Word of the day

June 10, 2015

Alftazimuth – a telescope mounting that moves in azimuth (about a vertical axis) and in altitude (about a horizontal axis; an instrument for establishing the altitude and asimuth of the stars and planets; the coordinate system in which a celestial object’s position is described in terms of its altitude and azimuth; a surveying instrument for measuring vertical and horizontal angles, resembling a theodolite but larger and more precise.

Rural round-up

June 10, 2015

Two options for Wairarapa water storage:

Two options for water storage schemes in the Wairarapa have been selected for a feasibility study after six other options were ruled out.

A four-year investigation by the Wairarapa Water Use Project will now consider building reservoirs near Masterton at Black Creek and Tividale.

The two reservoirs would irrigate about 30,000 hectares from Masterton to Lake Wairarapa.

An independent study calculates the scheme could add $157 million to the Wellington regional economy each year and create 1,200 new jobs. . .

 Plea for open minds on Wairarapa water project:

A Wairarapa farming leader is asking people to keep an open mind on plans for large scale irrigation in the region as a feasibility study begins on two potential dam sites.

Following four years of investigation so far, the Wairarapa Water Use Project will focus on building reservoirs near Masterton, at Black Creek and Tividale.

They could irrigate almost 30,000 hectares, stretching from north of Masterton and southwest of Greytown to the north of Lake Wairarapa. . .

Young couple learn from old hands – Barbara Gillham:

AFTER several years’ farm leasing, sheep and beef farmers Tom Cranswick and his fiancé Ellie Meadows see the equity partnership they have recently entered as an exciting step in their farming career.

In April the couple became equity partners with brothers Peter and Andrew Gawith and their wives on an 830ha-effective farm near Gladstone, Wairarapa.

The farm has been in the Gawith family for three generations, and Peter has been farming it since taking it over from his parents. Andrew is an economist who lives and works in Wellington. . .

Fieldays fencer aims for 60th birthday win – Te Ahua Maitland:

After 40 years of competing, Nick Liefting is preparing to lace up his boots one last time for this year’s Fieldays at Mystery Creek Golden Pliers fencing competition.

The Pukekohe contractor is set to retire following his 60th birthday. His presence this year will make him the first 60-year-old to compete at the Golden Pliers competition, an achievement which crowns appearances that started when he was just 19. . .

Biowaste key ingredient for growing profits:

New research from Lincoln University suggests biowaste can be used on former pine plantations to generate big economic returns.
Four years of research in a greenhouse environment found the waste, which might include sewage and dairy shed effluent, can be used to rapidly establish native vegetation on former pine forest soils.

Early estimates suggest the natives could produce a financial return of over $200 million annually. . .

Be more than just average statistics: 

Averages are a great mathematical tool and brilliant for hiding poorer performing results because they get dragged up by higher results.
Unfortunately the reverse also happens: the top performing results get dragged down into the general population. This is fine when we are only interested in trends in the status quo, but the dairy industry today needs change.

The dairy industry faces a number of challenges – environmental, welfare and profitability to name a few. . .



Photography then and now

June 10, 2015

Photography now and then

Flag of the day

June 10, 2015

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

There are more than 2000 in the gallery already.

This one is NZ by Lai James:



Medical decision not political

June 10, 2015

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has given permission for a teenager in an induced coma to be given medical marijuana. 

Nineteen-year-old Alex Renton, from Nelson, is in Wellington Hospital suffering from refractory status epilepticus, which causes him to suffer from repeated seizures.pticus, which causes him to suffer from repeated seizures.

 It is  not known what is causing them but it is believed his body’s immune system is turning against itself.

Capital and Coast District Health Board applied to the Ministry of Health and Mr Dunne to use Elixinol, a cannabis-based product from the US which had been shown to relieve some forms of epilepsy.

Mr Dunne today said he was approving its use for Mr Renton on compassionate grounds.

“Despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of [the drug] in patients with Mr Renton’s condition, status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton’s individual case,” Mr Dunne said. . . . 

Shouldn’t a decision on medicine be a medical one not a political one?


Quality and results matter most

June 10, 2015

The government accounts were in surplus for the second time this financial year:

The Government’s $448 million OBEGAL surplus in the 10 months to 30 April – around $1 billion better than the $555 million deficit forecast in the Budget – highlights the inherent volatility in monthly fiscal results, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“We’ve always said small differences between large revenue and expenditure numbers can lead to swings of several hundred million dollars in the OBEGAL balance,” he says. “From the Government’s point of view, what matters is the quality of our spending, the results we get from that spending and clear improvement in our overall fiscal direction.

This government recognises that the quality of the spend and the results it gets are what matter.

That contrasts with previous administrations which put more emphasis on the quantity of their spend, regardless of whether it made a positive difference.

“We won’t know whether we will make surplus for the full year until we see the final accounts in October. But it’s clear it will be a close run thing.”

April was the second month this financial year where the Government has achieved a surplus, following a $77 million surplus in the seven months to 31 January.

The April surplus was the result of core Crown tax revenue being $437 million ahead of Treasury’s budget forecasts, core Crown expenditure being $420 million below forecast and results from State Owned Enterprises and Crown entities being $172 million better than forecast.

“The Treasury advises that, based on the April results, there is now some upside risk in both tax revenue and Crown expenses,” Mr English says. “However, it’s not yet clear how much of this latest overall improvement will carry through to the full year’s result.

“Whatever happens, the Government will continue with its responsible and balanced economic and fiscal programme, which is taking New Zealand in the right direction.”

The return to surplus is important, but whether it happens this year or next doesn’t matter nearly as much as the continuation of responsible management of public money and using it on policies which get the right results.

Quote of the day

June 10, 2015

“For your own good” is a persuasive argument that will eventually make man agree to his own destruction.Janet Frame, Faces in the Water

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