366 days of gratitude

March 15, 2016

Yesterday was summer, today it’s autumnal to wintry.

The rain is welcome, the cold not so much.

Thankfully the cold is outside not inside and I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

March 15, 2016

Exungulate – to pare or trim claws, hooves or nails.


Rural round-up

March 15, 2016

What’s all this crying over spilled milk? New Zealand’s dairy crisis explained – Richard Meadows:

The dairy industry is constantly in the headlines lately – for all the wrong reasons.

Milk prices are going down the gurgler, and farmers are really starting to feel the pain.

Dairy is such a huge part of the economy that townies can’t help but be swept up in this too.

If you haven’t been following the issue closely, here’s an overview of what’s going on. . . 

Dairy industry marshalling its resources:

Dairy industry leaders are marshalling their collective resources to ensure a united approach to supporting farmers in the wake of a record low Farmgate Milk Price.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the industry’s leaders including dairy company chairs and chief executives and Federated Farmers’ dairy section have met over the past month to discuss the serious situation and considered joint actions and options for support.

The DairyNZ board also meets this week and will discuss further options. “We’ll be talking through and reviewing our plan as an industry,” he says. . . 

NZ calf prices hit record high as demand soars amid supply shortage – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for weaned calves at the start of the new sales season in New Zealand are hitting record highs amid increased demand and lower supply.

Sales of six-month-old weaner steers and heifers this month at Stortford Lodge in Hastings, an early benchmark ahead of the peak sales period in April, rose between 17 and 29 percent on 2015, which was itself at record levels, according to AgriHQ. Weaner sales generally finish early May.

Farmers who shed stock ahead of summer last year on concern about the impact of a dry El Nino weather pattern were now seeking to restock as rain in many areas through January stimulated pasture growth. Meanwhile, farmers who had previously provided grazing support to the dairy industry are now looking for other sources of income such as fattening weaners as dairy farmers look to rein on costs. . . 

Fonterra and foresight – Robert Hickson:

I can’t help thinking whether Fonterra, and NZ’s dairy industry, would be in a better position now if they’d devoted some (more) resources to strategic foresight. They may have, but it isn’t evident so far.

What is “strategic foresight”, and what, if anything, is it good for?

Strategic foresight, which is being used increasingly now in the private sector rather than simply “futures”, is about linking foresight activities (scanning for trends and weak signals, scenarios, visioning exercises, etc) with strategy formulation and execution.

Strategic foresight needs to ask and answer the “So what?” questions, and identify actions to address anticipated challenges and opportunities. The organisation then deliberatively chooses to undertake them, or not. . . 

Marlborough wine industry needs more workers to sustain rapid growth – Oliver Lewis:

More labour and accommodation is needed to service the Marlborough wine industry, which is predicted to grow by a quarter over the next five years, a new report shows.

The Marlborough Labour Market Survey, released on Monday, was organised by Wine Marlborough, in collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers, the Marlborough District Council and Seasonal Solutions Co-operative Limited.

The purpose of the report, the first of its kind, is to get a comprehensive picture of the wine industry and its plans moving forward, to be able to plan for future labour requirements. . . 

Applications open for leading farm business management program:

Applications are open for the 2016 Rabobank Executive Development Program, tailored for progressive farmers to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Now in its 18th year, more than 500 New Zealand and Australian farmers have graduated from the intensive two-week program, which covers all aspects of business management including strategic goal setting, negotiation, risk management, leadership and technology.

Announcing the opening of applications, Rabobank general manager Country Banking New Zealand Hayley Moynihan said “interest in the program was perhaps stronger than ever, even taking into account the current downturn in the dairy industry”. . . .

NZ’s most tender and tasty lamb named at the Glammies:

The Gardyne family’s Perendale from Central Otago has been named the most tender and tasty lamb in New Zealand at the Glammies – the Beef + Lamb NZ Golden Lamb Awards – over the weekend.

The competition received a total of 173 entries which were subject to stringent scientific testing at Carne Technologies.

Following this process, the top 20 finalists were then tasted at the Grand Final judging at the Wanaka show. . . 

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers have a fun day to help keep blues away – Jill Galloway:

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers kept the blues away by attending a stress-free Rural Family After Five event.

About 200 people attended the evening event at the Te Kawau Memorial Recreation Centre this week at Rongota.

Parents talked and enjoyed a steak and sausage sandwich, while children slid on a water slide in an old fashioned get together with tug-of-war, touch rugby and a bouncy castle.

“When the kids are happy the parents can cope,” said a rural woman. . . 

 EPA Fines Wyoming Man $16 Million for Building a Pond on His Property – S. Noble:

Farmers and ranchers call the EPA’s new water rule the biggest land grab in the history of the world. It is a massive land grab, especially in a country that has been built on the right to own property. The administration is changing all that.

A new oppressive water rule gives the EPA jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the United States that are “intermittent, seasonal and rain-dependent.” It will regulate what are normal daily ranching and farming practices and take control of their land.

According to congressional budget testimony, waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds have been dry, in some cases, for hundreds of years. . . 

 


What’s your money personality?

March 15, 2016

Sorted has a money personality quiz.

I’m a practical domestic:

The title we felt best suited you was Practical Domestic. When it comes to money matters you are responsible, realistic, accurate, careful, traditional, steady, practical, diligent, super dependable, dutiful, organised, orderly and decisive.

Which means:

  • You enjoy spending on making life comfortable for your family and those who are important to you. You are often adjusting your spending to day-to-day events that make your life and work more satisfying for you and others.

  • You like nice physical surroundings and comforts. To you, home is valued territory. Your house is likely to be well-kept inside and out and meticulously maintained in a time-honoured traditional style. You love to spend on traditions and taking care of people and things. You like being with family and close friends and having special dinners and traditional family gatherings.

  • You like structure and orderliness to your finances. You believe in saving and putting something aside against an unpredictable future. You want to get there by the most direct means, as indirect and open methods seem inefficient to you. You do better when you have a clear pathway and goal in mind, and have a definite plan that leads to progress charts and tangible records.

  • You want knowledge and facts from financial advisers.

And

  • Down-to-earth practical and realistic business and investment ideas suit you best.

  • You do well behind the scenes supporting any business you believe in.

  • You are great with detail, bring follow through and focus to help things run smoothly.

  • People seek you out as responsible guardians who bring structure and efficiency to a task. You remember to do the little things that need to be done to make a project a success.

  • You tend to find meaning in life by serving human needs and making others happy so investing in something you believe in e.g. Using your investment to help others tends to feel most comfortable for you.

Like any of these non-scientific quizzes there’s some truth in this, though no-one who knows me well would accuse me of being great with detail.

 


BPS targets

March 15, 2016

The Public Service is working hard to meet the targets the government set for better public services:

Student achievement is ahead of target, welfare dependence continues to fall, immunisation rates are growing and child abuse rates are stabilising, Ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett say.

The Government has released the latest update of the Better Public Services (BPS) Results, outlining their progress against the ten challenging targets set by the Prime Minister in 2012.

The BPS targets include reducing long-term welfare dependence, supporting vulnerable children, boosting skills and employment, reducing crime, and improving public and business interaction with government.

Provisional 2015 NCEA Level 2 achievement results show the proportion of 18-year olds who achieve a NCEA Level 2 qualification has increased to 84.4 per cent, from 74.3 per cent in 2011.

“This means the target of 85 per cent by 2017 has almost been meet, two years ahead of schedule,” Mr English says.

The number of benefit recipients has decreased by 7,245 in a year, largely driven by decreases in Sole Parent Support and Job Seeker support numbers.

“This is good news on two levels because sole parents are getting into the workforce and becoming independent.

“In the last year we’ve reduced the long term cost of benefit dependence by $2.4 billion dollars through welfare reform and better support for beneficiaries to get back to work.”

The reduction of cost isn’t the only benefit. Social indicators such as health, education and crime are better for people in work and their children than for those on benefits.

The most recent results show that since the targets were introduced:

  • the proportion of immunised 8-month olds has increased from 82 per cent to  93.7 per cent
  • there has been a 45 per cent decrease in people being hospitalised for the first time with rheumatic fever, a disease of poverty
  • the trend in the number of children and young people experiencing substantiated physical abuse has flattened, after previously being on an upward trajectory
  • total crime, violent crime and youth crime have dropped 17 per cent, 10 per cent and 39 per cent respectively
  • 52.9 per cent of government service transactions with citizens are now completed digitally, up from 29.9 per cent in 2012

“This has always been an aspirational Government, which is why we set challenging targets in areas that matter to New Zealanders, like ensuring our schools deliver outstanding education, healthcare is reaching those who most need it, and our communities are safe,” State Services Minister Paula Bennett says.

“Without doubt, we wouldn’t be seeing these kinds of results without the hard work and dedication from hundreds of thousands of public servants across New Zealand.

“We’re committed to backing them to do their jobs, which is why we’re spending more on frontline services and changing our structures so agencies can work together more effectively.”

The latest Better Public Service Results update can be found here

New Zealand National Party's photo.


Quote of the day

March 15, 2016

It is safest to take the unpopular side in the first instance. Transit from the unpopular is easy… but from the popular to the unpopular is so steep and rugged that it is impossible to maintain it. William Lamb Melbourne who was born on this day in 1779.


March 15 in history

March 15, 2016

44 BC Julius Ceasar was stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March.

221 Liu Bei, a Chinese warlord and member of the Han royal house, declared himself emperor of Shu-Han and claimed his legitimate succession to the Han Dynasty.

351 Constantius II elevated his cousin Gallus to Caesar, and put him in charge of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire.

933  After a ten-year truce, German King Henry I defeated a Hungarian army at the Battle of Riade.

1311 Battle of Halmyros: The Catalan Company defeated Walter V of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens.

1493  Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first trip to the Americas.

1545 First meeting of the Council of Trent.

1672 Charles II issued the Royal Declaration of Indulgence.

1767  Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was born (d. 1845).

1776 South Carolina became the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government.

1779 Lord Melbourne, (William Lamb) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,, was born  (d. 1848).

1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse: 1,900 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis defeated an American force of 4,400.

1783 George Washington asked his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. The plea was successful and the threatened coup d’état never eventuated.

1809 Joseph Jenkins Roberts, first President of Liberia, was born (d. 1876).

1844 The New Zealand Company ended its colonising efforts.

New Zealand Company ends colonising efforts

1848 Revolution broke out in Hungary.

1877 The first cricket test started between England and Australia.

1887  – Marjorie Merriweather Post, American businesswoman, founded General Foods (d. 1973).

1906 Rolls-Royce Limited was incorporated.

1916 President Woodrow Wilson sent 12,000 United States troops over the U.S.-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa.

1917 Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated the Russian throne and his brother the Grand Duke Michael becomes Tsar.

1922  Fuad I became King of Egypt.

1926 The dictator Theodoros Pangalos was elected President of Greece without opposition.

1931 SS Viking exploded off Newfoundland, killing 27 of the 147 on board.

1933 Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss kept members of the National Council from convening, starting the austrofascist dictatorship.

1939 German troops occupied the remaining part of Bohemia and Moravia;Czechoslovakia ceased to exist.

1941 Mike Love, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.

1943  Third Battle of Kharkov – Germans retook the city of Kharkov from the Soviet armies in bitter street fighting.

1943 – Lynda La Plante, English screenwriter, and author.

1944 Sly Stone, American musician, was born.

1944 New Zealand forces captured Castle Hill during the Battle of Monte Cassino.

NZ forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino

1952 In Cilaos, Réunion, 1870 mm (73 inches) of rain fell in one day, setting a new world record.

1961 South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to the Selma crisis, told U.S. Congress “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act.

1985 The first Internet domain name was registered (symbolics.com).

1988 The Halabja poison gas attack of the Iran–Iraq War began.

1990 Iraq hung British journalist Farzad Bazoft for spying.

1990 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the first executive president of the Soviet Union.

1991 – The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany went into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.

2003 – President Ange-Felix Patasse ws overthrown in a coup by François Bozizé.

2011 – Beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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