Word of the day

June 12, 2015

Adimpleate – fill up.


Rural round-up

June 12, 2015

Commission opens consultation on dairy competition review:

The Commerce Commission today released a consultation paper outlining its proposed approach, timeframes and scope for its review of the state of competition in the New Zealand dairy industry.

Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said the Commission was now seeking submissions on its proposed approach.

“Our review will look at whether the regulations are helping or hindering the efficient operation of the New Zealand dairy industry. To do this we intend to examine how competition has developed since Fonterra was established and what it might look like in the future,” Dr Gale said. . .

 Te Kuiti farmer appointed to Deer Industry New Zealand board:

William Oliver of Te Kuiti has been appointed to the Deer Industry NZ board for a three-year term.

One of three candidates for a vacant producer position on the eight-strong board, he was appointed yesterday following interviews by the Deer Farmers Association’s Selection and Appointments Panel.

Panel chair Paddy Boyd says a “robust” interview process highlighted the skills of the candidates.

“It is very reassuring in terms of governance and succession to have people of William’s calibre standing for the board, especially at a time when Deer Industry NZ has major initiatives underway to build deer farm profitability and to halt the decline in the national herd,” he said. . .

 Centrus 84 takes out International Innovation Award:

Waikato Milking Systems has taken out the International Innovation Award with its Centrus 84 Rotary Platform at Fieldays® 2015.

The Centrus 84 is the first fully-composite rotary platform and is 80% lighter than previous platforms and five times stronger.

“Sometimes you get a feel for something,” says Executive Manager Dave Cassells. “When I saw the concept drawings for this one, I knew we had something unique.

Federated Farmers Fielday Seminar: ‘Precision agriculture’ :

Agri Innovation expert, Mark Burgess, has told Federated Farmers seminar at the Mystery Creek Fieldays this morning that automation is king amongst the technology options for farmers.

He said that automation is the primary driver for farmers investing in new technologies on-farm whereas technologies that support improved farm management are lagging.

“Farmers are at risk of being overwhelmed with more data than they can make use of, however we are beginning to see integration through increasingly sophisticated farm management software, which is removing barriers enabling farmers to use more technology in support of their farm management decisions.” . . .

Cow sickness not from genetic modification:

Federated Farmers’ President and science spokesperson William Rolleston says recent stock sickness or deaths are likely to have been caused by a high sugar content in the fodder beet they have been eating.

“It’s got nothing to do with genetic modification as GE Free New Zealand has speculated.  Fodder beet has only recently been brought into widespread use in New Zealand and unfortunately some farmers are still coming to terms with how to best feed it to their stock.”

“We know there is a problem with stock feed transition and there is some cautious advice, such as that from Dairy New Zealand, on how to manage feed of fodder beet without complications.” . .

Fieldays a pathway into the primary industries – Chris Lewis:

Today marked the start of Fieldays, an event I have enjoyed going to since a kid, now I take my two children to experience it. I guess it’s a pathway into the primary industries where you start as a young one looking at all the agriculture equipment, eventually graduating to talking shop with sales reps and renewing relationships with your key suppliers.

My children remember the farm servicing people that came on farm to help us and then recognise them again at Fieldays when we talk business. This is how relationships start for generations and good companies recognise this with many businesses I deal with being family owned and generational. . .

New partnership to provide enhanced pasture management for farmers:

Farmer-owned co-operative LIC has entered into a partnership with Precision Farming Ltd, supplier of GIS-based systems that manage the application of farm nutrients to optimise pasture growth including fertiliser and effluent.

The two companies have signed an agreement whereby Precision will share its nutrient management functionality for integration with the co-op’s MINDA farm management system used by more than 90 per cent of NZ dairy farmers.

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee said it would provide enhanced information for farmers about their pasture and feed availability. . .

 

KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2015 highlights the importance of improved rural broadband:

Today’s release at NZ National Field Days by TUANZ member, KPMG, of the Agribusiness Agenda 2015 highlights the importance of improving access in the rural sector to high speed broadband. The Agenda notes that since the last release in 2014 there has been an increased priority attached to delivering high speed rural broadband. This year it has risen four places in a list of strategic issues of concern to be the second equal along with food safety. The first issue of concern being ensuring a world-class biosecurity system.

Ian Proudfoot, KPMG Global Head of Agribusiness, said that “Fast connectivity in rural areas not only supports economic growth. It enhances healthcare delivery, overcomes isolation, and enables the unemployed to develop skills and become productive.” . .

 


Friday’s answers

June 12, 2015

J Bloggs and Teltext posed the questions for which they get my thanks.

They earned an electronic batch of caramel square for stumping us all, it can be collected by leaving the answers below.


Flag of the day

June 12, 2015

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

There are more than 3000 in the gallery already.

Rate The Flag lets you choose between different options.

The top three now are:

Southern Cross on Black by W. Samuels; A Piece of History by Monico B. Faller, Jr.; and Silver Fern Black and White by Alofi Kanter

6501.jpg 

Southern Cross On Black (#6501)

This design incorporates the southern cross in the national colours of black and white.

The southern cross is retained in the same position as it is in the current New Zealand flag, with the addition of the fifth star of the constellation for visual balance.

A predominantly black flag would be unique on the world stage, bold and extremely identifiable.

 

5032.jpg

A Piece Of History 3 (#5032)

By just looking at my NZ Flag design, you will remember a piece of history of New Zealand.

The fern represents New Zealand. The left side of the fern represents the North Island and the nine leaves represent the nine Regions of the North Island namely, Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Whanganui, and Wellington.

The right side of the fern represents the South Island and the seven leaves represent the seven Regions of the South Island namely, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

The five stars of the Southern Cross represent the first five cities of New Zealand under the Municipal Corporations Act 1876 namely, Dunedin (1865), Christchurch (1868), Wellington (1870), Auckland (1871) and Nelson (1874).

The blue colour symbolises the sky, pacific sea, peace and serenity. The white colour symbolises purity and cleanliness. The green colour symbolises the nature, trees, forests, grass, etc.

9991.jpg

Silver Fern Black & White (#9991)

Just the Silver Fern. Black and white. On a flag 1:2. Saying loud and clear: New Zealand.

The concept is similar to that of Kyle Lockwood. This design is simple and pure, without added stars, using the national colour instead of traditional ones.


‘Choice’ between sustainability and prosperity false dichotomy

June 12, 2015

The ‘choice’ between sustainability and prosperity is a false dichotomy, Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf said in a speech at the Fieldays.

There is a lot more in the speech, entitled Making Informed Decisions about our Natural Resources, which I am reproducing in full:

Hello, it’s a pleasure to be here with so many people who help our primary sector to thrive.

We live in a remarkable country, one that’s rich in natural beauty and wealthy in natural resources. New Zealand has plentiful, fresh water; clean air; fertile soil and a climate well-suited to growing things. We have long coastlines and significant aquaculture resources; sizeable mineral and petroleum reserves; and extraordinary bio-diversity.

 The World Bank estimates that New Zealand ranks eighth out of 120 countries and second out of the 34 OECD countries in natural capital per capita, which helps explain why three-quarters of our merchandise exports are from the primary sector. While primary sector exports may have dipped over the past year, steady growth is expected in the four years ahead.

Of course a big part of those exports come from the dairy industry, and I know there’s concern about the direction dairy prices have been heading recently. The Treasury’s base forecast in last month’s Budget is for dairy prices to recover towards the long-term levels forecast by the OECD-FAO of around US$3,900 per metric ton towards the end of 2016 as supply and demand become more balanced. But like dairy farmers everywhere in New Zealand the Treasury is closely watching the fortnightly auctions and monitoring developments.

We are fortunate to make our living off the land in a land worth living in. But we cannot be complacent if we want things to stay that way. We’re not pristine, and we can do better. New Zealanders have to make well-informed choices about how we conserve, use and manage our natural resources for the greatest overall benefit to society now and into the future.

Today I want to talk about choice.

I want to challenge some false ‘choices’; expose a few choices that we are denied by the systems we have created; and highlight the fact that more informed public debate can deliver us a system with more choice in it.

For a long time discussions over natural resources have been dominated by false dichotomies.

A key example is the supposed ‘choice’ between sustainability and prosperity. It’s nonsense to believe you have to pick one or the other and can’t achieve both.

A more prosperous economy creates higher incomes and jobs for New Zealanders. Higher incomes are linked to better outcomes across a range of economic, social, and indeed environmental measures that matter for living standards. And the Treasury knows that economic performance is not just about prosperity today; it’s also about prosperity tomorrow and the future prosperity of our children. Sustainable growth depends upon good management of our environment and natural resources, and the productivity with which we use these resources. 

Sustainability and prosperity are interconnected in the Treasury’s wider view of wellbeing and are encapsulated in our Living Standards Framework.

This identifies five ‘dimensions’ which we seek to advance when developing policy: sustainability; equity; social infrastructure; risk management; and of course economic growth. When wellbeing is understood in this broader sense, the assumption that there’s immutable conflict between prosperity and sustainability just doesn’t stack up.

Norway is a good example of a country that has grown wealthy from its natural resources – in its case oil and gas – while playing a pioneering role in environmental protection and sustainable development. As the OECD notes, the Norwegians have simplified their regulatory procedures related to environmental permits and reduced the administrative burdens people face.  Enforcement is risk based and better targeted.

Closer to home, many Māori-led businesses are demonstrating how prosperity and sustainability work together by embracing the concept of kaitiakitanga. They take a very long-term view and manage their assets in a way that meets their aspirations for people, the land, rivers and the sea. Last year a group from the Treasury visited Parininihi ki Waitotara or PKW, a company based in Taranaki who run a number of businesses in the primary sector. PKW are combining successful dairy farming with sustainable practices: protecting waterways, carefully managing nutrients, and even using solar energy to power their cowsheds.   

The falseness of the ‘choice’ between prosperity and sustainability is being shown up not just by countries and companies, but by consumers too.

The premium on ethical, sustainably produced, healthy goods continues to rise. Interest in working practices and supply chains means that companies have to be able to clearly demonstrate their sustainability credentials.

It’s also clear that productivity and sustainability are converging in ways not seen before.

For example, in recent years we have seen irrigation infrastructure, originally installed to boost farming productivity, helping to alleviate further pressure on struggling river and stream ecosystems. 

Central Plains Water scheme in central Canterbury is currently under construction, and will from September this year relieve climatic and allocation pressures on groundwater and lowland streams around environmentally and culturally important Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora.

The Opuha dam was able to keep streams flowing in South Canterbury during this year’s drought, which would otherwise have stranded fish.

The small Eiffelton scheme in mid-Canterbury pumps groundwater into ecologically important streams that would also have stopped flowing last summer without it. This leads me to the second false ‘choice’ I want to shed light on – between high technology and our primary industries.

Through companies specialising in precision agriculture, such as Varigate, Agroptics and others, New Zealand’s world-leading tech is both increasing productivity and serving environmental outcomes.

By mapping soil characteristics, tailoring the use of irrigation, fertiliser and other inputs to match, and ensuring accurate spatial delivery, the use of inputs can be reduced. This results in savings of energy, time and inputs, while pasture and crop yields increase and less nutrients are lost to the environment, leading to better water quality in our rivers and groundwater.

Progress in GIS technology and nutrient management data is enabling farmers to understand their farms in new ways. This is delivering environmental improvements and driving the best increases in productivity in the whole economy.

Another false ‘choice’ is between protection and use of natural resources.

As a country, we protect around a third of our land area for conservation, but the mountains and forests making up most of this area are used as a playground by our people.  They’re also a workplace for some of the 166,000 people employed in tourism industry; an industry that relies on us continuing to protect our outstanding natural beauty.

Instead of accepting these false ‘choices’ we have an opportunity to focus on ensuring our system gives us the freedom to make the choices we actually want.

One example is in the space of bio-technology.

I am not going to get into the question of genetic modification specifically.

What I will say is that when new technologies come along – both GM and non-GM – our current system denies us the choice over whether we want them. Meanwhile, our international competitors do have this option.

There is, for example, a new variety of high-yielding eucalyptus tree which has just been approved for cultivation in Brazil.  Using this variety, growers can get a 15 percent increase in wood for the same area, processors can get a 20 percent reduction in the cost of wood production, and the environment benefits from a 12 percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide stored per hectare.
High-yielding wood is at the core of our pulp and paper industry.

However our current regime for regulating new organisms is highly restrictive in practice, which means we do not have the flexibility to choose whether this is something we would want in New Zealand.

I’ve heard it said that our current regulatory regime would deny us the choice to adopt many new plants and species that today offer us huge advantages: kiwifruit, rye grass, and even the ubiquitous pinus radiata.

Another example of a choice we are currently denied is found in our approach to risk.

This is particularly important when we consider the potential to sustainably use the resources contained in our precious marine environments.

I am not going to stand here and tell you that New Zealand does not take enough risk. That is for the country, through elected representatives, to decide.

The point I want to make is that we often deny ourselves the choice over how much risk we want to take. When systems adopt rigid approaches to risk, for example, rather than genuinely enabling adaptive management approaches, we limit our ability to explore and assess the potential risks of our actions.

Another restriction on our choice comes when we have inefficient systems. In these instances we deny ourselves the chance to decide, clearly and efficiently, how we want to manage our resources.

From an economist’s point of view, a resource management system like ours is intended to reduce the costs of allocating resources, account for factors which market forces don’t value, and manage collective action problems – including intergenerational fairness.

Our current system could be better on all of these fronts.

As we saw with the establishment of the Kaikoura marine protected areas, the transaction costs of making decisions on how to manage our resources can be extremely high.

Many of our resource management systems come in for regular criticism, although it’s often directed at how the decisions are made rather than the decisions themselves.

And our limited framework for valuing natural capital and ecosystem services often prevents us from understanding how much they are really worth to us. It also means weighing public benefits against the gains to be made from resource use is hard for decision makers.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

We are starting to reclaim some of these choices.

A number of Government departments are working together to assess the feasibility and benefits of more systemically gathering natural capital information to feed into decision-making.  Appropriately considering the impacts on natural capital, such as clean water, soil or habitat for threatened species, will allow us to make better, more balanced decisions.

The Government’s resource management reforms aim to provide greater certainty for communities to plan for, and meet, their area’s needs in a way that reduces costs and delays, while maintaining the environmental standards that are important to them. 

Freshwater policy is another area where we are reclaiming choice.

Here, communities are able to debate the value of public goods; public discussion is exposing and trading-off risks; and collaboration through the Land and Water Forum continues to help create a management system which is responsive to the goals of users.

But there is a price for moves to systems such as this, which give us the choices we really want.

The quality of information and the level of public debate must be raised. This is something for which all parties must share responsibility.

Government doubtless has a role here. The work to develop a Māori Land service is one example.

Here the Crown is providing the information and support that Māori landowners need to assess the different choices available to them from their land. This in turn exposes the true value to Māori of systems which allow us to choose how our resources are managed. 

However, businesses and industry sectors must play also play a part in setting the conditions for a more informed debate.

On the issue of climate change, for example, the agriculture sector has the opportunity to contribute to the public debate about New Zealand’s future emissions targets, and options for meeting these targets. 

It is important that we focus on what the science tells us.  

As the IPCC told us last year, carbon dioxide emissions fundamentally drive long-term global warming.  Methane has a larger impact initially, but its effect is only short lived. This clearly has little impact on most other developed countries whose emissions consist mainly of carbon dioxide, but it makes a huge difference for New Zealand because of our high agricultural emissions.

New Zealand has invested heavily in finding ways to mitigate the effects of biological emissions, though commercialisation is still some way away.

So science clearly plays an important role in helping us work out how we can have the greatest impact in reducing emissions.  And it has an important part to play in informing the public, in helping us avoid false dichotomies and giving us greater choices to enable living standards to continue to rise for generations to come.  And as part of this, the business community has the opportunity to explain how its actions contribute to increases in all areas of wellbeing.

I, for one, look forward to working together to make these challenging, but ultimately vital, choices about the future of our natural resources, the prosperity of our country and the living standards of New Zealanders.

Sustainability and prosperity aren’t mutually exclusive.

Furthermore,unless we want to return to subsistence living, which may or may not be environmentally sustainable but certainly isn’t socially and economically sustainable, prosperity is essential for sustainability.

That doesn’t mean that prosperity should be at the cost of the environment or people.

The challenge is to balance economic, environmental and social considerations.

 


Quote of the day

June 12, 2015

Open markets offer the only realistic hope of pulling billions of people in developing countries out of abject poverty, while sustaining prosperity in the industrialized world.Kofi Annan


June 12 in history

June 12, 2015

1381  Peasants’ Revolt: in England, rebels arrived at Blackheath.

1418  An insurrection delivered Paris to the Burgundians.

1429  Hundred Years’ War: Joan of Arc led the French army in their capture of the city and the English commander, William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk in the second day of the Battle of Jargeau.

1560  Battle of Okehazama: Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto.

1653  First Anglo-Dutch War: the Battle of the Gabbard began.

1665 England installed a municipal government in New York City.

1758 French and Indian War: Siege of LouisbourgJames Wolfe‘s attack at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia commenced.

1775  American Revolution: British general Thomas Gage declared martial law in Massachusetts. The British offer a pardon to all colonists who lay down their arms with two exceptions: Samuel Adams and John Hancock, if captured, were to be hanged.

1776 The Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted.

1798 Irish Rebellion of 1798: Battle of Ballynahinch.

1802 Harriet Martineau,  journalist, political economist, abolitionist and feminist, was born (d. 1876).

1806 John A. Roebling, German-America civil engineer (Brooklyn Bridge), was born (d. 1869).

1819  Charles Kingsley, English writer, was born (d. 1875).

1827 Johanna Spyri, Swiss writer, was born (d. 1901).

1830  Beginning of the French colonization of Algeria: 34,000 French soldiers landed at Sidi Ferruch.

1860  The State Bank of the Russian Empire was established.

1864 American Civil War, Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor – Ulysses S. Grant gave the Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee a victory when he pulled his Union troops from their positions at Cold Harbor, Virginia and moved south.

1889 –  78 people were killed in the Armagh rail disaster.

1897 Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1977).

1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence: General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines’ independence from Spain.

1899 New Richmond Tornado killed 117 people and injured around 200.

1915 David Rockefeller, American banker, was born.

1922 King George V received the colours of the six Irish regiments that were to be disbanded – the Royal Irish Regiment, the Connaught Rangers, the South Irish Horse, the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

1924 George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, was born.

1929 Anne Frank, German-born Dutch Jewish diarist and Holocaust victim, was born (d. 1945).

1935 Chaco War ended: a truce was called between Bolivia and Paraguay.

1938 Tom Oliver, Australian actor, was born.

1939  Shooting begins on Paramount Pictures’ Dr. Cyclops, the first horror film photographed in three-strip Technicolor.

1939  The Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, New York.

1940  World War II: 13,000 British and French troops surrendered to Major General Erwin Rommel at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

1942 The first troops from the USA landed in Auckland.

First US troops land in Auckland

1942  Anne Frank received a diary for her thirteenth birthday.

1943  Reg Presley, English singer/songwriter (The Troggs), was born.

1943  Germany liquidated the Jewish Ghetto in Berezhany, western Ukraine. 1,180  are lpeople were led to the city’s old Jewish graveyard and shot.

1952 Pete Farndon, English musician (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1983).

1963 Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was murdered by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.

1964 Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.

1967  The United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia declared all U.S. state laws which prohibited interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.

1967   Venera 4 was launched.

1979  Bryan Allen won the second Kremer prize for a man powered flight across the English Channel in the Gossamer Albatross.

1987  The Central African Republic‘s former Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa was sentenced to death for crimes he had committed during his 13-year rule.

1987  Cold War: At the Brandenburg Gate U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

1990 Russia Day – the parliament of the Russian Federation formally declared its sovereignty.

1991  Russians elected Boris Yeltsin as the president of the republic.

1991 –  Kokkadichcholai massacre: the Sri Lankan Army massacred 152 minority Tamil civilians in the village Kokkadichcholai.

1994  Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered outside her home in Los Angeles.

1996  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a panel of federal judges blocked a law against indecency on the internet.

1997  Queen Elizabeth II reopened the Globe Theatre in London.

1999  Kosovo War: Operation Joint Guardian began when a NATO-led United Nations peacekeeping force (KFor) entered the province of Kosovo.

2000  Sandro Rosa do Nascimento took hostages while robbing Bus #174 in Rio de Janeiro.

2004  A 1.3 kilogram chondrite type meteorite struck a house in Ellerslie causing serious damage but no injuries.

2009 – A disputed presidential election in Iran leads to wide ranging protests in Iran and around the world.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: