Word of the day

February 19, 2015

Fibonacci –  an integer in the infinite sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, … of which the first two terms are 1 and 1 and each succeeding term is the sum of the two immediately preceding.

Hat tip: Simon O’Connor MP @ about 4:20.


Rural round-up

February 19, 2015

Future dairy leaders – Sam Johnson:

Last week I was invited to speak to 60 graduates at Fonterra in Palmerston North. As New Zealand’s largest co-operative, Fonterra is seen as delivering significant economic value back into Aotearoa.

The 60 graduates I was privileged to speak to have all graduated at the top of their classes from various institutions around New Zealand. After graduating, they each spent two years working in various factories around the country, learning about everything; from milk production, the intricate details of making yoghurt to coming up with new ideas using their skills to streamline processes, ultimately seeking to improve the efficiency and success of Fonterra.

Before I arrived, each person delivered a 10-minute presentation on their project or thesis around their area of expertise. Then the debates began on whether or not the idea would save the company $10 million. While saving money didn’t appear to be the brief from the company, I was interested in how frequently the cost saving aspect was referenced. . .

Good progress in Auckland fruit fly operation:

Field work is ramping up in Auckland today in response to the detection earlier this week of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Grey Lynn.

MPI, along with response partners and Government Industry Agreement partners KVH and Pipfruit NZ, have responded swiftly.

Today a field team of more than 90 staff is setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area.

Field teams are also collecting samples of fruit from home gardens in the area to test for any flies or their eggs or larvae. . . .

Students making quads safer:

850 farmers are injured each year from quad bike accidents in New Zealand. Two to seven die. A group of young innovative entrepreneurs are launching a new, safe storage solution for carrying equipment on quad bikes. Launching this week, Flatpak is a bag that is specifically designed to easily attach onto the back of a quad bike. They are launching their pledge me campaign on the 18th of February. Here, customers are able to pre-order a limited edition Flatpak along with other rewards.

They are working to raise $40,000 to produce their first run of 100 Flatpaks! They need your help. . .

‘Tactics for Tight Times’ to be shared – Sally Rae:

DairyNZ has launched a campaign to help dairy farmers get through a tough season brought on by a low milk price and drought.

The declaration of drought conditions on the South Island’s east coast as a medium scale adverse event had highlighted the ”critical need” for extra support for farmers, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said.

”The milk price hit a six year low in December, and dry conditions have exacerbated the situation, forcing many farmers to make some pretty tough decisions, especially as they look to set themselves up for next season,” he said. . .

Aorangi Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final:

The second ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 28 February at the Aorangi Regional Final held in Oamaru.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive after a fantastic Regional Final in Queenstown over Waitangi weekend. Every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

 Tractor industry reports buoyant sales:

Waikato led the way in purchases of tractors in New Zealand during 2014, in a year when tractor sales approached record highs.

A total of 4061 tractors were purchased between January and December, including 3,419 of at least 40 horsepower (HP), the most common measure for farm tractors. The figure is significantly more than the 3065 40HP tractors bought in 2013.

Ian Massicks, president of the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) which gathers the sales data, said a combination of the record dairy payouts last year and good growing conditions were key to farmers investing in new equipment. . .

 

And Spring Rolls into Summer:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 109 fewer farm sales (-19.3%) for the three months ended January 2015 than for the three months ended January 2014. Overall, there were 455 farm sales in the three months to end of January 2015, compared to 486 farm sales for the three months ended December 2014 (-6.4%) and 564 farm sales for the three months to the end of January 2014. 1,811 farms were sold in the year to January 2015, 1.0% more than were sold in the year to January 2014.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January 2015 was $27,997 compared to $22,664 recorded for three months ended January 2014 (+23.6%). The median price per hectare fell 2.7% compared to December. . .


Thursday’s quiz

February 19, 2015

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other.?

2. Where did the phrase a wolf in sheep’s clothing originate?

3. It’s chien in French, cane in Italian,  pero in Spainsh and  kurī in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What breed of dog was Greyfriars Bobby and where would you find his statue?

5. If you were offered the choice of any dog, which breed would you pick?


Who’s a worker, what’s work?

February 19, 2015

Andrew Little was in enough trouble over his failure to pay David Cohen for his services and he was silly enough to make it worse:

. . . But referring to Mr Cohen as “a worker” has made Mr Little grumpy.

“Your commentary talked about a worker,” says Mr Little. “He was a contractor.” . .

This is the man whose first big speech of the year was supposed to appeal to a wider range of workers including small business owners.

There’s no business smaller, in terms of personnel, than that of a single contractor and if a contractor isn’t a worker the logical conclusion is that what he does isn’t work.

So who is a worker and what’s work?

The dictionary says it’s: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.

In the context of employment it is also done to earn payment regardless of whether you are an employee or a contractor.

Little’s quibbling over whether a contractor is a worker should serve as a warning to anyone who was mollified by the rhetoric of his speech about reaching out to a broader range of workers.

Whatever he said a couple of weeks ago has been contradicted by his grumpy quibble.

 


Different rules for councils and farms

February 19, 2015

Federated Farmers Otago Dairy Chair Stephen Crawford writes on different environmental standards for councils and farms:

As a farmer I have been increasingly concerned by the lack of consistency between council treatment of urban and rural users when it comes to the actions taken under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

We have all seen farmers prosecuted in the Environment Court for breaches under the RMA, for matters such as effluent discharges that “may enter water”.

These are the critical few words found in the RMA that most prosecutions are based on (“…and may enter water”). What that means is that the contaminant didn’t necessarily enter water or cause pollution, it just “may” have been able to enter water – and that’s a big difference. . .

Is there any other area where the potential to do something wrong is treated as if you have actually done something wrong?

If you were in a pub with car keys in your pocket you may drive when you shouldn’t but you may also walk, call a taxi, get someone else to drive or find another way home but you would not be charged because you may drive.

Of course it’s not always that simple. In some cases, contaminants from farms do in fact enter water. That cannot be condoned and depending on the circumstances, the Environment Court may be the appropriate course of action.

Last spring, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) boss Peter Bodeker went to media, stating that recent dairy inspections in Otago were not good enough and that an unacceptable number of breaches had been found.

If you watched 7 Sharp on Tuesday night, you will see some of our most popular swimming beaches in are unsafe to swim in due to the overflow sewage systems that some city councils’ use, there is no “may” about it.  So let’s compare these on-farm breaches of the RMA to those in the urban sector.

Last November, media reported that in Cromwell 3,500 litres of untreated waste had entered Lake Dunstan. In response, the ORC determined that no action was required.

Over recent months and years, Queenstown Lakes District Council has had numerous untreated spills into the lake, and not a single prosecution has eventuated to date.

Apart from the fact that a major tourist destination’s image is being tarnished by the site of untreated sewage flowing on streets and into the lake, that waste is entering water and is simply bad for the environment.

If Queenstown was a farm, there would be a huge public outcry for it to be shut down until major improvements could bring it up to appropriate standards.

Other towns around the country actually have consent to pollute on a daily basis.

Milton is just one example.  It has been issued consent by the ORC to intermittently discharge 9,150 cubic meters per day of untreated wastewater mixed with storm water to the Tokomairiro River.

This discharge permit expires on December 31, 2017. But don’t worry; part of the consent approval includes a diagram for a sign to be erected, saying “Danger. Keep Out. No Swimming”.

Other New Zealand towns also have consent to discharge untreated or partially treated waste to land “in a manner that may enter water”. Interesting that those towns have these discharge consents approved by councils, when this is the same standard for which farmers are being prosecuted.

For many coastal towns the solution is simple, just put waste out to sea in a longer and ever extending pipeline. Well at least it doesn’t get to freshwater that way, although as we’ve seen recently, the impact on many of our beaches is not something to be proud of.

It is one rule for council discharges, and a completely different rule for farmers and I’m convinced the environment doesn’t notice the difference.

To people living in urban New Zealand, you have been “sold” a story comprising limited science based on a successful and catchy slogan, “dirty dairy”. And from that was born the misconception that most pollution is from farms.

Regional councils around the country continue to turn a blind eye to blatant urban pollution, both within discharge consent parameters and through unconsented spills into our lakes and rivers.

Farmers don’t expect any special treatment. We have a huge responsibility in looking after our environment. But nor do we expect to be targeted and singled out by regional councils.

All we ask is that in the interests of our environment, we have a more level playing field.  Currently what we have is anything but.

Farmers live near to, swim in and drink from the waterways which border their farms giving them a very personal interest in ensuring they are clean.

We’re not asking for special treatment we are asking for fairness.

Discharges which may enter a waterway should not be regarded in a similar way to pollution which does enter a waterway and councils shouldn’t get special treatment when others appear to be treated with far less leniency.


February 19 in history

February 19, 2015

197 Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated usurper Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, the bloodiest battle between Roman armies.

1473 Nicolaus Copernicus, mathematician and astronomer, was born (d. 1543).

1594-  Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden.

1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina exploded in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.

1674 – England and the Netherlands signed the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfered the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, and it was renamed New York.

1743 Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer, was born  (d. 1805).

1807 Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr was arrested for treason and confined to Fort Stoddert.

1819 British explorer William Smith discovered the South Shetland Islands, and claimed them in the name of King George III.

1847 – The first group of rescuers reached the Donner Party who had been snowbound. Some of the party resorted to cannabilism to survive.

1861 Serfdom was abolished in Russia.

1878 The phonograph was patented by Thomas Edison.

1883 Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu were released.

Release of Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu

1884 The Enigma tornado outbreak.

1895 Diego Mazquiarán, Spanish matador, was born  ( d. 1940 ).

1924 Lee Marvin, American actor, was born (d. 1987).

1936 Sam Myers, American musician and songwriter, was born (d. 2006).

1938 Twenty men and one woman were drowned when a sudden cloudburst sent a wall of water surging through a public works camp at Kopuawhara, near Mahia. This was New Zealand’s deadliest 20th-century flood.

21 drown in Kopuawhara flash flood

1940 Smokey Robinson, American singer, was born.

1942 Nearly 250 Japanese war planes attacked Darwin killing 243 people.

1942 –President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order 9066′, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese-Americans to Japanese internment camps.

1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia began.

1945 Battle of Iwo Jima – about 30,000 United States Marines landed on Iwo Jima.

1947 Tim Shadbolt, mayor of Invercargill, New Zealand, was born.

1949 – Ezra Pound was awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.

1952 Amy Tan, American novelist, was born.

1953 Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the United States.

1958 Helen Fielding, English writer, was born.

1959 – The United Kingdom granted Cyprus its independence.

1960  Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was born.

1963 – The publication of Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique launched the reawakening of the Feminist Movement in the United States as women’s organisations and consciousness-raising groups spread.

1972 The Asama-Sansō hostage standoff began in Japan.

1976 Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by President Gerald R. Ford’s Proclamation 4417

1978 Egyptian forces raid Larnaca International Airport, in an attempt to intervene in a hijacking situation, without authorisation from the Republic of Cyprus authorities. The Cypriot National Guard and Police forces kill 15 Egyptian commandos and destroy the Egyptian C-130 transport plane in open combat.

1985 William J. Schroeder became the first Artificial heart recipient to leave hospital.

1985 – Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into Mount Oiz in Spain, killing 148.

1986 Akkaraipattu massacre, massacre of 80 Tamil farm workers by the Sri Lankan Army in the eastern province of Sri Lanka.

1986 – The Soviet Union launched its Mir spacecraft.

1999 – President Bill Clinton issued a posthumous pardon for U.S. Army Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper.

2001 An Oklahoma City bombing museum was dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

2001 Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity”.

2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe started to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2006 – A methane explosion in coal mine near Nueva Rosita, Mexico, killed 65 miners.

2011 – The debut exhibition of the Belitung shipwreck, containing the largest collection of Tang Dynasty artefacts found in one location, began in Singapore.

2012 – 44 people were killed in a prison brawl in Apodaca, Nuevo León.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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