Word of the day

October 5, 2015

Slatch –  a calm between breaking waves; area of quiet water between two breaking waves; a relatively smooth interval between heavy seas; a transitory breeze or its duration; an interval of fair weather; the loose or slack part of a rope.


DOC approves land swap for Ruataniwha

October 5, 2015

The Department of Conservation has approved a land swap which is necessary if the Ruataniwha irrigation scheme is to go ahead:

An application by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company to exchange land required for the Ruataniwha water storage scheme has been approved by DOC Director General Lou Sanson.

Lou Sanson says he has approved the land exchange because it will mean a net gain for conservation.

The decision means that the Department of Conservation will receive approximately 170 hectares of private land containing beech forest and regenerating native bush, in return for 22 hectares of the Ruahine Forest Park.

“The public will gain three times the area of black beech forest under this proposal, plus the new land will extend and complement the adjacent Gwavas Conservation Area,” he says.

The 170 hectare exchange block also includes two additional wetland sites, and is promising habitat for skinks and geckos, he says.

“On the other hand, the 22 hectares to be removed from the Ruahine Forest Park has been heavily logged in the past, is partly infested with weeds such as willow and Darwin’s barberry and contains a former house site,” Lou Sanson says.

Mr Sanson says the decision follows a thorough and open public process and the careful assessment of the ecological values of both sites.

The Director General has decided to revoke the protected status of the 22 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park to enable the exchange to take place.

Under the Conservation Act, proposed land exchanges must result in an overall conservation gain for public conservation land and promote the purposes of the Act.

“I believe this land exchange well and truly meets that test,” he says.

Lou Sanson says the land exchange is conditional on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company undertaking extra conservation programmes to help eradicate wilding pines from the exchange land and to restore whio/blue duck habitat.

The exchange is also conditional on the Ruataniwha water storage scheme going ahead.

In a separate decision, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company will be required to trap and transfer native fish species present at the dam site.

Full details of the decision are here.

The El Niño forecast predicts drought for much of the east coasts of both the North and South Islands this summer.

North Otago has had less than half its annual rainfall and the drought which struck North Canterbury last year still hasn’t broken.

Hawkes Bay had a deluge a couple of weeks ago but if the forecast is right, it won’t get much more this summer.

Any farmers on dry land who could afford to take up irrigation and haven’t yet, need to think of the next generation.

As my farmer told a meeting on the scheme when we were in Hawkes Bay a couple of years ago – think ahead fifty years. Do you want your grandchildren thanking you, or calling you silly old Bs for passing up the opportunity to drought-proof your farms.


Rural round-up

October 5, 2015

Equality sets top table of Silver Fern Farm’s joint venture – Fran O’Sullivan:

The Chinese saying “two tigers can’t live on the same mountain” comes to mind when assessing how Shen Wei Ping and Rob Hewett will co-exist as the two chairmen of the newly recapitalised Silver Fern Farms.

Shen is the president of one of four Bright Food listed subsidiaries, Shanghai Maling Aquarius.

Shanghai Maling is a newcomer to the New Zealand commercial scene.

Its sister company Bright Dairy & Food owns a sizeable stake in Canterbury’s Synlait Milk and is widely credited with assisting that firm emerge from the GFC in good order. . . 

Clipping the ticket on NZ’s primary produce :

Shanghai Maling’s offer to take a 5o percent stake in Silver Fern Farms has reignited the debate about foreign investment in New Zealand’s biggest cash cow, agriculture.

Alistair Wilkinson investigates whether NZ is at risk of losing control of its primary produce sector. . . 

Rainstorm cleanup underway – Kate Taylor:

Hawke’s Bay farmers are still counting the cost of a rain storm that killed thousands of lambs two weeks ago.

Most inland areas and some coastal areas recorded between 200mm-400mm of rain with higher country such as Puketitiri, Te Pohue and Nuhaka copping around 500mm.

Farmers who have never used slinky collectors have been on the phone for pickups, said Wallace Corp contractor collector Andy Walsh, Napier. He picked up 4000 lambs from the Puketitiri area in the week following the storm – an area he doesn’t traditionally visit. He picked up 500-600 from one property and was heading back there to pick up another 1100. . . 

Off the dole and into the field – Kerre McIvor:

More than 63,000 fit, capable, work-ready New Zealanders are looking for jobs, so why are we importing workers?

Between 2011 and last year, more than 23,000 Filipinos were granted temporary visas to work on New Zealand farms, because, apparently, there were no Kiwis to do the jobs. Yet Government stats state there are.

I can understand why overseas workers might be brought in to work in industries or professions where years of specialist training is required.

But being a good farm worker requires little more than basic common sense and a willingness to work. And the furore over the faked Filipino work visas proves that. It is believed one in three of the thousands of Filipino farmer workers is here with faked documents. . . .

Beehive crimes plague Northland – Kim Vinnell:

There’s a warning tonight for would-be honey thieves across the North Island – give up now or face the consequences.

Northland is experiencing a spate of beehive crimes, and it’s not being taken lightly.

We can’t tell you where Graham Wilson keeps his bees. That’s because he’s had $18,000-worth of hives stolen, so now he’s not taking any chances.

Mr Wilson has been in the bee game since he left high school 29 years ago. . . 

No luck on natural replacement for 1080 –  Lauren Baker:

Researchers looking for a natural and indigenous replacement for 1080 say it is difficult to come up with a more effective pest-killer.

After an initial shortlist of six plants, a five-year programme focused on the toxin tutin, from the tutu plant, which is known to have poisoned people and killed livestock.

But the results have shown it is not as effective on rats as 1080. . . 

Strong dairy commitment to research and development:

Industry body DairyNZ has confirmed its commitment to investing in dairy science following the release of AgResearch’s proposals for staffing reductions.

DairyNZ’s chief executive Tim Mackle says DairyNZ has continually increased its funding for research and development – because of its importance to the dairy industry.

“Our investment in research and development is unwavering. This year we are funding $18 million worth of scientific research. That is a 1.5 percent increase from last financial year. Farmers tell us it’s a top priority for them. The dairy industry has always had a long and deep commitment to science as the foundation that drives innovation and our competitiveness,” he says. . . 

Merino Kids look for newborns to join their flock!:

The ‘Face of Merino Kids’ competition is back. New Zealand’s favourite sleepbag company are hoping to find the cutest, cuddliest and coolest newborn out there to join their flock and front up their brand new Autumn/ Winter 2016 range.

In the eight years since the competition began Kiwis everywhere have been purchasing, sharing and gifting Go Go Bags and baby wraps with new generations joining their flock every year.

The competition, which launches on the 1st October, will be encouraging Kiwis around the nation to submit their scrummy newborn baby photos and stories via the Merino Kids website for a chance to win a prize pack valued at over $4,000, as well as having their beautiful baby featuring in the Autumn/ Winter 2016 advertising campaign. This will provide a fantastic opportunity to capture some timeless family photos of your loved ones also. In true Kiwi spirit the team at Merino Kids will also be providing a special thank you gift to each entrant for their ongoing support! . . .


Principals suggest school closures

October 5, 2015

School principals are talking sense on the best use of scarce funds:

. . . Principals told Radio New Zealand’s Insight programme that earthquake strengthening, leaky buildings and roll growth meant there was not enough property funding to go around, even though the government was expected to spend $6 billion over next 10 years addressing the issues.

With money short, they said, the government should consider closing schools instead of fixing them.

Principal of Te Mata School in Havelock North Mike Bain questions whether having multiple schools with low rolls promotes the best educational outcomes.

“You’ve got schools of under 100 that are spending a couple of hundred thousand on a new library, or classroom modernisation, or even a complete rebuild – don’t know that that’s the best spend of the money,” he said.

“I’m not advocating that we should have super schools where suddenly everyone goes, but when you’ve got multiple schools of less than 50 kids, is that promoting the best educational outcome for kids?” . . 

The number of children at a school isn’t necessarily an indication of the quality of the education it provides and big isn’t always better. But if pupils wouldn’t have to travel too far, it is usually better educationally and better use of money to have them at one bigger school than several smaller ones.

The Education Ministry’s property business case indicates school reorganisations might be considered in some areas.

It said significant roll drops in Gisborne, Tasman, West Coast, Manawatu-Whanganui and Hawke’s Bay would affect the shape of the school network in those areas.

But Kim Shannon of the Education Ministry’s infrastructure unit said the current property problems would not prompt school closures.

“Property is never the issue why you close down a school. That will always be educationally-driven and it will always be about the education needs of that community.”

School closures are usually contentious. But in my experience it’s often people who no longer have children at a school who fight hardest for it to stay open while parents of most pupils opt for what’s best for the education of their children which can be closing or merging with an other school.

Mike Williams, head of Pakuranga College and a member of the Secondary Principals Association, said the government should think about closing and merging schools.

“We have too many schools and so we have a lot of infrastructure that is very badly utilised. In high growth areas, yes, we’re having to build new classrooms, but there are classrooms all round the country that aren’t used, we have schools with very few students in them.”

Mr Williams said no community wanted to lose its school, but nationally that attitude was not sustainable.

PPTA Principals’ Council president Allan Vester said the government had always found it hard to close schools in the face of strong local opposition.

“There’s lots of communities that actually rationalisation needs to occur. There are more schools than are needed in an area, but it’s politically so difficult to make those changes.”

Mr Vester said the ministry knew where there were too many schools and not enough children, but found it hard to intervene.

Labour is still loathed in some areas because of the way then-Education Minister Trevor Mallard used a sledge-hammer approach to school closures more than a decade ago.

But when a school roll starts dropping, parents start taking their children elsewhere and it is possible with the  right approach to convince those who remain that a merger or closure will result in a school that better meets the educational needs of the pupils.


Quote of the day

October 5, 2015

Everyone’s told us that we’ve got this weak pool, so that’s how we manufacture something that allows us to practice stuff that we’re going to get later on.

If we brought our whole game straight away, everybody gets to see what we’ve got and that hasn’t worked for us in the past.

We’re trying a different tack, and we know we’ve got to get better but we’ve got a plan and we’re comfortable with that plan. – Steve Hansen


October 5 in history

October 5, 2015

869  The Fourth Council of Constantinople was convened to decide about what to do about Patriarch Photius of Constantinople.

1143  King Alfonso VII of Leon recognised Portugal as a Kingdom.

1665 The University of Kiel was founded.

1789 French Revolution: Women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.

1793 French Revolution: Christianity was disestablished in France.

1864 Louis Lumière, French film pioneer, was born (d. 1948).

1864 Calcutta was almost totally destroyed by a cyclone which killed  60,000 people.

1866 The Maungatapu murderers were hanged in Nelson.

Maungatapu murderers hanged in Nelson

1869  A strong hurricane devastated the Bay of Fundy in Canada.

1877 Chief Joseph surrendered his Nez Perce band to General Nelson A. Miles.

1895 The first individual time trial for racing cyclists was held on a 50-mile course north of London.

1903  Sir Samuel Griffith was appointed the first Chief Justice of Australia and Sir Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor were appointed foundation justices.

1905 Wilbur Wright piloted Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.

1910  Revolution in Portugal, monarchy overthrown, a republic declared .

1914  World War I’s first aerial combat resulting in a kill.

1930  British Airship R101 crashed in France en-route to India on its maiden voyage.

1936  The Jarrow March set off for London.

1942 Richard Street, American singer (The Temptations), was born.

1943  Steve Miller, American musician (Steve Miller Band), was born.

1944  Royal Canadian Air Force pilots shot down the first German jet fighter over France.

1944 – Suffrage was extended to women in France.

1945  Hollywood Black Friday: A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators turned into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios.

1947  The first televised White House address was given by PresidentHarry S. Truman.

1948  The 1948 Ashgabat earthquake killed 110,000.

1951 Irish singer Bob Geldof was born.

1953 The first documented recovery meeting of Narcotics Anonymouswas held.

1962 – Dr. No, the first in the James Bond film series, was released.

1966  A partial core meltdown at the Enrico Fermi demonstration nuclear breeder reactor.

1968  Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry – considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles.

1969 The first episode of  Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.

1970  The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was founded.

1970 British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped by members of the FLQ terrorist group.

1973  Signature of the European Patent Convention.

1974  Guildford pub bombings: bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed four British soldiers and one civilian.

1984  Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space, aboard theSpace Shuttle Challenger.

1986  Israeli secret nuclear weapons were revealed. The British newspaper The Sunday Times ran Mordechai Vanunu’s story on its front page under the headline: “Revealed — the secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.”

1988  The Chilean opposition coalition Concertación (center-left) defeatedAugusto Pinochet in his re-election intentions.

1990 After one hundred and fifty years The Herald broadsheet newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, was published for the last time as a separate newspaper.

1991 An Indonesian military transport crashed after takeoff from Jakarta killing 137.

1991 – The first official version of the Linux kernel, version 0.02, was released.

1999  The Ladbroke Grove rail crash in west London killed 31 people.

2000  Mass demonstrations in Belgrade led to resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević.

2001  Robert Stevens became the first victim in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

2011 – The MV Rena  ran aground on the Astrolabe reef near Tauranga,  resulting in an oil spill.

NZ Defence Force assistance to OP Rena.jpg

2011 – In the Mekong River massacre, two Chinese cargo boats were hijacked and 13 crew members murdered in the lawless Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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