Word of the day

July 1, 2015

Rafty – damp and cold; bleak;  musty.


Rural round-up

July 1, 2015

Dr Rolleston new vice-president of the World Farmers Organisation:

Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston has been elected Vice President of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) while attending its General Assembly in Milan.

The WFO aims to bring together all the national producers and farm cooperative organisations with the objective of developing policies which favour and support farmers’ causes in developed and developing countries around the world.

“I am delighted and incredibly humbled to be elected into this role,” says Dr Rolleston. .  .

 

Sheep shipment should have been handled better – Jon Morgan:

 I recall once being told that the Prime Minister gets more calls and letters about animal welfare than any other issue.

No-one likes to see an animal suffer and it appears we’re more vigilant about this than we are about anything else, including child cruelty.

The authorities act quickly and severely when cases of animal cruelty occur. Hardly a week goes by when we’re not reading of a case before the courts. Unfortunately, each year several of these are farmers and involve multiple animals.

And so the outcry over the recent shipment of 50,000 sheep (actually 45,000) to Mexico quickly escalated to hysterical levels. . .

Gisborne bull breeders on a high after $100,000 sale  – Kate Taylor:

Angus breeders Charlie and Susie Dowding are buzzing at the sale of one of their bulls for $100,000 – a record price for an on-farm bull sale in New Zealand.

The Gisborne stud’s Rangatira 13-38 sold to the Bayly family’s Cricklewood Angus, Wairoa, which will use the rising two-year-old bull itself initially and make semen available for sale in the future.

“I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling yet,” Susie Dowding said.

“We had no idea at all he would be so sought after. We had moved him up the catalogue but obviously he should have been up further. I’m not sure how many were bidding to start with but it ended up with two studs who wanted him badly.” . .

Focus on support networks – Sally Rae:

A gathering of rural professionals is being held in Oamaru next week to highlight the support networks available to farmers.

It has been organised by the Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ.

The organisations all had concerns for farmers, particularly in North Otago but also other areas, over the next three to four months, as they faced the effects of drought and also the low dairy payout, Otago Rural Support Trust co ordinator Dave Mellish said. . .

ECan’s future direction – Conan Young:

After five years without a democratically elected regional council, warnings are being sounded that Canterbury’s stock of capable leaders is in danger of being hollowed out.

As Insight investigated the plan for ECan to make a partial return to democracy, it was told the region is getting used to having decisions made for it by government appointed commissioners.

Environment Canterbury’s councillors were sacked by the government amidst claims they were dysfunctional and had failed to introduce a water plan for the region, allowing it to make the most of its alpine water and reap the economic rewards of large scale irrigation.

Now there’s a proposal for a partial return to democracy with a mix of elected members and appointed commissioners.

According to the government, there’s still too much at stake to risk a return to fully elected councillors.

But the head of the Politics Department at Canterbury University, Bronwyn Hayward, takes issue with that position. . .

 

Cashflow crucial for Taranaki demonstration farms – Sue O’Dowd:

Demonstration farms near Stratford and Manaia are closely monitoring their cashflow, focusing on pasture management and deferring some expenditure as they plan for the season ahead.

The Stratford Demonstration Farm, operated by an incorporated society, and the Waimate West Demonstration Farm, owned by a trust, were both established in 1917 by local farmers who wanted a model dairy farm in their area to develop and promote better farming methods. Both farms are managed by the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. 

Waimate West Demonstration Farm chairman John Fischer says cashflow will be crucial if dairy farmers are to manage their finances in the wake of two seasons of low payout forecasts. . .

Auditing just futile bureaucracy –  Lynda Murchison:

So much time and energy is spent managing land and water at present, with decisions around rules only the first step.

What those rules look like and how much they will cost farmers and the community to implement also needs close scrutiny. Take a couple of examples from Canterbury.

Overseer; like it or hate it, Canterbury farmers are required to record an estimate of their nitrogen losses using Overseer. Personally I don’t have an issue with that. . .


Flag of the day

July 1, 2015

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

There are more than 4000 in the gallery already.

This one is A New Sprout by Alexandre Santos:

flag4

 


Trade works

July 1, 2015

Trade Minister Tim Groser’s speech on the future of global trade highlights the benefits of trade:

·         First, consider the evidence for developed countries. Of the 14 main OECD multi-country econometric studies undertaken since 2000, all 14 have concluded that trade plays an independent and positive role in raising incomes.

·         Second, the evidence for developing countries leads to exactly the same conclusion. Case studies reviewing the experience of the 12 most rapidly growing emerging economies over the past 60 years concluded that harnessing the power of the global economy was a central feature common to all and that there was what they called ‘overwhelming’ evidence that trade played an essential role in raising incomes. Sorry guys, the North Koreans got it wrong. The South Koreans got it right.

The final concluding comment of these international experts is dripping with irony. Normally, international officials don’t do irony; it takes extreme frustration to drive experts to use ironic humour. Listen to their words:

“Despite all the debate about whether openness [on trade] contributes to growth, if the issue were truly one warranting nothing but agnosticism, we should expect at least some of the estimates to be negative…The uniformly positive estimates suggest that the relevant terms of the debate by now should be about the size of the positive influence of openness on growth….rather than about whether increased levels of trade relative to GDP have a positive effect on productivity and growth”. . .

I can of course understand vested interests who oppose trade agreements. If, say, your family owns an inefficient sugar processing plant in the wrong part of the United States and which survives only because of sugar subsidies and high protection, I get it. What you need is a long time to adjust to competition, sweetened by a good dose of adjustment assistance. You may even surprise yourself by what you can do to improve your competitive position over a long period of time – I could take you to dozens of examples in this country of industries and companies which vigorously contest our first liberalisation moves in the1980s, staring with the NZ wine industry which used to be deeply protectionist and for understandable reasons. But I am zeroing-in here on the anti-trade, anti-globalisation ideologues who are present around the globe. Even in Germany, a post-war bastion of the open trading system, they have become quite recently a growing element of the political debate on trade. This will complicate the TTIP negotiation.

Here in New Zealand we have anti-trade activists who are relentlessly consistent: they have never supported a single Trade Agreement and they never will. They are politically irrelevant to my political party. However, they get an enormous amount of airplay and are not politically irrelevant to other important elements in our democracy. For reasons I explained earlier, I believe broad bipartisan support for open trade strategies is vital to avoid your country being marginalised.

There is no point in asking them to explain how on earth New Zealand could have survived, let alone prospered, without CER, without the Uruguay Round, the China FTA, the network of FTAs that New Zealand has with ASEAN countries – they opposed even the Singapore/NZ FTA, the first building block of the DNA of TPP. To paraphrase a well-known quote of our Prime Minister, are we meant to earn our living just be selling to ourselves?

There is no point in asking them to explain this, because this is not an evidence-based fight. This is about ideology and the role of markets. On a purely personal note, and going back to my political past in the late 1960s and on which I will not elaborate, I understand exactly how and why these people think like this. I recall wistfully an old political doctrinal statement ‘The final battle will be between the socialists and the ex-socialists’.

If it were just these anti-trade activists, they could be safely ignored by everyone. But their modus operandi is to give currency to concerns about policies that middle New Zealand, which is anything but ideological, cares about – and then to exaggerate those concerns out of the park.

Happily, those concerns of middle New Zealand are widely shared starting with me, my colleagues in Cabinet and Caucus and the Kiwi voters who elected us. And as I survey the likely landing zone for these issues, I am extremely confident that our negotiators, who are world class, have done an excellent job. We shall be able to defend our position.

He counters some of the scaremongering from opponents of the TPP:

So, to put it bluntly, we are not going to sign up to poorly constructed ISDS provisions that ‘transfer control of the country’s sovereignty’ to foreign corporations. We are not going to sign up to agreements that undermine a central pillar of our Public Health system – the pharmaceutical purchasing agency called Pharmac, which is used to keep the cost of medicines very affordable for middle New Zealand. We are not going to sign up to agreements that stop this or future Governments putting well-designed environmental protections in place. We are not going to sign up to provisions on ISPs that make every mother in Lower Hutt worry that the TPP electronic police are going to fly in from Houston to cart their 16 year old son off to jail for file-sharing with his girlfriend.

If and when we get TPP in place, extreme claims that the sky is going to fall in will be made, irrespective of a balanced and sober reading of the final agreed TPP texts. It will be ground hog day for Chicken Licken. I recall, for example, at the end of the Uruguay Round where I was our chief negotiator, absurd claims that the Uruguay Round TRIPs agreement would ‘destroy the Maori economy’, in spite of the fact that the vast bulk of Maori assets, today valued at $40 billion, are in the export sector with much to gain from the Uruguay Round.

That exciting new dairy export company near Taupo called Miraka, the Maori name for milk, that combines significant Maori business assets, locally available renewable geothermal energy and overseas capital invested in it, simply would not exist without the Uruguay Round export subsidy disciplines that allowed our dairy industry to grow against grossly unfair competition, along with the more recent FTAs that created markets and created the interest of Asian investors in investing in New Zealand’s future alongside our own people. . .

He is aiming to get the political deal done by the end of this month:

The deal is ripe for the picking politically, which does not mean it will be easy to reach up and pick nice ripe fruit without damage. I have been deeply involved in the endgame of some pretty significant international negotiations over the last few decades and sometimes it isn’t very pretty. If I told true stories of what I have seen – right up to and including fist fights and negotiators sobbing over the phone, I really don’t think people would believe me.

So please remember this: nothing is ‘too big to fail’. Nor can I be 100% sure that all twelve countries will arrive on the right page at the same time. The one thing I can say with near certainty is that in the course of the endgame, something will come out of left field that we knew about but which no-one had seen before as a deal-breaker.  . .

But I think we will get there – metaphorically, I have called it in some interviews a 7/10 probability. It is not going to be a perfect deal – there never will be a perfect deal because compromises are now required. From a New Zealand point of view, the assessment my team of negotiators, led by Dr David Walker, and I have made and conveyed to other Ministers including the Prime Minister is that there is potentially a landing zone for a good deal that will indeed shape the future of trade and investment integration in the Asia Pacific region and quite decisively.

I would be much more positive in public than this, but for the current lack of clarity on a possible landing zone for our most important export – dairy. It is not that there is nothing on the table on dairy. Nor, let me assure the deep pessimists, do I believe there is any possibility of dairy simply being ‘excluded’ simply because it is too sensitive. That of course would take New Zealand right out of TPP. The issue for us is the quality of the deal on dairy and it is nowhere near there yet.

That will change because it has to change. People have not been putting their real cards on the table until they knew they had to. And until we heard from the US Congress, they were never going to do that. It is going to be an interesting few weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen, if the negotiators representing the 12 countries involved in TPP – almost 40% of global GDP – can pull this together, it will indeed be a big deal. Andrew Robb, my Australian counterpart, calls this ‘the biggest trade deal since the Uruguay Round’. I think he is right. And if we can do it, the TPP bus will not stop finally at the Tokyo station – Japan being among the last TPP entrants. TPP will indeed shape the future integration of the region and possibly strategic thinking elsewhere.

The future for New Zealand is not to shut up shop, to be fearful of foreigners, foreign investment, even targeted migration and suspicious of all Trade Agreements – my word, it must be so depressing to be part of the anti-trade movement. We need to engage with the world. We should back ourselves. We have every reason to be optimistic about our place in the world in the first quarter of the 21st Century. Concluding a high quality TPP Agreement is part of that future.

I am old enough to remember the past when New Zealand businesses were highly subsidised, when the power and money was in the hands of the few who had import licences, when we all paid dearly through higher prices and higher taxes for inferior local goods than higher quality and lower priced alternatives from overseas.

Those who oppose free trade would have us go back to that.

Free trade is fair trade which benefits the buyer and the seller.

As a very small country needing to sell what we produce to people in other countries in order to afford what we can’t produce ourselves, we need free trade and the TPP is an important part of freer trade.

 


Quote of the day

July 1, 2015

. . .  The whole point – indeed the underlying, triumphal, raison d’être of science – is that it is the only way of thinking and doing things which human society has ever dreamed up which is designed, sometimes, to fail.

The ‘failure’ of a trial is not a ‘failure’ at all, in the conventional sense. It shows that something was wrong with the assumptions that came from the laboratory experiments. . . Michael Hanlon writing about how Anti-GM protesters don’t understand how science works.


July 1 in history

July 1, 2015

69  Tiberius Julius Alexander ordered his Roman legions in Alexandria to swear allegiance to Vespasian as emperor.

1097  Battle of Dorylaeum: Crusaders under Bohemond of Taranto defeated a Seljuk army under Qilich Arslan I.

1520  La Noche Triste: Joint Mexican Indian force led by Aztecs under Cuitláhuac defeated Spanish Conquistadors under Hernán Cortés.

1569  Union of Lublin: The Kingdom of Poland and Great Duchy of Lithuania confirm a real union, the united countrywas called the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth or the Republic of Both Nations.

1690  Glorious Revolution: Battle of the Boyne ( in Julian calendar).

1770 Lexell’s Comet passed closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 0.0146 a.u.

1782  American privateers attacked Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

1837 A system of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was established in England and Wales.

1855 Quinault Treaty signed, Quinault and Quileute ceded their land to the United States.

1858  The joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on evolution to the Linnean Society.

1862  The Russian State Library was founded.

1862  American Civil War: The Battle of Malvern Hill – final battle in the Seven Days Campaign, part of the George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.

1863  Keti Koti, Emancipation Day in Suriname, marking the abolition of slavery by the Netherlands.

1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg began.

1867  The British North America Act, 1867 took effect as the Constitution of Canada, creating the Canadian Confederation and the federal dominion of Canada; John A. Macdonald was sworn in as the first Prime Minister.

1869 William Strunk Jr., American grammarian, was born (d. 1946).

1879 Charles Taze Russell published the first edition of the religious magazine The Watchtower.

1881  The world’s first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine., United States.

1881 General Order 70, the culmination of the Cardwell-Childers reforms of the British Army, came into effect.

1885 The United States terminated reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada.

1892 The Homestead Strike, a strike by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers against the Carnegie Steel Company, began.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba.

1899 Thomas A. Dorsey, American composer, was born (d. 1993).

1899 Charles Laughton, English actor, was born (d. 1962).

1903 Amy Johnson, English pilot, was born (d. 1941).

1906 Estée Lauder, American entrepreneur, was born (d. 2004).

1908 SOS was adopted as the international Distress signal.

1915 Leutnant Kurt Wintgens achieved the first known aerial victory with a synchronized gun-equipped fighter plane, the Fokker M.5K/MG Eindecker.

1916 Olivia de Havilland, Japanese-born British-American actress, was born.

1916  World War I: First day on the Somme – On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 19,000 soldiers of the British Army were killed and 40,000 wounded.

1921 The Communist Party of China was founded.

1928 Bobby Day, American musician was born, (d 1990).

1931  United Airlines began service (as Boeing Air Transport).

1933 The Canadian Parliament suspended all Chinese immigration.

1934 Jean Marsh, English actress, was born.

1934 Sydney Pollack, American film director, was born (d. 2008).

1935  Regina, Saskatchewan police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police ambushed strikers participating in On-to-Ottawa-Trek.

1935 – Grant Park Music Festival began its tradition of free summer symphonic music concert series in Chicago’s Grant Park which continues as the United States’ only annual free outdoor classical music concert series.

1942  World War II: First Battle of El Alamein.

1942  Australian Federal Government became sole collector of Income Tax (State Income Tax Abolished).

1943 Tokyo City merged with Tokyo Prefecture and was dissolved. Since then, no city in Japan has had the name “Tokyo“. (Present-day Tokyo is not a city.)

1945 Deborah Harry, American musician (Blondie), was born.

1947  The Philippine Air Force was established.

1948  Quaid-i-Azam inaugurated Pakistan’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan.

1951 Fred Schneider, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1952 Dan Aykroyd, Canadian actor, was born.

1953 Jadranka Kosor, Prime Minister of Croatia, was born.

1953 – Lawrence Gonzi, Maltese Prime Minister, was born.

1958  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation linked television broadcasting across Canada via microwave.

1958 Flooding of Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway began.

1959  The Party of the African Federation held its constitutive conference.

1959  Specific values for the international yard, avoirdupois pound and derived units (e.g. inch, mile and ounce) were adopted after agreement between the U.S., U.K. and other commonwealth countries.

1960  Independence of Somalia.

1960 – Ghana became a Republic and Kwame Nkrumah became its first President.

1961 Diana, Princess of Wales, was born (d. 1997).

1962  Independence of Rwanda.

1962  Independence of Burundi.

1963  ZIP Codes were introduced for United States mail.

1963 – The British Government admitted that former diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent.

1967 – The European Community was formally created out of a merger with the Common Market, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Commission.

1967 – Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the British North America Act, 1867, which officially made Canada its own federal dominion.

1968  The CIA’s Phoenix Program was officially established.

1968 – The Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., London and Moscow by sixty-two countries.

1968 – Formal separation of the United Auto Workers from the AFL-CIO.

1970  President General Yahya Khan abolished One-Unit of West Pakistan restoring the provinces.

1972  The first Gay Pride march in England.

1976  Portugal granted autonomy to Madeira.

1978 The Northern Territory in Australia is granted Self-Government.

1979  Sony introduced the Walkman.

1980  O Canada officially became the national anthem of Canada.

1981  The Wonderland Murders occurred in the early morning hours, allegedly masterminded by businessman and drug dealer Eddie Nash.

1983 A North Korean Ilyushin Il-62 jet crashed into the Fouta Djall Mountains in Guinea-Bissau, killing all 23 people on board.

1987 American radio station WFAN in New York City was launched as the world’s first all-sports radio station.

1988  The government announced that it had agreed to the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendation that Bastion Point in Auckland be returned to Ngati Whatua ownership.

Bastion Point land returned

1991 The Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague.

1997 China resumed sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.

1999  The Scottish Parliament was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth on the day that legislative powers were officially transferred from the old Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh.

2000 – The Oresund Bridge, connecting Sweden and Denmark, opened for traffic.

2002 The International Criminal Court was established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

2002 – A Bashkirian Airlines (flight 2937) Tupolev TU-154 and a DHL Boeing 757 collided in mid-air over Ueberlingen, killing 71.

2004 Saturn Orbit insertion of Cassini-Huygens began at 01:12 UTC and ended at 02:48 UTC.

2006 – The first operation of Qinghai-Tibet Railway in China.

2007 Smoking in England was banned in all public indoor spaces. With the ban already in force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, this means it is illegal to smoke in indoor public places anywhere in the UK. The ban was also put into effect in Australia.

2008 Rioting erupted in Mongolia in response to allegations of fraud surrounding the 2008 legislative elections.

2009  Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader resigned giving no specific reason. Jadranka Kosor was announced as the next Prime Minister, the first woman ever to hold the post.

2013 – Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union.

2013 – The United Nations mission MINUSMA began its operative mandate in Mali.

2013 – Neptune‘s moon S/2004 N 1 was discovered.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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