Word of the day

May 11, 2015

 Kaffeeklatsch an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation; gossip over cups of coffee.


Rural round-up

May 11, 2015

$48m contract signed to expand NOIC scheme – David Bruce:

A $48 million contract has been signed to extend the North Otago irrigation scheme to another 10,000ha, with work to start this month and water expected to be flowing in September next year.

It is the major cost of the expansion, which is expected to total about $57 million once company and design costs are added.

The North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) and McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd signed the infrastructure contract on Thursday after enough farmers had committed to the scheme in December for the expansion to the Kakanui Valley.  .  .

Government invests in Primary Industry Research Centre:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see two of the country’s top research institutes’ second application for Government funding under the CoREs (Centre of Research Excellence) has been successful.

The two institutes, The Riddet Institute (Massey University) and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (Lincoln University) are crucial to New Zealand’s primary industries and have each made significant advances for New Zealand’s economy, society and the environment thanks to previous Government funding.

“I am thrilled that these highly innovative research centres have made it through the selection process and will now be able to continue their crucial work in sustainable pest management solutions and food science and human health,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President. . .

Carpet wool comes into fashion:

New Zealand strong wool, renowned for its use in carpets, is set to become world famous for a new use – on people’s feet.

Danish footwear firm Glerups has signed a two-year deal with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and New Zealand’s largest farming company, Landcorp to exclusively supply strong wool for its indoor shoe range.

The indoor shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are felted in 100% pure natural wool with soft leather soles. They are sold throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, including New Zealand (www.glerups.co.nz). . .

Climate Change Conversation welcomed:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s public consultation on climate change, ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, in December.

“We live in a global world, where as much as we are a part of its problems we are a part of its solutions,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Climate Change Spokesperson.

“It is important that the public are a part of the discussion in setting New Zealand‘s post 2020 climate change target. A critical element to having that discussion is that everyone understands the issues and trade-offs involved in setting our contribution.”

“New Zealand’s economy is driven by exports with 73 percent of our merchandise exports coming from the primary industries, worth $35.2 billion. UN projections have the global population peaking at 11 billion by 2075 and the FAO estimates that agricultural output must increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet this growth. While New Zealand cannot feed the world we will play our part. It would be irresponsible of us to squander or underutilise our resources.” . . .

Unlocking secrets behind footrot:

New Zealand’s fine wool sector is a step closer to eradicating footrot thanks to ground-breaking research in sheep genetics.

The FeetFirst project, part of a Primary Growth Partnership between the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries, is using genetic testing to identify fine-wool sheep with resistance to footrot.  Researchers are now close to developing a simple test for growers to eliminate footrot using selective breeding. . .

Fund helps township with projects

A Waitaki Valley township is cashing in on its history as tourism grows, particularly because of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

Duntroon is undergoing a transformation to re-create its history, with the help of more than $100,000 so far from the Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund.

The Duntroon Development Association is leading the work, based on a community vision conceived about 12 years ago, with several projects, including restoration of Nicol’s Forge and a wetland area.

”It’s fantastic what’s been achieved,” association spokesman Mike Gray said yesterday. . .

Adventure & outdoor conference focusing on the future:

Adventure and outdoor tourism operators will have the opportunity to focus on growing their sector at a one-day conference in July, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

The Great Adventure 2015, the only conference specifically for New Zealand’s adventure and outdoor tourism sector, will take place in Wellington on 2-3 July 2015. Registrations open today at www.tianz.org.nz/main/The_Great_Adventure_2015

Now in its third year, The Great Adventure will focus on growing a strong and unified sector that succeeds and leads at every level from safety to profitability. . .


Things to do in Oamaru

May 11, 2015

This video shows some the Oamaru’s attractions and is accompanied by this commentary:

5×1 can be realistically accomplished in Oamaru and the surrounding Waitaki area as everything you need is right at your doorstep. Coastal Otago is perfect as it boasts an abundance of natural wildlife and breathtaking beaches, the beautiful Historic town of Oamaru, and a vibrant culture of creative and passionate people, attract young tourists to the region. Being a small town is not a negative for the youth traveller, as having a unique one-on-one experience with the locals (and eating amazing food for small town prices) is a once-in-a-trip lucky find, with many travellers revisiting and bringing their friends along on their next trip. Don’t let Oamaru wait to be found, New Zealand’s coolest town (‘Seven Sharp’ Public Poll) is the best place to plan your next holiday.


Targeting earthquake risk

May 11, 2015

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced a targeted approach to building regulations for earthquake safety at the National Party’s Mainland conference yesterday:

“The priority in developing this earthquake strengthening policy for buildings is public safety and minimising future fatalities. We also need to ensure the response is proportionate to the risk, that the costs are minimised and that we retain as much of our built heritage as possible,” Dr Smith says.

The four significant changes to the policy are:

  • Varying the timetable for strengthening relative to earthquake risk
  • Prioritising education and emergency buildings for strengthening
  • Reducing the number of buildings requiring assessment; and
  • Introducing new measures to encourage earlier upgrades.

“The timeframe for identification and assessment of five years and strengthening of 15 years is to be varied relative to seismic risk. The return period for a significant earthquake (MM8) ranges from 120 years in Wellington, to 720 years in Christchurch, to 1700 years in Dunedin, and only once every 7400 years in Auckland. New Zealand is to be categorised into low, medium and high seismic risk zones with timeframes for assessment of five, 10 and 15 years and strengthening of 15, 25 and 35 years,” Dr Smith says.

“Education and emergency buildings will be targeted by requiring that in high and medium seismic risk areas they be identified and strengthened in half the standard time. We are prioritising all education buildings regularly occupied by 20 people or more. We also want to ensure buildings like hospitals can maintain services in the aftermath of a significant earthquake.

“The scope of buildings requiring assessment is to be reduced from an estimated 500,000 to 30,000. We are excluding farm buildings, retaining walls, fences, monuments, wharves, bridges, tunnels and storage tanks. The new methodology for identifying earthquake-prone buildings will ensure the focus is on older buildings like unreinforced masonry that pose the greatest risk.

“Building owners are to be encouraged to upgrade their buildings ahead of the allowable timeframe by establishing a web based public register and requiring notices on such buildings highlighting the level of risk. There will also be a new requirement to strengthen earthquake-prone buildings when doing substantial alterations.”

The Government also confirmed that the earthquake-prone building definition as being less than 34 per cent of the new building standard (NBS), a 10-year extension for listed heritage buildings, and exemptions from strengthening for low risk, low occupancy buildings, would remain in the policy.

“The effect of these policy changes is that buildings like schools, universities and hospitals in high and medium seismic risk areas will have to be upgraded more quickly, but buildings in low risk areas like Auckland and Dunedin more gradually. This more targeted approach reduces the estimated cost from $1360 million to $777 million while retaining the safety gains. The policy will result in an estimated 330 fewer deaths and 360 fewer serious injuries from earthquakes over the next century,” Dr Smith says.

“The select committee is considering the Bill and will be reporting back to Parliament in July with passage later this year. We will also be consulting on the detailed regulations like the assessment methodology, the Earthquake-Prone Buildings Register, the building notice requirements and the definition of substantial alterations.

“There are no easy answers to the seismic risk posed by thousands of older buildings in New Zealand. We cannot completely eliminate the risk to life, nor save every heritage building, nor avoid a bill for hundreds of millions in upgrading. This is the most comprehensive policy of any seismically active country for dealing with older buildings and strikes the right balance between safety, cost, heritage and practicality.”

The Minister’s full speech is here.

The schedule of the revised timetable by location is here.

A map of the new zones is here.

This policy is pragmatic and practical and has been greeted positively.

The Construction Strategy Group says it is realistic:

The targeted risk-based policy adopted by the Government toward strengthening of earthquake-prone buildings appears realistic for the circumstances with which the country is dealing says the Construction Strategy Group (CSG).

Chairman of the CSG, Geoff Hunt, said today that in adopting a measured position reflective of the realities that earthquake risk in New Zealand varies significantly between regions the Government was taking a realistic approach.

“A policy which puts aside more onerous and unreasonable requirements for upgrading commercial structures in low risk regions, and disposes of top level upgrades for little-used farm sheds and such buildings as isolated rural country churches, is practical and sensible,” he says.

“The CSG has long advocated a policy that takes account of risk factors. It is supportive of the intention to set a ‘must upgrade’ base line of 34 percent of today’s new building standard. The new time frames for upgrading earthquake-prone structures are also helpful in bringing cost factors into line with affordability.

“The regional categorisation of regions into low, medium and high risk zones will allow local government to take a realistic policy approach.

“The openness to public scrutiny of a building’s earthquake resistance status is also helpful to public safety. It will also ensure constant pressure on building owners with at risk buildings to have them brought up to speed sooner rather than later.

“Priority focus on upgrading the 30,000 most at risk buildings and on upgrading schools and hospitals is a matter of necessity.”

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the move was positive:

He said strengthening must still go ahead, but he was pleased Dr Smith had listened to the concerns of southern councils which had lobbied him ”intensively” for two years for change.

”To his credit, he’s listened to those concerns and yes, he will [now] adjust according to [earthquake] risk,” Mr Cull said when contacted last night.

Mr Cull said the ”one size fits all” edict had been detrimental to the lower South Island because of the large number of older buildings.

”Basically, it would have been uneconomic to fix [earthquake proof] them and a lot would have had to be demolished,” Mr Cull said.

The first policy proposed for earthquake safety measures took no account of risk.

Owners of historic buildings in low risk areas like Oamaru and Dunedin would have been forced to demolish their buildings because they would not have been able to do meet the proposed standard in the proposed time.

This policy takes a much more balanced approach based on risk.

It doesn’t mean that earthquakes won’t strike low risk areas nor that a quake won’t kill people.

The Minister rightly says We cannot completely eliminate the risk to life, nor save every heritage building, nor avoid a bill for hundreds of millions in upgrading.

This policy balances risk and cost.


Quote of the day

May 11, 2015
Hollow commitments to action in the future are insufficient. Deferring difficult issues must not be tolerated. Our children and grandchildren expect us to speak and act decisively. Dame Jenny Shipley

May 11 in history

May 11, 2015

330 Byzantium was renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but was more popularly referred to as Constantinople.

1310 In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.

1647 Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.

1745 War of Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy –French forces defeated an AngloDutch-Hanoverian army.

1792 Captain Robert Gray became the first documented European to sail into the Columbia River.

1799 John Lowell, American philanthropist, was born (d. 1836).

1812 Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.

1813 William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth led an expedition westwards from Sydney. Their route opened up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.

1820 Launch of HMS Beagle, the ship that took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.

1852 Charles W. Fairbanks, 26th United States Vice President was born (d. 1918).

1857 Indian Mutiny: Indian rebels seized Delhi from the British.

1862 American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia was scuttled in the James River.

1867 Luxembourg gained its independence.

1875  Harriet Quimby, American aviator, was born (d. 1912).

1888 Irving Berlin, American composer, was born (d. 1989).

1891 The Ōtsu Incident : Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Imperial Russia (Nicholas II) was critically injured by the sword attack by a Japanese policeman Tsuda Sanzō.

1892  Margaret Rutherford, English actress, was born (d. 1972).

1894 Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on a wildcat strike in Illinois.

1904 Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter was born (d. 1989).

1907 A derailment outside Lompoc, California killed 32 Shriners when their chartered train derails at a switch near Surf Depot.

1910 An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

1918 The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was officially established.

1924 Mercedes-Benz was formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging their two companies.

1927 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.

1942  William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, was published.

1943  World War II: American troops invaded Attu Island..

1944 World War II: The Allies started a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.

1945 Captain Charles Upham was presented with the VC and Bar.

Upham presented with VC and Bar

1945  World War II: The aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill, was hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of her crew.

1946 UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) was created.

1949  Siam officially changed its name to Thailand for the second time.

1953  The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado hit downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.

1960 In Buenos Aires four Israeli Mossad agents captured fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann, living under the assumed name Ricardo Klement.

1960 – The first contraceptive pill was made available on the market.

1967 – Andreas Papandreou, Greek economist and socialist politician, was imprisoned in Athens by the Greek military junta.

1970 The Lubbock Tornado a F5 tornado hits Lubbock, Texas, killing 26 and causing $250 million in damage.

1984 A transit of Earth from Mars took place.

1985  Fifty-six spectators died when a flash fire struck the Valley Parade football ground during a match in Bradford, England.

1987  Klaus Barbie went on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.

1987 The first heart-lung transplant took place, performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine.

1995 More than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

1996  A fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 caused the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.

1997 IBM Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

1998 India conducted three underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including a thermonuclear device.

2000 Effective date of Canada’s first modern-day treaty – The Nisga’a Final Agreement.

2000 – Second Chechen War: Chechen separatists ambushed Russian paramilitary forces in the Republic of Ingushetia.

2010 – David Cameron became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following talks between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form the UK’s first coalition government since World War 2 after elections produced a hung parliament.

2013 – At least 46 people were killed by a pair of car bombs in Reyhanlı, Turkey.

2014 – 15 people are killed and 46 injured in Kinshasa in a stampede caused by tear gas being thrown into the stand by police officers attempting to defuse a hostile incident.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: