Word of the day

July 23, 2015

Limerence – a state of mind resulting from romantic attraction, characterised by feelings of euphoria and the desire to have one’s feelings reciprocated; an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive and compulsive thoughts, feeling and behaviours that are contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation from the object of interest; a state of infatuation with or obsession by another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterised by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.


Rural round-up

July 23, 2015

Potential for dairy farmers to increase income from calves:

In a welcome departure from dismal news on the dairy front, farmers are being told that a simple change to their herd mating plans could increase their income from calves.

The advice is one outcome from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy Beef Integration Programme which is looking at the impact of using good beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain.

The aim of the AgResearch managed research is to confirm the impact the strategy could have for dairy farmers and others in the supply chain. Early results show clear advantage – and potential additional profit – to dairy farmers from the use of proven beef genetics. . .

 Tiny mite a buzzkill for NZ’s wasps: – Nick Butcher:

A Landcare Research scientist says a tiny mite found on the back of wasps could be helping control the spread of the pests, which sting the country’s primary industries by about $130 million a year.

Wasps also pose a hazard to people and harm the native bird population by competing with them for food, including honeydew and other insects.

Dr Bob Brown discovered the unnamed mite in 2011. He said his studies showed wasp nests infested with the mites were 50 to 70 percent smaller than uninfested nests. . .

Efforts continue to get to the bottom of NAIT puzzle – Allan Barber:

The saga continues, as my Warkworth friend attempts to find out how NAIT intends to ensure correct reconciliation of livestock records, but as yet without a totally satisfactory answer. After further contact, NAIT’s acting Group Manager Sam McIvor replied with answers to the main points raised and I understand the conversation will continue, as both parties try to convince the other of their respective point of view.

At its most basic, the debate centres round the issue of ensuring 100% accuracy which is only possible, if there is 100% retention of tags at the time of stock movement or every animal has a second or reserve tag. At present NAIT estimates there is 98% retention. My friend who came through the mad cow disease disaster as well as FMD outbreaks in the UK is adamant the only acceptable position is 100% accuracy in the event of a disease outbreak. . .

Duncan Coull New Shareholders’ Council Chairman:

Duncan Coull has been elected unopposed to the position of Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council.

Mr Coull was first elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga and served as the Council’s Deputy Chair for the past 12 months.

Mr Coull: “It is a privilege to be elected to lead the Council and I thank Councillors for the support I continue to receive. . .

 New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated Annual General Meeting:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) held its Annual General Meeting today, Wednesday 22 July 2015, updating growers on its key projects and reflected on a successful year.

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, says grower confidence and orchard values have continued to increase over the last twelve months.

“The main factors in this increasing optimism are the reduced effects of Psa and increasing OGRs per tray, particularly for Green. . .

 

Dairy farm prices stalling, lifestyle blocks strong, REINZ data shows – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Farm sales are down 9 per cent in the year to June and dairy farm prices have begun a slight downward trend, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data.

There were 62, or 11.5 percent, fewer farm sales for the three months ended June, compared to the same period a year ago and the overall year to date is down 9 percent to a total of 1,737 farms sold.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June was $29,141, compared to $26,634 in the same period the previous year, up 9.5 percent. But the All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type, rose by just under 1 percent in June compared to the same month in 2014. . . .

Expert’s visit fruition of relationship cultivation:

Feijoas and Kiwifruit have been on the menu as Lincoln hosted a plant specialist recently to initiate closer working ties around food production with a Chinese province of 90 million people.

Feijoa expert Dr Meng Zhang, of Southwest University of Science and Technology (SWUST) in Sichuan Province, spent a month with Lincoln University and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC) at Lincoln specifically to learn more about New Zealand horticulture production systems, biological protection and bio-control.

The visit comes a few months after SWUST’s President, Jun-bo Wang, and Director Guan-zhi Zhang, were in Lincoln as part of a large Sichuan trade delegation intended to further extend co-operation between the two institutes. . .

 

Weaker New Zealand Dollar Helps Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the weakening New Zealand dollar helped local prices this week with most types increasing by the corresponding currency change.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.04 percent compared to the last sale on 9th July.

Of the 7,900 bales on offer from the South Island, 88 percent sold with types suitable for in the grease shipments coming under strong competition. . .

New production quality accreditation for animal feed:

New Zealand animal feed manufacturers now have a quality of production accreditation.

FeedSafeNZ is a new accreditation available to New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) members who pass independent audit standards as to quality of feed production. The FeedSafeNZ accreditation has two main aims: to provide safe feed for animals and thereby to protect the safety of human food.

Michael Brooks, NZFMA Executive Director says, “High quality feed is vital not only for the health and wellbeing of animals but also for humans, so it’s imperative that feed is manufactured to strict guidelines and is packed and stored correctly to ensure its quality is maintained. . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

July 23, 2015

1. Who said: The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. ?

2. Who wrote Tom Brown’s School Days?

3. It’s élève in French, allievo in Italian, alumno in Spanish and tauira in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Which is New Zealand’s oldest state girls’ secondary school?

5. What attributes made your best teacher so good?


Growing economy supports healthy environment

July 23, 2015

Federated Farmers’ president Dr William Rolleston addressed Local Government New Zealand’s conference on how a growing economy can support a health environment:

Farmers and governments around the world worry about food security and climate change. How could we increase our production while mitigating our environmental footprint? How could we build resilience in a changing climate?

If agriculture is to continue its contribution to New Zealand’s economy we must also address the issues of productivity and environmental impact.  We must continue to enhance our economic benefit by increasing productivity, adding value to our current products and developing new high value products.  We must address the risks which exist in the market, in our social licence to operate, in biosecurity (including pests), and in our climate.

It is not axiomatic that economic progress means environmental deterioration.

Rather economic progress is needed to pay for environmental protection and enhancement.

As a farming leader I have looked for solutions which enable economic progress while supporting a healthy environment.  In this way the incentives line up and the need for punitive resource rentals, taxes and similar instruments is obviated.  Let me give you some examples:

  • Nitrogen, whether in chemical fertiliser, organic fertiliser or fixed by legumes is a significant expense on many farms.  It always shocks me just how little is actually utilised in product which moves off farm and how much is lost to the atmosphere and beyond the root zone. These losses contribute to adverse water quality outcomes as well as greenhouse gases.  Interventions which increase the utilisation of nitrogen will result in better environmental outcomes as well as reduced expense for the farmer.
  • It is a myth that water is free.  Farmers pay big dollars to have water reticulated to their farms through their own or other schemes.  The proposed Ruataniwha Dam is a good example. In Canterbury we have seen significant increases in water efficiency through spray irrigation and now precision irrigation.  Research is continuing to improve drought tolerance and water efficiency in the very plants themselves.
  • Soil erosion is a loss of capital from the farming system.  It is not new and it occupied the minds of my farming grandparents on our property for as long as I could remember.  New techniques such as no till agriculture where paddocks are sprayed with herbicide and direct drilled not only increases productivity but retains soil structure helping to preserve this valuable resource from wind and water erosion that ploughing would leave it vulnerable to.
  • Even without putting biological emissions into the Emissions Trading Scheme farmers have improved their carbon efficiency by 1.2 percent per year, for the past decade, through improved productivity.  Not only that though, New Zealand farmers are amongst the most carbon efficient animal protein producers in the world.  In the absence of mitigation tools and any charges on our competitors, penalising farmers to the extent it would reduce biological emissions would mean a movement of production to less efficient producers offshore and an increase in global biological emissions.

So in many areas economic and environmental goals are already aligned which is good business for councils.  But alignment is not always possible and we can’t pretend that human activity does not have an effect on the environment.  Of course it does. Our response could be to wind agriculture back, to reduce production to mitigate environmental impacts but this also has consequences.

We live in a global world whose population continues to expand.  The FAO predict we will need to increase world food production by 60 percent by 2050 to meet demand.  

New Zealand cannot feed the world, but we must play our part.  It would be irresponsible of us to squander or underutilise our resources.  Even if we are only feeding the rich and privileged – the worried well if you like – wetlands and forests will need to be converted to farmland at the bottom end to compensate for this indulgence.  This is not supporting our environmental credentials.

When it comes to resources our Resource Management Act (RMA) works on a first come first served basis.  This works well at the front end.  Decision makers at that point cannot have the foresight to know what the demand for a resource will be.  However first in first served becomes problematic as a resource reaches its limits when a more strategic approach is needed.  Councils have grappled with this.  Creating property rights through tradable quota however this is not the answer.

There is no doubt scarcity through quota creates value.  However this is a double edged sword.  On the one hand increased value can mean increased attention by the custodian, on the other hand that value can be artificial and limit options for more creative solutions.

In Canada for example, milk is produced under a quota system.  Many Canadian dairy farmers oppose free trade because it will erode their quota value.

Creating ownership in water could have a similar outcome where water storage or increased supply may be resisted by the status quo.

But here decision makers have a problem, which the RMA is yet to solve satisfactorily. How do you allow movement of a resource to the best use in an efficient and equitable way without creating a property right that would flow simply to the entity that can afford to pay the most, or worse still, one which is banked to the detriment of the economy and the environment?  How do you allow for new entrants?

Three potential answers lie in resource expansion, science to increase efficient use, and collaboration.

Water storage is a good example of resource expansion and remains at the top of Federated Farmers’ agenda.  

Water storage builds resilience – the trifecta of economic resilience, community resilience and environmental resilience.  It also creates headroom to dissipate the issue of constraint.  The rationale however is still governed by cost.

The Opuha Dam in South Canterbury remains the leading example of water storage for irrigation.  As well as economic benefit the Opuha Dam has increased river flows, generated electricity, provided Timaru City with water as well as recreation for water craft, fishers and campers.

The courage of a few to build the Dam has, through its living example, made possible the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and in turn the Land and Water Forum. The protagonists knew that economic and environmental gain together was possible.

Solutions for Maori economic aspirations in water could well come through water storage.  By contributing to the development of water storage, government can help create the headroom for negotiation and settlement, if such a settlement is justified.  

And note I used the word “contribute”, not “invest”.  We already have Crown Irrigation Investments to address the hurdle of early capital shortfall and the Irrigation Acceleration Fund and these have been welcomed by Federated Farmers.  But there is a case for government to directly contribute to water storage infrastructure, to create headroom for negotiation as I have just said, but also to reflect the contribution water storage makes to the environment and the community.  Consider that at the time the Opuha water was switched off to farmers, 8 cumecs were still flowing to meet environmental needs – four times the natural inflows.
Farmers are willing to pay for the benefit they receive from water storage.

But as I have mentioned water storage also provides the opportunity to improve habitat, increase environmental flows and provide recreation.  Both local and central government should also consider their financial contribution to reflect the public good.

If we are to truly make economic gain while supporting a healthy environment, decision makers need to ensure they get the science right.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation the systems in which we operate are uncertain by their nature and information is often incomplete.  

The Prime Minister’s Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, is concerned that decisions made without the proper application of science can entrench policies which are of little value and are not easily reversible, because there may be a popular or political perception that they are effective when in fact they are not.  I share his concern. 

So our challenge is to ensure regulators, politicians and the judiciary make decisions that are in line with the science, and reflect the uncertainty of the time but are not paralysed by it.

The use of caution in the decision making process is essential, but the activist view of the Precautionary Principle, which in essence says do nothing until all risk is eliminated, is an example of the paralysis which we should avoid.
Decision makers need to distinguish between disagreement between parties and scientific uncertainty.  They need to understand what drives the certainty of any one party and put the uncertainty of experts in context. 

We have some evidence that councils and other decision makers are starting to get it right.

In the discourse on fluoridation, immunisation and 1080 we are seeing the public and decision makers starting to back science and reject the worn out and unsupported rhetoric of the anti-campaigners.

Water is more complex but the same principles apply.    

For some council’s the science surrounding genetic modification has not yet penetrated.  Are they playing a political game hoping central government will play the bad cop and get them off the hook?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that that attempts to duplicate control of genetic modification at the local level is based on scientific fantasy as much as anti-fluoridation, anti-immunisation and anti-1080.  What I do know is that significant biosecurity risks lurk in the garden plants of ratepayers but there is no call for strict liability there.

Is there uncertainty?  Of course there is, but conventional breeding is uncertain too. Do we need regulation? Of course we do, but that regulation should be seated in a competent central government authority and based on the risk not the technology.  

 Opportunities to be pest free, to reduce our environmental footprint, to increase productivity and create new products exist with such modern technologies.  These are the things which will prove our environmental credentials, not labels.  If you as councils want to have economic growth supporting a healthy environment then you need to ensure farmers have choice and access to the modern tools of science such as genetic modification and nanotechnology.

A lot has been said about farming to limits and for councils numbers make decision making much easier.  But I would remind you that the RMA was set up to be effects based and that blunt tools lead to dull outcomes.  We need to remind ourselves that farmers have only been talking nitrogen for about a decade.  The science is progressing quickly.  The challenge for regulators is to ensure that regulations are flexible enough to cope with the evolving evidence and to take account of improvements or reductions in water quality. 

It is my experience that farmers are environmentalists; why else would they dedicate their life to the land and spend over $1billion on the environment in five years? They are also problem solvers.  But they need to understand the problem before buying in.

However to make fast progress it requires strong balance sheets and good cash flows.  While it is unacceptable to go backwards regulators, environmentalists and the public need to understand that the rapid progress made in the last few years cannot be sustained when farmers are making a loss.

A growing economy can support a healthy environment but a shrinking one doesn’t stand much of a chance.  

The best way to achieve both a growing economy while supporting a healthy environment requires sound judgements by councils, with the appropriate use of science, engaging not enraging farmers, providing them with the tools of modern technology and seeking solutions which align economic and environmental outcomes. These are all requirements to grow sustainably.

 The downturn in dairy income isn’t an excuse  to ignore any requirements to be environmentally responsible but it will limit the ability to do more than necessary.

Apropos of the link between the economy and environment, Jim Rose says richer is greener:

The Kuznets environmental curve describes an empirical regularity between environmental quality and economic growth. Outdoor water, air and other pollution first worse and then improves as a country first experiences economic growth and development.

While many pollutants exhibit this pattern in the Kuznets environmental curve, peak pollution levels occur at different income levels for different pollutants, countries and time periods. John Tierney explains:

“In dozens of studies, researchers identified Kuznets curves for a variety of environmental problems.

There are exceptions to the trend, especially in countries with inept governments and poor systems of property rights, but in general, richer is eventually greener.

As incomes go up, people often focus first on cleaning up their drinking water, and then later on air pollutants like sulphur dioxide.

As their wealth grows, people consume more energy, but they move to more efficient and cleaner sources — from wood to coal and oil, and then to natural gas and nuclear power, progressively emitting less carbon per unit of energy. . . “

 Poorer people and countries have other priorities than the environment.

As the economy grows and incomes improve priorities change. The environment becomes more important and they can afford to protect and enhance it.


Quote of the day

July 23, 2015

What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?

It isn’t the sleepless nights, or the endless fights. It isn’t the constant worrying about every last little thing, or the constant pestering about every last little thing. It isn’t the impact on your work life, your love life, or your social life. It isn’t the lack of money, the lack of time, or even the lack of anything approaching a life of your own.

It feels like it’s all of those things, but it it’s none of them.

In the end, the hardest thing about being a parent is truly understanding that everything comes with a number. You get a certain number of bedtime stories, and a certain number of bedtime kisses. Your get a certain number of roads they’ll cross holding your hand, and a certain number of sports matches on a Saturday morning. You get a certain number of bike rides, and a certain number of bad jokes with no real punchline. Most of all… you get a certain number of hours.

One day you’ll go to the bucket, and it will be empty.

So–and I’m saying this as much to myself as to anyone else–get as much as you can, of all that you can, for as long as you possibly can. It’s the only score you’ll get that will ever truly mean anything, and it’s also the hardest one to keep track of.Nigel Latta


July 23 in history

July 23, 2015

1632  Three hundred colonists bound for New France departed from Dieppe, France.

1793 Prussia re-conquered Mainz from France.

1829 William Austin Burt patented the Typographer, a precursor to the typewriter.

1833 Cornerstones are laid for the construction of the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio.

1840  The Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union.

1851 Twenty-six lives were lost when the barque Maria was wrecked near Cape Terawhiti, on Wellington’s rugged south-western coast.

The <em>Maria</em> wrecked near Cape Terawhiti

1862 American Civil War: Henry W. Halleck took command of the Union Army.

1874  Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos was appointed the Archbishop of the Portuguese colonial enclave of Goa.

1881  The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world’s oldest international sport federation, was founded.

1881  The Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina was signed in Buenos Aires.

1888 Raymond Chandler, American-born author, was born (d. 1959).

1892 Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was born (d. 1975).

1903  The Ford Motor Company sold its first car.

1914  Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia demanding Serbia to allow the Austrians to determine who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

1926 Fox Film bought the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.

1929  The Fascist government in Italy bannedthe use of foreign words.

1936  The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia was founded through the merger of socialist and communist parties.

1940 United States’ Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles‘s declaration on the U.S. non-recognition policy of the Soviet annexation and incorporation of three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

1942 The Holocaust: The Treblinka extermination camp opened.

1942  World War II: Operation Edelweiss began.

1945  The post-war legal processes against Philippe Pétain began.

1947 David Essex, English singer, was born.

1950 Blair Thornton, Canadian guitarist (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), was born.

1952  New Zealand’s first female Olympic medallist, Yvette Williams (now Corlett) won gold in the long jump with an Olympic-record leap of 6.24 metres (20 feet 5 and 3/4 inches).

Yvette Williams leaps for gold at Helsinki

1952 Establishment of the European Coal and Steel community.

1952 General Muhammad Naguib led the Free Officers Movement (formed by Gamal Abdel Nasser– the real power behind the coup) in the overthrow of King Farouk of Egypt.

1956 The Loi Cadre was passed by the French Republic in order to order French overseas territory affairs.

1961 Martin Lee Gore, English musician and songwriter (Depeche Mode), was born.

1961 The Sandinista National Liberation Front was founded in Nicaragua.

1962 Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

1962  The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos was signed.

1965 Slash, American guitarist (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1967  12th Street Riot in Detroit, Michigan  began in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned).

1968 Glenville Shootout: In Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization led by Ahmed Evans and the Cleveland Police Department occurs. During the shootout, a riot begins that lasted for five days.

1968  The only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft  when a 707 carrying 10 crew and 38 passengers was taken over by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

1970 Qaboos ibn Sa’id became Sultan of Oman after overthrowing his father, Sa’id ibn Taimur.

1972 The United States launched Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.

1973 Himesh Reshammiya, Indian Bollywood composer, singer and actor, was born.

1980 Michelle Williams, American singer (Destiny’s Child), was born.

1982  The International Whaling Commission decided to end commercial whaling by 1985-86.

1983 The Sri Lankan Civil War began with the killing of 13 Sri Lanka Army soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam .

1983  Gimli Glider: Air Canada Flight 143 ran out of fuel and made a deadstick landing at Gimli, Manitoba.

1986  Prince Andrew, Duke of York married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

1988 General Ne Win, effective ruler of Burma since 1962, resigned after pro-democracy protests.

1992 A Vatican commission, led by Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) established that it was necessary to limit rights of homosexual people and non-married couples.

1992 Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia.

1995 Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered and becomes visible to the naked eye nearly a year later.

1997 Digital Equipment Company filed antitrust charges against chipmaker Intel.

1999 Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Al-Hassan was crowned King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the death of his father.

1999  ANA Flight 61 was hijacked in Tokyo.

2005 Three bombs exploded in the Naama Bay area of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, killing 88 people.

2008 Cape Verde  joined the World Trade Organization, becoming its 153rd member.

2009 Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox  became the 18th pitcher to throw a perfect game in Major League Baseball history, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0.

2012 – At least 107 people were killed and more than 250 others wounded in a string of bombings and attacks in Iraq.

2014 – The opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games was held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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