on the six designs shortlisted for the  Canterbury Earthquake Memorial:

The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations.

More than 330 submissions were received from 37 countries after designs were sought by the Government, Christchurch City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The six short-listed were selected last year and have since been adapted following consultation with stakeholders, including those who lost loved ones and those who suffered serious injuries, and in order to ensure they met design criteria.

“I think each of the designs is outstanding and reflects the Canterbury experience in a different way. Every one of them could be a fitting memorial for what we lost and what we have been through as a city,” says Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Nicky Wagner.

“The public now has a chance to have its say on which design best reflects that shared loss and experience.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says this is an important step towards having a memorial space that will mean so much to so many people, here and around the world.

“Allowing the public to have a say in how we commemorate what we have lost, while capturing a sense of hope for the future, will make a real difference.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says: “It is very important for the region, our city and our communities to have an appropriate place to honour and reflect on the events of the earthquakes. I believe as a community we will achieve this.”

The short-listed designs can be viewed at www.ccdu.govt.nz/ideas-to-remember and feedback can be given on the website until 15 March. . .


Word of the day

February 18, 2015

Kakorrhaphiophobia – abnormal fear of failure.


Rural round-up

February 18, 2015

No muddying water issues – Jill Galloway:

Tim Brown is a water quality specialist. Jill Galloway found he started his life as a bookie’s son in Britain, but as an academic he made Palmerston North his home.

Professor Emeritus Tim Brown, a water quality specialist and former Massey University micro-biologist, says a friend of his was on tank water.

“When he cleaned it out, he found a dead possum at the bottom of the tank that had been there for some time. The outlet was higher and he’s still alive.”

Brown says rural people have been living on tank water for years and have not come to any harm. . .

(Hat tip: Farmerbraun ).

Swaps settlements finalised, time to move on:

Federated Farmers is pleased the Commerce Commission has now reached settlements with all three banks, ANZ, ASB and Westpac, over the sale of interest rate swaps.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreements are a fair and equitable solution and it’s time to move on.

“Some rural people signed on for interest rate swaps as long ago as 2005 and so for many customers it has been a long running issue that now can be brought to a conclusion, with the three banks involved set to pay a total sum of $24.67 million to approximately 256 eligible farmers,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

State of the environment on farm – James Stewart:

While brought up on a sheep farm I have spent the past 20 years dairy farming.

I have also had a brief stint as a registered commercial jet boat operator, taking locals and international visitors through the Manawatu Gorge, giving them some close contact with our precious Manawatu water through the Hamilton jet spins.

After all the positive comments on water quality that I often receive you can imagine just how disappointed I was with the river being labelled as one of the worst in the west.

Over the past 20 years of farming, there have been many changes to the farming sector. The synthetic carpet now dominates carpet stores as the polar fleece jumpers do in clothing stores. While wool is the superior product, it is left to high top end markets in which exporters fight over with the result of farmers often becoming price takers. . .

More success for Primary Growth Partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming more success stories from the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with several programmes making big steps forward.

“Government and industry are together investing $720 over time million into 20 innovation programmes, and many of these are already delivering results,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Guy is speaking today at the annual open farm day at Limestone Downs, which is involved in the “Pioneering to Precision” PGP programme, led by Ravensdown.

“As part of this programme drones and light aircraft are being used to scan the hill country at Limestone Downs Station to develop precision fertiliser applications for hill country. This programme will deliver productivity and environmental benefits. . .

Global Consumer Watchdog gives Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Highest Rating:

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd has been recognised as one of the most sustainable salmon farming operations worldwide by a globally-renowned consumer watchdog.
The Queenstown-based company said it was delighted to earn a Best Choice (Green) rating from the widely-acclaimed Seafood Watch organisation.

Company chairman and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger said the accolade was a huge endorsement for aquaculture in New Zealand.

“In keeping with Mt Cook Alpine Salmon’s previous sustainability credentials, this demonstrates we’re the best of the best,” he said. . .

Southern Discoveries celebrates Chinese Year of the Sheep… with mob of woolly stars:

Tourism operator Southern Discoveries will be celebrating the Chinese Year of the Sheep by welcoming visitors on its Mt Nicholas Farm Experience with a mob of 500 sheep.

Over the next three weeks, visitors can get up close to the 500-strong merino mob, the same woolly ‘stars’ of the ‘Running of the Wools’ as part of the Hilux Rural Games.

This time around, the sheep have agreed to stay (almost) still so that visitors can have their picture taken with them.

Also waiting to greet guests at Mt Nicholas will be two pet sheep and sheepdog Belle to accompany the group on their visit to the working merino farm. . .

 

 

 


GDT up 10.1%

February 18, 2015

Dairy farmers got a morale boost with a 10.1% increase in the GlobalDairyTrade price index this morning.

gdt18215

gdt18.2.15

gldt18215

 


Strike two

February 18, 2015

Labour has been plagued by political mismanagement under its last three leaders and it hasn’t got any better under this one.

Strike one for  Andrew Little came with the very tardy payment of a contractor. Bad enough in itself from a former union head and at least of bad a reflection on his office:

. . . Any small business owner will tell you that the one thing they really hate is people who don’t pay their bills.

But one of the worst aspects of this is the shocking political management. Someone, anyone on Little’s team should have paid this bill. It was obvious that Cohen would go feral.

Even when Cohen wrote about it in the National Business Review, Labour still didn’t pay, allowing Steven Joyce to expose and embarrass Little in Parliament.

Why didn’t chief of staff Matt McCarten step in and clean up the mess?

All for the sake of $950 and a bit of internet banking.

First strike on the hypocrisy front for Andrew Little.

And strike one for mismanagement.

Strike two was Little’s failure to consult other parties on the membership of the  Intelligence and Security committee:

Climate change targets, deep sea oil drilling, the Trans Pacific Partnership … there are many thorny issues that could divide Labour and Greens.

In fact, all it took was membership of a parliamentary committee and some clumsy manners from Andrew Little.

The Labour leader raised the hackles of out-going co-leader Russel Norman by excluding his party from Parliament’s Intelligence and Security committee, instead choosing David Shearer.

The Green party learned of the decision through the media – Little had not even informed his own chief of staff Matt McCarten.

To further rub salt into the wound, Little then slighted co-leader Metiria Turei by suggesting she could not compete with Shearer’s knowledge, skills or understanding of security issues.

He appeared to under-estimate the Green Party’s anger, quipping “ask them [if they are upset] tomorrow” when pressed on how he would smooth ruffled feathers.

Little’s first mistake was in seemingly breaking the law by not consulting with the other opposition parties. Refusing to take Norman seriously was his second – and the Greens retaliated with fury. . .

Little is right about Shearer being better qualified than Turei or, as David Farrar points out, any member of the Green Party:

 The Greens are effectively opposed to the very existence of the intelligence agencies. Hence appointing them to an oversight committee means that their interest is just to find ways to discredit the agencies, not to play a constructive role in oversight. . .

However, that doesn’t excuse Little’s failure to follow the law in consulting other Opposition parties.

Political leaders don’t get a very long honeymoon, these two strikes signal Little’s is over and that he’s dogged by the problems of mismanagement which dogged the last three Labour leaders.

P.S. the column in which David Cohen raised the issue of the non-payment is here.

. . . What I was being asked to provide was not media advice or training, after all, but to take out a few hours to talk with Mr Little and then independently distill his views as they might sound to an outsider. Mr Matthews seemed to think his man could do with a bit more clarity. 

As assignments go, it sounded offbeat but I’ve taken far odder ones in my time.  . .

As a nosey-parker, too, I was interested to know more about the opposition’s calamitous recent history and perhaps even some of its current internal tensions. 

Happily on that last point, this was something Mr Matthews immediately hinted at with a number of less-than-enthusiastic references to Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern, along with a slightly baffling digression on how the party’s fortunes will yet be reversed by installing the MP for Kelston, Carmel Sepuloni, as deputy party leader ahead of the next general election. 

Scrolling back through a number of more recent clips of his television interviews, though, I could see why Mr Little’s friends might feel he needed a touch more clarity. 

Like many trained lawyers, and indeed working journalists, I think he tries to parse tumbling thoughts into cogent words as he speaks. Sometimes this serves him better than others. There were occasions when I couldn’t make head or tail of what he was saying. . .

 The atmosphere was congenial if a touch odd. Nobody had thought to turn the lights on, which lent a slightly film noir-ish air to the next couple of hours.

But the conversation was illuminating enough. We talked about Mr Little’s view of his own personal attributes – a lifetime of private sector engagement, an intimate knowledge of the organisation and a track record for bringing people together – and how these may or may not rejuvenate his party. 

We chatted about his time representing journalists as a union leader. He spoke about his general engagement with the media. 

From there, the conversation moved on to last year’s ghastly election campaign, Labour’s perceived image problems and what seems to me to be the piquant irony of a party claiming the mantle of diversity and yet almost consistently refusing to welcome businesspeople into its ranks. 

Interesting stuff. I wrote up my notes as best I could, and sent them off along with an invoice for the time spent. Both were received with thanks.  

Then came the silence.

Four months, many inquiring telephone calls and gazillions of emails on – as of the time of this writing – I’m still none the financially richer for having taken this oddball assignment.  Not by a bean. I’ve been left feeling rather like a one-man nocturnal performer in a Christchurch insurance office. 

Oh well. Isn’t that how things so often are for we self-employed and small business types grinding away in the engine room of the economy? 

This supports my theory that Labour and unions want to be tough on employers because of their own poor record with employees.

There are bad employers and bad employees but they are the minority. Employment law should not be designed as if all employers and sinners and all employees saints.


More than little late to pay

February 18, 2015

NBR columnist David Cohen wrote in the print edition of the paper last Friday that Labour leader Andrew Little hadn’t paid a bill he’d sent him.

Cohen had been asked to analyse Little’s communication, did so, sent the bill and followed up with phone calls and emails.

It was only yesterday, four months late and after Steven Joyce raised the matter in parliament, that Little paid up:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce attacked Little over his stance on employment law changes after revealing Little had not settled his bill with National Business Review columnist David Cohen.

Writing in the NBR last week Cohen confirmed he did paid work for Little to help him secure the Labour leadership but four months later was still waiting for the cheque.

Joyce said he raised the overdue bill because it was important for Parliamentarians to “pay people promptly”.

Little insisted afterward that the bill had been paid – but would not confirm or deny that the payment had only been put through after Joyce raised the matter in Parliament.

“It’s been paid today.”

Little insisted afterward that the bill had been paid – but would not confirm or deny that the payment had only been put through after Joyce raised the matter in Parliament.

“It’s been paid today.”

He said the bill had been sent in good faith but went to his campaign team rather than himself.

“It was on that person’s desk and flitted around some others,” Little said.

“Had it come to me at the time he remitted it, it would have been paid at that time.”

Little would not say what time he paid the bill and whether it was after Joyce raised the issue.

“It hasn’t been paid as a result of what Steven Joyce said in the House but it’s been paid.” . . .

Can Little be blamed for the tardiness of a member of his campaign team and the others whose desks the invoice flitted around?

At least as much as it shows a problem with processes and not just in a huge hole in the way bills are dealt with but also in media monitoring.

The leader of the Labour Party won’t’ have time to read every column inch that’s written but someone in his office ought to be monitoring the media for every mention of him.

I read Cohen’s column last week and it’s difficult to believe that either no-one in Little’s office, caucus and the wider party did.

It is easier to wonder if they did and didn’t alert him.

If no-one monitors the media, or isn’t doing it properly, Little has a problem. If people who are supposed to support him read the story and didn’t tell him, he’s got an even bigger problem.

Four months is more than a little late to pay a bill, especially when you’re leading a party that purports to stand up for workers and wants to court small business people.

There’s no smaller business than a one-man one.

Update: Cohen makes this point on Radio NZ:

. . . He sent in his report and invoice four months ago.

“During that time I followed up the invoice, I called his office, I spoke with Matt McCarten, his Chief of Staff, many emails were exchanged and it became abundantly clear that the waiter had been stiffed, as it were.”

Mr Cohen said he found this ironic given Mr Little’s recent attempts to connect with small business and the self-employed.

“Andew Little has been crafting excellent speeches on the pressures felt by small business, by freelancers, by sole operators and he’s been committing himself to lessening the stress and strain that one in five New Zealanders, like me, experience.

“Now, you can’t really hold forth on these subjects and not look after your own creditors.”

Mr Joyce was being questioned by one of Mr Little’s Labour MPs about whether the government intended to take a tougher line on zero hour contracts.

Mr Joyce used that as an opportunity to take a potshot at Mr Little.

“This is obviously not a zero-hour contract.

“It could perhaps be better described as a zero-payment contract – the employer in this case being then-leadership aspirant for the Labour Party, one Andrew Little, the current Labour leader.” . .

A Chief of Staff and unionist who doesn’t understand the importance of paying bills properly?

Where’s his concern for the worker and where are his political antennae?

 

 

 


February 18 in history

February 18, 2015

3102 BC Epoch of the Kali Yuga.

1229 The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor signed a ten-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem with neither military engagements nor support from the papacy.

1268 The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakvere.

1478 George, Duke of Clarence, who was convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was executed.

1685 Fort St. Louis was established by a Frenchman at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France’s claim to Texas.

1745 The city of Surakarta, Central Java was founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo river, and became the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta.

1797 Trinidad was surrendered to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby.

1814 The Battle of Montereau.

1841 The first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate began and lasted until March 11.

1846 Beginning of the Galician peasant revolt.

1861 Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

1861 King Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumed the title of King of Italy.

1873 Bulgarian revolutionary leader Vasil Levski was executed in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities.

1878 John Tunstall was murdered by outlaw Jessie Evans, sparking the Lincoln County War.

Jessie Evans.

1884 Mark Twain‘s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published for the first time.

1901 Winston Churchill made his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

1906 – Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician was born (d. 1980).

1911 The first official flight with air mail took place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 km away.

1913 Raymond Poincaré becomes President of France.

1922 – Helen Gurley Brown, American editor, was born (d. 2012).

1929 The first Academy Awards were announced.

1930 Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.

1930 – Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.

1932 – The Empire of Japan declared Manzhouguo (the obsolete Chinese name for Manchuria) independent from the Republic of China.

1933  Yoko Ono, Japanese-born singer, was born.

1933  Mary Ure, Scottish actress, was born  (d. 1975).

1936 Jean Auel, American writer, was born.

1943 – The Nazis arrested the members of the White Rose movement.

1943 – Joseph Goebbels delivered the Sportpalast speech.

1946 Jean-Claude Dreyfus, French actor, was born.

1948 – Eamon de Valera resignsed as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1948 Keith Knudsen, American drummer and songwriter (The Doobie Brothers), was born (d. 2005).

1950 Cybill Shepherd, American actress, was born.

1953 Robbie Bachman, Canadian drummer (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), was born.

1954 John Travolta, American actor, was born.

1954 The first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California.

1955 Operation Teapot: Teapot test shot “Wasp” was successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons.

1957 Walter Bolton, a Wanganui farmer was the last man to be hanged in New Zealand.

1957  Kenyan rebel leader Dedan Kimathi was executed by the British colonial government.

1960  Greta Scacchi, Australian actress, was born.

1965 The Gambia becomes independent from the United Kingdom.

1969 The Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708 disaster occurred, killing all on board.

1972 The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, 6 Cal.3d 628 invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death ro innmates to life in prison.

1977  The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle was carried on its maiden “flight” sitting on top of a Boeing 747.

1979 Snow fell in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history.

1982 “Queen of Crime” Dame Ngaio Marsh died.

'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

1983 Thirteen people die and one is seriously injured in the Wah Mee Massacre in Seattle, Washington. It is said to be the largest robbery-motivated mass-murder in U.S. history.

1991 The IRA exploded bombs in the early morning at both Paddington station and Victoria station in London.

2001 FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union.

2003 Nearly 200 people died in the Daegu subway fire in South Korea.

2003 Comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) made perihelion, seen by SOHO.

2004 Up to 295 people, including nearly 200 rescue workers, died near Neyshabur in Iran when a run-away freight train carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser caught fire and exploded.

2007 – Terrorist bombs exploded on the Samjhauta Express in Panipat, Haryana, India, killing 68 people.

2014 – At least 76 people were killed and hundreds  injured in clashes between riot police and demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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