Word of the day

March 6, 2015

Bombaster  – one given to bombast; one who stuffs or pads things; one with a predilection for grandiose or overpowering expression.


Rural round-up

March 6, 2015

World dairy prices and New Zealand droughts – Jim Rose:

Here is an image from the recent Westpac Economic Overview. As New Zealand is the world’s largest exporter of dairy products any disruption in the supply from New Zealand can impact on the global dairy prices.

The last few droughts saw world dairy prices increase considerably as milk supply from the rest of the world was unable to adjust to market conditions.

However supply capacity in the US and the EU has increased and with Russia’s import ban there is a much greater supply on the global market. Nevertheless, this doesn’t disprove the possibility that prices rise when supply falls short. The overall signs are that supply and demand are coming into line as Chinese buyers run down stocks.

The drought in New Zealand will further boost prices from current low levels. Westpac expect the milk price to rise to $6.40/kg for the next season. Below is a useful video…

ANZCO’s profit disclosed in Itoham’s statement – Allan Barber:

Japanese food company Itoham Foods announced last week an increase in its shareholding in New Zealand meat processor and exporter ANZCO Foods from 48.28% to 65%. As a result of the transaction it will be able to consolidate ANZCO’s revenues and earnings into its annual accounts.

 $40 million worth of shares are being bought from three entities: another leading Japanese food manufacturer Nippon Suisan Kaisha, chairman Graeme Harrison, and JANZ Investments, owned by Graeme Harrison and ANZCO staff members. The sale will see the minority shareholders reducing their shareholdings on a pro rata basis with Harrison’s effective holding falling from approximately 20% to 14%. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Boosts Careers:

Entering the Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards has helped the region’s 2015 Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Grant and Karley Thomson, secure a new position beginning in June.

The couple were the major winners at the 2015 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards held at the Awakeri Events Centre in Whakatane last night. The other big winners were Jodie Mexted, the Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year, and Jeff White, the region’s Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Thomsons, who won $10,100 in prizes, are currently 50% sharemilking (with a silent partner) 420 cows for Tom and Tony Trafford at Opotiki. . .

 

New Zealand King Salmon Success to Feature at Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium:

Aquaculture business, New Zealand King Salmon, will feature as one of the success stories at the second Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium this month.

New Zealand King Salmon successfully launched Ōra King premium salmon in 2012 to the international foodservice market.

The farmed salmon is now on fine dining menus around the globe.

The Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium attracts senior staff, managers and leaders from throughout Asia Pacific horticulture, agriculture, seafood and biotech industries to help them develop new ways to problem solve and grow their business. . .

Prime Minister John Key Visits Manuka Health’s New State of the Art Honey Facility:

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, has been given a tour of Manuka Health’s brand new multi-million dollar, purpose-built honey processing and distribution centre on a recent visit to Te Awamutu in the Waikato.

Mr Key was shown through the premises by Manuka Health CEO and founder, Kerry Paul. It is now the largest customised honey facility in New Zealand and combines internationally accredited laboratories, honey-drum storage, blending, packing and distribution under one roof.

Mr Paul, says it was a huge honour to have the Rt Hon John Key visit the new centre. . .

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

The third ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 14 March at the Tasman Regional Final held in Kirwee.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very exciting, every year the calibre of contestants continues to improve and 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. . .

 


Friday’s answers

March 6, 2015

Andrei, J Bloggs and Willdwan provided the questions.

They get my thanks for that.

I’ll leave it to them to judge the answers and if they managed to stump us all they’ll win a virtual case of black boy peaches which can be collected by leaving the answers below.


Spies spy

March 6, 2015

Our spies are spying.

That isn’t news, it’s what spies do.

If there’ sandy news, it’s that some people appear to be surprised by this. Rob Hosking writes:

So. It seems we have a spying agency which, we learned today, spies on foreigners.

If anyone is surprised, let alone shocked, by this, they really are too gentle a soul for this cruel world.

Spying on foreigners is pretty much what comes on the label when you set up a spying agency. It’s what they do.

Unless you thought David Lange’s Labour government set up the Government Communications Security Bureau to run the country’s pest destruction boards, or to play Farmville on their neat new computers, what on earth did you think the agency has been doing?

The fact GCSB is spying on “friends?” First, those friends have some rather dubious friends and matters such as money laundering of criminal and terrorist activity are key parts of law enforcement these days. . .

We need to know what’s happening in our neighborhood.

To do that we must keep an eye not only on our neighbours but those who might be trying to influence  them.

If there’s anything to raise concern it’s not that our spies are spying, it’s about the oversight of them.

One can accept that, in today’s technologically advanced era, spy agencies are in a permanent race to keep up.

The unspoken assumption of Mr Hager and his excitable supporters seems to be that New Zealand’s GCSB is under some sort of obligation to not do what everyone else – government, citizen, criminal, lobbyist, activist – can do.

That is just silly.

But if a government agency is – as it clearly has done – is now undertaking the kind of surveillance on the scale in which one would expect in today’s world, there needs to be a stepped up level of independent oversight to match the increased spying activity.

There has been some increase, in the amendment legislation passed in 2013, but it is small compared to the rise in activity.

The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance, as the old wisdom has it. This applies to the activities such as the GCSB in two ways: one is we need to expect it to be vigilant in New Zealand’s interests, especially in our “backyard.”

But such vigilance also needs to be applied to an agency with such sweeping, and increasing, powers as the GCSB – especially if it is acting, as it appears to be, at least as much for other governments as it is for our own.

Our spies need to keep their eyes on our neighbourhood and someone needs to keep an eye on them.

 


Safer roads for all

March 6, 2015

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has announced the Visiting Drivers Signature Project (VDSP) will be extended and planned safety improvements fast-tracked following recent crashes involving overseas visitors.

“The Government recognises that many people are concerned with poor driving behaviour on challenging roads in and around popular tourist destinations, particularly in the lower South Island,” Mr Foss says.

That is why we are extending the VDSP to include the West Coast — an area that attracts a large number of tourists.

“A range of planned safety improvements on state highways in Otago and Southland will also be fast-tracked for completion by July 1 this year.”

These improvements include an additional:

50km of centre-line ‘rumble strips’
140km of no-passing markings
200km of highway marked with ‘keep left’ arrows
“This work will improve safety for all road users, including the increasing number of overseas visitors choosing to explore our country by car,” Mr Foss says.

The safety improvements announced today will be in addition to a range of measures already in place in Otago and Southland, including 564km of edge-line rumble strips, 1800km of highway marked with ‘keep left’ arrows, 4755 curve warning signs and 165km of safety barriers.

“Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and these tragedies can be prevented by improving safety in every part of the transport system — vehicles, speeds, road users and the roads themselves,” Mr Foss says.

I would also like to see arrows at exits from tourist attractions showing which side of the road drivers should turn on to.

Rental companies need to take more responsibility for people who hire their vehicles.

A Queenstown company has set a good example with an app it will use to screen drivers.

A Queenstown car hire company is taking the unprecedented move of pre-screening foreign drivers.

Wai Hire Cars is launching an app this week to test its customers’ knowledge of the road rules.

Manager Greg Wensley believed rental firms had a “moral responsibility” for basic screening of customers.

“In some [foreign] countries you can essentially just buy a driver’s licence without having to sit tests.

“In these customers’ hands, our rental cars can become deadly weapons.”

Rental Vehicle Association (RVA) chief executive Barry Kidd said Wai’s driver-screening app was the only one in the country he knew of and he applauded the “good idea. . .

These measures will make roads safer for all users.

However, they won’t change the need for drivers to be alert, concentrate on driving, drive to the conditions, obey road rules and be considerate of other drivers.


March 6 in history

March 6, 2015

1454 Thirteen Years’ War: Delegates of the Prussian Confederation pledged allegiance to King Casimir IV of Poland who agreed to commit his forces in aiding the Confederation’s struggle for independence from the Teutonic Knights.

1475 Michelangelo, Italian artist, was born (d. 1564).

1521 Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Guam.

1788 The First Fleet arrived at Norfolk Island in order to found a convict settlement.

1806 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was born (d. 1861).

1820 The Missouri Compromise was signed into law by President James Monroe  allowing Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, but made the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free.

1836 Battle of the Alamo – After a thirteen day siege by an army of 3,000 Mexican troops, the 187 Texas volunteers defending the Alamo were defeated and the fort was captured.

1853 Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera La Traviata receives its premiere performance in Venice.

1857 – Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States..

1869 Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

1899 Bayer registered aspirin as a trademark.

1917 Frankie Howerd, English comedian, was born (d. 1992).

1921 Portuguese Communist Party was founded as the Portuguese Section of the Communist International.

1926 Alan Greenspan, American economist, 13th Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was born.

1927 Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.

1944  Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealander singer, was born.

1944  Mary Wilson, American singer (The Supremes), was born.

1946 David Gilmour, British musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1947  Kiki Dee, British singer, was born.

1947 Dick Fosbury, American athlete, was born.

1945 Communist-dominated government under Petru Groza assumed power in Romania.

1945 Cologne was captured by American Troops.

1946  Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement with France which recognizes Vietnam as an autonomous state in the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.

1947 The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra made its debut performance – opening the concert in Wellington’s Town Hall with God Save The King the performing selections from Dvorak, Brahms, Butterworth, Enesco, Wagner and Richard Strauss.

Debut performance of NZ Symphony Orchestra

1951 – The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage in the USA began.

1953 Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeded Joseph Stalin as Premier of the Soviet Union and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1957 British colonies Gold Coast and British Togoland became the independent Republic of Ghana.

1964 Nation of Islam’s Elijah Muhammad officially gave boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.

1964 Constantine II became King of Greece.

1967  Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva defected to the United States.

1975 For the first time, ever, the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination was shown in motion to a national TV audience by Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory.

1975 – Algiers Accord: Iran and Iraq announce a settlement of their border dispute.

1981 After 19 years of presenting the CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite signed off for the last time.

1983 The first United States Football League game was played.

1987 The British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in about 90 seconds killing 193.

1988 Three Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists are killed by Special Air Service in  Gibraltar in the conclusion of Operation Flavius.

1992 Michelangelo computer virus began to affect computers.

2006 South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds signed legislation banning most abortions in the state.

2008 A Palestinian gunman shot and killed 8 students and critically injured 11 in the library of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, in Jerusalem.

2009 – US stock markets made an historic “generational low”, with the S&P 500 index reaching an intraday low of 666.79, a level not seen in over 12 years.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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