Word of the day

August 19, 2015

Macedoine – a confused mixture; medley; a mixture of fruits or vegetables cut up or diced, served raw or cooked as a salad or cocktail or in a jellied dessert or used in a sauce or as a garnish.


Rural round-up

August 19, 2015

Dairy price correction a confidence boost – BusinessNZ:

The uptick in dairy prices at the latest auction should put some confidence back into the economy that should never have been lacking anyway, says BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly.

Prices at the latest GlobalDairyTrade rose an average of 14.8 percent, with the all-important whole milk category rising by more than 19 percent, ending a five-month run of 10 consecutive falls.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I guess we’ve got to remain cautious,” says Federated Farmers spokesman Andrew Hoggard. . . 

Auction result welcome but industry needs to remain vigilant:

Federated Farmers has welcomed the outcome of this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, but says those in the dairy industry need to remain vigilant.

Dairy Industry Chair Andrew Hoggard says “The outcome of this morning’s auction suggests there might be light at the end of the tunnel, but what the industry needs is for this to continue and hold.” . . .

Fonterra calls for a halt to having to accept all milk and supply other large entrants –  Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, said it should no longer be required to accept all milk from new suppliers or to have to make milk available to large processors, apart from Goodman Fielder.

In submissions to the Commerce Commission, which is undertaking a government-ordered review of the industry’s competitiveness, rival processors have said they either want the status quo or the regulations tightened.

Fonterra said it recognises part of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) continues to benefit the dairy industry and New Zealand but some parts are no longer “necessary or efficient” given significant industry changes since 2001, particularly the continuing entry of well-resourced competitors. . . 

Fonterra’s submission is here.

Auditor General to examine Saudi farm deal:

The controversial deal that saw $11.5 million of taxpayer money on a Saudi farm is to be examined by the Auditor-General.

Lyn Provost has announced she will carry out an inquiry into the expenditure of public money on the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership.

Mrs Provost received several requests, including from members of Parliament, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, and in a petition from over 10,000 New Zealanders, to inquire into aspects of the deal. . . 

 

Dairy prices set for ‘substantial recovery’ by mid-2016, Rabobank says – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Dairy prices, which have slumped to a six-year low, are set for a substantial recovery by mid-2016, according to agri banking specialist Rabobank.

Average dairy product prices plunged to the lowest level since August 2009 at the last GlobalDairyTrade auction a fortnight ago, amid increased supply and weak demand. Still, the factors to trigger a turnaround are now in place and a substantial improvement in prices is expected by mid-2016, Rabobank said in its dairy industry note ‘Riding Out the Storm’.

Rabobank says dairy prices are set to rise as milk price reductions in China start to choke off domestic production growth, lower New Zealand production leads to a supply-side adjustment in export regions, the collapse in international commodity prices reduces supply growth from the US and EU, and as accelerated dairy consumption growth depletes current accumulated stocks. . . 

The short, the medium and the long term for dairy – Keith Woodford:

With calving in full swing, most dairy farmers have no time to think about anything but today. Things are indeed grim and the short term focus has to be on survival. For the next few weeks, there is some logic to focusing on the simple day to day things that can be influenced. Even in the good times, these are the things that often separate out the best from the not so good.

Despite the gloom, most of the farmers I know do seem to have things well under control. Perhaps that is because most of my mates have lived through tough times before, back in the 80s and 90s. They have always assumed that at some time a storm would burst upon them and so they have not panicked. Rather, they have been quietly and sequentially battening down the hatches for more than 12 months. . . 

Meat industry shareholder groups merge to push their case for reform – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The two shareholder groups representing Silver Fern Farms and Alliance farmers have joined forces in a bid to encourage the two meat cooperatives to follow suit and work collaboratively.

Each shareholder group has separately gained the 5 percent farmer support needed to call special meetings of their respective cooperatives to try and force the boards to investigate the benefits and risks of a merger, though dates have not yet been set for either.

Alliance shareholder Jeff Grant said it is best to wait on the outcome of Silver Fern Farm’s current capital raising before holding either meeting.

“If the capital raise changes the structure of the cooperative to be a non cooperative or in foreign ownership then it would be pointless having an SGM (special general meeting) at all,” he said. . . 

 High Beef Prices Are Fueling a Revival of Cattle Rustling in the Plains States –  Michael Graczyk:

Doug Hutchison wears a badge and carries a gun but his most effective weapon in the pursuit of livestock thieves in the nation’s largest cattle-producing territory may be his smartphone.

With it, Hutchison, one of 30 Special Rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, photographs suspected stolen livestock, accesses the association’s databases of livestock brands and reports of missing animals and consults with sheriff’s offices.

“I think it’s one of the greatest tools in the world,” said Hutchison, wearing a cowboy hat and jeans, his boots mired in the mud and manure of noisy auction stockyard corrals filled with nervous cattle. . .  Hat tip: AEIDEAS

Outdoors Lobby Wants Recreational Only Fisheries:

A national outdoor recreational advocacy group wants freshwater fish species such as whitebait, eels and some saltwater species ”recreational only.”

The call by the Council of Outdoor Recreational Associations (CORANZ) an umbrella group of outdoor recreational organisations, was in response to Massey University researcher Mike Joy’s call to remove whitebait and eels from commercial status and protect them by a “recreational only” classification.

Bill Benfield, co-chairman CORANZ, conservationist and author, said that commercialised species, almost without exception, struggled to be sustainable in the face of human greed. . .

 And from Kansas Department of Agriculture:
Kansas Department of Agriculture's photo.


$1.6b better invested elsewhere

August 19, 2015

Stuff reports that the partial privatisation of Landcorp is on the cards because Finance Minister Bill English is concerned about its level of debt.

. . . English indicated Landcorp may sell farms to improve its balance sheet, but while he would not rule out partial privatisation he said the Government was not at that stage yet. The Landcorp board had looked at ways to raise capital, but not a float or big sell-offs.

“We are not ruling anything in or anything out because we aren’t actually dealing with propositions at the moment.”

But there had been discussions to ensure it was sustainable. He said he had confidence in the board.

He said he “would expect Landcorp to sell off farms if that’s part of maintaining the sustainability of their business”. . . 

Selling the company as a whole would be difficult if not impossible, given its value.

The management arm could be sold separately and farms gradually sold off until the company disappeared but that would be politically unpalatable which is unfortunate.

Think of the good $1.6 billion could do if invested in research and development, infrastructure, education, health, reducing debt  . . .

Now think about the benefits of tying that amount of public money up in farm land.

The only one I can come up with is as a land bank for treaty settlements but I don’t think settling all those still unresolved requires 137 farms covering 158,394 hectares spread throughout New Zealand.

The company made an operating profit of just $1 million in the first six months of this financial year which is an abysmal return on investment.

Even in good years, the return on investment is modest which is not unusual for even the best farmers.

Landcorp farms are well run. They have a good record for staff training, environmental protection and enhancement, and genetics.

But that still doesn’t justify tying up $1.6 billion which could provide much better value if invested elsewhere.


Log in left eyes

August 19, 2015

Winston Peters started the criticism of Mike Hosking as a National Party stooge.

Labour leader Andrew Little and Green co-leader James Shaw joined in, followed by several left wing bloggers lamenting bias in the media, especially on state-owned TVNZ.

Hosking has an unlikely defender in Brian Edwards who says rather than being right-wing he’s a social conservative.

. . . While I’d be surprised to discover that Hosking is a closet member of the Parnell, Remuera or Epsom branches of the Labour Party  – total membership five! – I’d also risk my bottom dollar that he isn’t a member of any political party. This is, or should be the default position for any broadcaster working in the field of news or current affairs.

What Hosking betrays on Seven Sharp, on commercial radio and in his writing is not political bias but social conservatism. The two may overlap from time to time, but are inherently different. It’s entirely possible and even commonplace to be left wing and socially conservative. . . 

Whatever his views, isn’t it strange that many of the people who are so upset by Hosking thought it was absolutely marvelous that John Campbell who wears his left wing heart on his sleeve was appointed to state-owned RadioNZ  National.

Perhaps the log in their own eyes blinds them to their hypocrisy and to Hosking’s professionalism.

Both he and Campbell are very good interviewers who are more than capable of putting their own views aside to ask tough questions of people across the political spectrum.

 

 


GDT up 14.8%

August 19, 2015

The GlobalDairyTrade price index had a very welcome 14.8% increase in this morning’s auction.

gdt19815

GdT19.815

GdT19.8.15

This is just one auction, and one for which Fonterra offered less stock.

But it provides a psychological boost and confirms that prices that go down can also go up again.

 


Quote of the day

August 19, 2015

“I am very disappointed the Labour Party has turned TPP into a political platform and broken what appeared to be a very constructive and bi-partisan position on trade,” he says. “However, I would like to think that when the deal is concluded and proceeds through the ratification process, this position will be reversed. There are enough rational thinkers on trade in the Labour Party to enable this to happen.”

Petersen also dismisses critics’ claims that NZ’s negotiators will sell off the country’s sovereignty in an effort to sign up to the TPP.

“I am close to the negotiations – without being directly involved – and I assure you our negotiators are not going to sell NZ’s sovereignty,” he said. “I would urge [the critics] to wait until the final deal is agreed before passing judgement on these aspects and I believe that when the deal is completed the NZ public will be surprised at how good it is and how ridiculous some of the claims have been.”Mike Petersen


August 19 in history

August 19, 2015

1504 Battle of Knockdoe.

1561 An 18-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland after spending 13 years in France.

1612  The “Samlesbury witches“, three women from  Samlesbury, were put on trial, accused for practising witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in English history.

1631  John Dryden, English poet, was born  (d. 1700).

1666  Second Anglo-Dutch War: Rear Admiral Robert Holmes led a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships, an act later known as “Holmes’s Bonfire“.

1689 Samuel Richardson, English writer, was born  (d. 1761).
1692 Salem witch trials:  one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

1745  Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in Glenfinnan – the start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45″.

1768 Saint Isaac’s Cathedral was founded in Saint Petersburg.

1772  Gustavus III of Sweden staged a Coup d’état, in which he assumed power and enacted a new constitution that divided power between the Riksdag and the King.

1782 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks – the last major engagement of the war, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Lord Cornwallis.

1812 War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, earning her nickname “Old Ironsides”.

1813  Gervasio Antonio de Posadas joined Argentina’s second triumvirate.

1839  Presentation of Jacque Daguerre’s new photographic process to the French Academy of Sciences.

1853 Edward Gibbon Wakefield was elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

Wakefield elected to Parliament

1861 First ascent of Weisshorn, fifth highest summit in the Alps.

1883 Coco Chanel, French clothing designer, was born  (d. 1971).

1895 American frontier murderer and outlaw, John Wesley Hardin, was killed by an off-duty policeman in a saloon in El Paso.

1902 Ogden Nash, American poet, was born  (d. 1971).

1919 Afghanistan gained full independence from the United Kingdom.

1927  Metropolitan Sergius proclaimed the declaration of loyalty of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Soviet state.

1928 Bernard Levin, English journalist, author, and broadcaster, was born  (d. 2004).

1930 Frank McCourt, Irish-American author, was born  (d. 2009).

1934  The first All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.

1934  The creation of the position Führer was approved by the German electorate with 89.9% of the popular vote.

1939 Ginger Baker, English musician (Cream), was born.

1940 Johnny Nash, American singer-songwriter, was born.

1940 First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

1942  Operation Jubilee – the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division led an amphibious assault by allied forces on Dieppe, France and failed.

1944  As his damaged Hawker Typhoon fighter-bomber rapidly lost height,Pilot Officer James Stellin struggled to avoid crashing into Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, a village of 370 people in the Seine-Maritime region. He succeeded, but at the cost of his own life.

Kiwi pilot's sacrifice saves French village

1944  Liberation of Paris – Paris rose against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.

1945   Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh took power in Hanoi.

1946 Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was born.

1951 John Deacon, English musician (Queen), was born.

1953  Cold War: the CIA helped to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and reinstated the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1955 In the Northeast United States, severe flooding caused by Hurricane Diane, claimed 200 lives.

1960  Cold War: in Moscow, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.

1960  Sputnik 5 – the Soviet Union launched the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants.

1980  Saudia Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar burned after making an emergency landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh killing 301 people.

1981  Gulf of Sidra Incident: United States fighters intercepted and shot down two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.

1987  Hungerford Massacre: Michael Ryan killed sixteen people with an assault rifle and then committed suicide.

1989  Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominated Solidarity activistTadeusz Mazowiecki to be the first non-communist Prime Minister in 42 years.

1989  Raid on offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline in North Sea by British and Dutch governments.

1989 Several hundred East Germans crossed the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events which began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

1990  Leonard Bernstein conducted his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

1991  Collapse of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest..

1991  Hurricane Bob hit the Northeast, United States.

1999  Tens of thousands of Serbians rallied to demand the resignation of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milošević.

2002 A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops was hit by a Chechen missile killing 118 soldiers.

2003 A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq killed the agency’s top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

2003  A Hamas planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem killed 23 Israelis, 7 of them children in the Jerusalem bus 2 massacre.

2005 The first-ever joint military exercise between Russia and China, called Peace Mission 2005 began.

2005 A series of strong storms lashed Southern Ontario spawning several tornadoes as well as creating extreme flash flooding in Toronto and its surrounding communities. .

2009  A series of bombings in Baghdad, killed 101 and injured 565 others.

2010 – Operation Iraqi Freedom ended, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait.

2012 – A plane crash killed 32 people in Sudan.

2013 – A train accident in India killed at least 37 people and injured more than 12.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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