Word of the day

May 27, 2015

Syzygyeither of the two positions (conjunction or opposition) of a celestial body when sun, earth, and the body lie in a straight line; the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system; a pair of connected or corresponding things.


Rural round-up

May 27, 2015

Olive harvest underway:

The olive industry is welcoming a new processing plant opened in Wairarapa over the weekend.

The Olive Press in Greytown was opened by Primary Industries minister Nathan Guy yesterday, and was expected to be busy over the coming months as growers in Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay prepared to begin the olive harvest.

When we spoke to Olive New Zealand’s president Andrew Taylor he was overlooking snow in Napier this morning, which he said was unlikely to affect the trees. . .

Border clearance levy welcomed:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association are welcoming a border clearance levy, signalled in the Budget 2015 announcement by the Government.

From the start of next year, passengers coming in and out of New Zealand will pay around $16 (inwards) and $6 (outwards) for those departing New Zealand.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said this was an action the organisation had been asking government to consider for some time and so it was good to see some form of user pays applied to those who pose a potential biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s agriculture sector. . . .

MPI risks loss of focus on food safety and biosecurity – Allan Barber:

Most people would almost certainly see the primary role of Ministry for Primary Industries as the protection of New Zealand’s biosecurity, food safety and primary production. The creation of MPI was designed to meet a number of objectives, one of which, probably the most important, must surely have been to ensure a world class agency to deliver this priority.

Since 2012 there has been an increased focus on a series of policy initiatives which appear to the outside observer to be in danger of taking precedence over the core function on which our agricultural sector’s prosperity and survival depend. A reading of the 2013 and 2014 Annual Reports confirms the importance the department attributes to the protection role, but it is only one of a number of business areas which receive equal precedence. . .

Passion2Profit officially joins Primary Growth Partnership:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have announced today that a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, Passion2Profit, will officially begin.

The contract has just been signed for the $16 million, seven-year programme, which is intended to be a game-changer in the production and marketing of venison, delivering $56 million in extra revenues a year from the end of the programme.

Speaking from the Deer Industry annual conference today, DINZ Chief Executive Dan Coup says it’s exciting to be able to begin work on this venture. . .

Minister welcomes new venison PGP programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the formal start of a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme involving the deer industry.

“’Passion2Profit’ is a seven year programme which aims to deliver economic benefits of $56 million per year in additional industry revenue by the end of the programme,” says Mr Guy.

“The partnership between Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries will set the groundwork for major improvements in the production and marketing of New Zealand venison. . .

UC Forestry part of new multi-million forestry industry research:

The University of Canterbury is part of a new $14 million, seven year collaborative research effort aimed at maximising the value and export earnings of the forestry industry.

The Government recently announced it will invest the research funding in the effort, to be matched dollar for dollar by the forestry industry. The programme will be led by industry-operated entity Future Forests Research, in collaboration with Scion, UC, and the New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative. The Government funding is provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Research Partnerships Programme. Industry fiunding is being provided by Forest Growers Levy Trust and a number of leading forestry companies and Farm Forestry Association. . .

Trust provides funding for two initiatives to benefit New Zealand wine industry

The Cresswell Jackson New Zealand Wine Trust has awarded funding for two University of Otago projects, both designed to benefit the country’s wine industry.
 
The first was awarded to Associate Professor David J Burritt of the Department of Botany to undertake research concerning the process of extracting phenolics during the winemaking process. Professor Burritt said, “The wine industry is incredibly important to the New Zealand economy. We are very grateful to receive this grant, which will be used to support our research investigating the potential for pulsed electric fields (PEF) technology to be used in the New Zealand wine industry.” . . .

SSanford Reports Satisfactory Result and Marks Shift in Customer Focus in Six Month Result:

. . . Sanford Limited, New Zealand’s largest commercial fishing and aquaculture company, has recorded an 18.1% rise in its EBITDA in its interim report for the six months ending 31 March 2015. EBITDA increased to $33.9m from $28.7m for the same period last year. Profitability was affected by one-off impairment charges with respect to Sanford’s fleet and plant and equipment at the Christchurch mussel processing plant. Net profit after tax for the six months was down 18.3% from $11.7m in 2014 to $9.6m for the current half year.

Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch says the result is satisfactory, given the challenging conditions faced in international markets. “In particular, in the last three months of the period, we have seen improving results. The team has worked really hard to lift our revenue. Initially, the period was marked by lacklustre sales for a few months, primarily due to weak currencies and political upheaval in some of our important export markets.” . .

2013 vintage wines “amongst the greatest red wines produced in New Zealand”:

GIMBLETT GRAVELS® 2013 Annual Vintage Selection revealed

The sixth year of this initiative from the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA), the Annual Vintage Selection serves as a unique snapshot of a particular vintage and helps to chart the evolution of GIMBLETT GRAVELS® wines on a vintage by vintage basis.

The highly acclaimed palate of Sydney based Master of Wine Andrew Caillard MW has been the independent selector for all six vintages, 2008-2013, inclusive. The 2013 selection was the most comprehensive yet, with a record 46 GGWA members’ wines submitted for selection. . .

Taranaki-based AgriPeople are your rural recruitment and People Management experts:

Working with agricultural employers and employees, AgriPeople focus on creating lasting relationships by using practical tools and applying a practical approach.

AgriPeople is made up of a stellar group of highly professional consultants and administrators. “Our consultants all continue to grow through professional development,” says Racquel Cleaver, Consultant and Director of AgriPeople. . .


Westland forecasts increased payout next season

May 27, 2015

Westland Milk Products has confrimed its milk payout for this season and forecast an increased payout for the 2015-16 season:

The Hokitika-based company will pay $4.90 to $5.10 per kilogram of milk solids before retentions this season, having reduced its forecast for the payment for a third time in April. For 2015-16, it expects the payout to rise to between $5.60 and $6.00/kgMS. . .

Westland chief executive Rod Quin while his company’s projection “might be more optimistic than some in the New Zealand dairy industry, it is our considered forecast of the expected outcomes for the approaching season.”

Quin said dairy prices are expected to recover as the 2015-16 season progresses, although “they’re expected to remain relatively low due to ongoing milk supply pressure from the US and the European Union.”

“One bright spot is that Chinese whole milk powder buyers are expected to return with more demand in early 2016,” he said. . .

That’s good news for farmers, those who service and supply them and the wider economy.

Fonterra will make its announcement tomorrow.

Keith Woodford says the advance payment is more important than the forecast:

Most pundits are suggesting an overall expected price for 2015/16 of between $5 and $6 per kg milksolids. But right now that estimate, which is little more than a guess, is largely irrelevant. It is the advance price that counts down on the farm, but which the media largely ignores.

The Fonterra advance payments are also important for Synlait and Open Country suppliers. These investor-oriented companies pay whatever they need to stay competitive with Fonterra.

Fonterra pays what are called ‘advance’ payments on the 20th of the month following when the milk is received. The rest of it dribbles in through to October of the following year.

In a normal year, Fonterra pays these so-called advances at about 65% of the expected final payout. But this year could be different. That is because Fonterra’s own cash inflows during the first half of the year will be modest.

The advance payout keeps money coming in though winter and early spring when cows are dried off and through calving until herds are in full production.

So how should Fonterra price the advance payouts? Should they be priced as a percentage of the early season prices, or should they be based on best estimates of the final price?
If Fonterra bases its advance payments on the current prices, then some farmers are in for a shock. The advances could be well under $4, with a likely figure being in the ‘low threes’.
If Fonterra bases the advance on overall expected prices, then the advance could be closer to $4.
The problem with the second scenario is that the overall price for the coming 2015/16 season is still such a guess. Despite the pundits predicting prices between $5 and $6, the reality is that it could be anywhere between about $4 and $7, or even outside that range.

Last year at this same time, Fonterra was predicting $7 per kg milksolids for the 2014/15 year. Yet the latest estimate for the 2014/15 season, which is now about to end, is $4.50. Surely that should convince everyone that estimating milk prices this far out is almost total guesswork. Quite simply, no-one knows.

The weather, value of our dollar, what our competitors do and supply and demand are all variables which make accurate forecasting difficult.

Everyone knows that international dairy prices are currently very low, but less well understood is the lags inherent in the system. Given those lags, most farmers will have received milk cheques during the current 2014/15 year in excess of $6 per kg of milksolids actually supplied. This is despite the estimate for the year about to end as being $4.50. It is only now that the cash crunch is beginning to bite.

Most farmers will receive some very modest payments in June for their May production, nothing in July, and then some tiny retro payments in August, September and October.
The new season’s payments will include the advance payment on 20th September for August production, with increasing payments in the following months as spring production cranks up. But if advance payments are only in the ‘low threes’, then for many farmers the overdrafts will continue to rise.

Down on the farms, there is a lot of frustration at Fonterra’s failure to accurately predict prices. But that is not Fonterra’s fault; it is the simple reality of global commodity markets. . .

No-one would have predicted going from prices which supported a record payout of more than $8 last season to little more than half that this season.


Opposing for opposing’s sake

May 27, 2015

Labour is opposing for opposing’s sake and in doing so shows it doesn’t know who its constituency is anymore.

Take the criticism of the government’s plan to sell public land in Auckland to help increase the supply of housing:

The Labour Party has accused the Government of planning to build on land that includes a power sub-station, pylons, a cemetery, a fire station and school playing fields. . .

There have been suggestions that children living near pylons have a greater risk of developing leukemia after a cluster of cases. However, that was thought to be a coincidence not the cause.

As for the rest of the land – why shouldn’t houses be built on playing fields if they’re surplus to the schools’ requirements and what’s wrong with living near a cemetery or fire station? Lots of people already do and how will they feel about Labour when it’s disparaging about the location of their homes?

It is wasteful for the government to sit on land it doesn’t need. There’s the opportunity cost of the value of the land and it costs ratepayers because public land isn’t rateable.

Then there’s the angst about the end of the $100 kickstart for KiwiSaver.

Inland revenue’s regulatory impact found that KiwiSaver hasn’t substantially increased savings despite encouraging enrolment of a large number of individuals.

The KiwiSaver scheme currently costs around $800 million in subsidies per annum and the Government has spent in excess of $6 billion on it since inception in 2006 . There are currently two subsidies: a one – off $1,000 kick-start payment paid to all new enrolees in the scheme (the kick-start) and an annual member tax credit paid to members of up to a maximum of $521 (annual MTC). The scheme also has ongoing Inland Revenue administration costs.

A seven year evaluation of KiwiSaver concluded in 2014 . . .The Evaluation has broadly found that the scheme has been successful in attracting significant numbers of members and Inland Revenue’s role in the scheme has functioned well. However, the scheme has delivered very poor value for the Crown’s subsidies. A high degree of leakage to people outside the target group for KiwiSaver and substitution from other savings has occurred. Estimates range from zero to one-third of KiwiSaver balances representing new household savings. . .

 The scheme delivers poor value for the public subsidies, most of the subsidies go to people who need it least and it hasn’t led to a significant increase in overall savings.

If Labour really thinks that it is better to subsidise the savings of people more able to help themselves than to spend the money on those in genuine need it really has lost its way.


Flag of the day

May 27, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1500 in the gallery already.

This is FernZealand by Gerad Taylor:

flag

 


Quote of the day

May 27, 2015
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.Terry Pratchett

May 27 in history

May 27, 2015

893  Simeon I of Bulgaria crowned emperor of the first Bulgarian empire.

927 Battle of the Bosnian Highlands: Croatian army, led by King Tomislav, defeated the Bulgarian Army.

927  Simeon the Great, Tsar of Bulgaria, died.

1120  Richard III of Capua was anointed as prince two weeks before his untimely death.

1153 Malcolm IV became King of Scotland.

1328  Philip VI was crowned King of France.

1626 William II, Prince of Orange was born(d. 1650).

1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg.

1798 The Battle of Oulart Hill took place in Wexford.

1812  Bolivian War of Independence: the Battle of La Coronilla, in which the women from Cochabamba fought against the Spanish army.

1813  War of 1812: In Canada, American forces captured Fort George.

1837 Wild Bill Hickok, American gunfighter, was born  (d. 1876).

1849  The Great Hall of Euston station in London was opened.

1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi began his attack on Palermo, Sicily, as part of the Italian Unification.

1863  American Civil War: First Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson.

1878 Isadora Duncan, American dancer ws born (d. 1927).

1883 Alexander III was crowned Tsar of Russia.

1895  Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy.

1896 The F4-strength St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado killed at least 255 people and causing $2.9 billion in damage.

1905 Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima began.

1907  Bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco, California.

1908  Maulana Hakeem Noor-ud-Din was elected the first Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

1911  Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States,  was born (d. 1978).

1912  John Cheever, American author, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Herman Wouk, American writer, was born.

1919  The NC-4 aircraft arrived in Lisbon after completing the first transatlantic flight.

1922  Sir Christopher Lee, English actor, was born.

1923 Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1927  Ford ceased manufacture of the Ford Model T and began to retool plants to make the Ford Model A.

1930  The 1,046 feet (319 m) Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.

1933 New Deal: The U.S. Federal Securities Act is signed into law requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.

1933 – The Walt Disney Company released the cartoon The Three Little Pigs, with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

1933 – The Century of Progress World’s Fair opened in Chicago.

1935  New Deal: The Supreme Court of the United States declared the National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional in A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, (295 U.S. 495).

1937  The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.

1940  World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 99 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit were shot after surrendering to German troops.

1941 World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency”.

1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck was sunk in the North Atlantic killing almost 2,100 men.

1942  World War II: In Operation Anthropoid, Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague.

1943 Cilla Black, English singer and presenter, was born.

1954 Pauline Hanson, Australian politician, was born.

1957 Toronto’s CHUM-AM, (1050 kHz) became  Canada’s first radio station to broadcast only top 40 Rock n’ Roll music format.

1958 Neil Finn, New Zealand singer and songwriter (Split Enz, Crowded House), was born.

1958  The F-4 Phantom II made its first flight.

1960  In Turkey, a military coup removed President Celal Bayar and the rest of the democratic government from office.

1962 The Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire started.

1965 Vietnam War: American warships began the first bombardment of National Liberation Front targets within South Vietnam.

1967  Australians voted in favour of a constitutional referendum granting the Australian government the power to make laws to benefit Indigenous Australians and to count them in the national census.

1967  The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy was launched  Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline.

1968  The meeting of the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of the Students of France) took place. 30,000 to 50,000 people gathered in the Stade Sebastien Charlety.

1971 The Dahlerau train disaster, the worst railway accident in West Germany, killed46 people and injured 25.

1975 Jamie Oliver, English chef and television personality, was born.

1975  The Dibble’s Bridge coach crash near Grassington, North Yorkshire killed  32 – the highest ever death toll in a road accident in the United Kingdom.

1980 The Gwangju Massacre: Airborne and army troops of South Korea retook the city of Gwangju from civil militias, killing at least 207.

1987 Artist Colin McCahon died.

Death of Colin McCahon

1995 Actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition.

1996 First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiated a cease-fire.

1997  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Paula Jones could pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton while he was in office.

1999  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.

2005 Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Kerobokan Prison for drug smuggling by a court in Indonesia.

2006 The May 2006 Java earthquake devastated  Bantul and the city of Yogyakarta killing more than  6,600 people.

2009 – A suicide bombing killed at least 35 people and injured 250 more in Lahore, Pakistan.

2009 – Soyuz TMA-15 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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