366 days of gratitude

April 14, 2016

I used to not like fish.

What changed me was trout caught in Lake Taupo and barbecued soon after. My conversion was complete when I was treated to fresh-caught hapuka  from off the coast of Waimarama and Great Mercury Island.

Those experiences with fresh fish, which has such a delicate taste, made me realise that what I’d had before that the strong fishy taste that had put me off fish, can’t have been fresh.

Oxymoronic as it seems, fresh fish doesn’t taste fishy.

Fish bought from a shop can never be as fresh as that cooked straight from the lake or sea but we can usually get blue cod which is nearly as good.

That’s what we had for dinner tonight, baked with a topping of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

It was not at all fishy and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 14, 2016

Temerarious – reckless; rash; presumptuously daring; unreasonably adventurous.


Thursday’s quiz

April 14, 2016

You’re welcome to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps us all will win a virtual bouquet of autumn flowers.


Rural round-up

April 14, 2016

Water gives life to NZ’s economy – Anrew Curtis:

Much media debate has arisen recently on whether new irrigation schemes are necessary in the wake of the dairy downturn.  

What the dairy industry doesn’t need at the moment is to be kicked when it’s down; the debate has brought to light a need for IrrigationNZ to better foster relationships and promote understanding of modern irrigation across the board.  

Let’s start with the facts: in NZ water is plentiful. We average 145 million litres per person in NZ compared with 82 in Canada, 22 in Australia, nine in the US, two in China and two in the UK. We are water rich but are yet to make the most of this potential. . . 

Farmers agree kiwi farm labourers  ‘hopeless‘ – Alexa Cook:

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is “on the money” saying many young New Zealanders in farm work are “pretty damned hopeless”, a South Island farming leader says.

Mr English made the comments at a Federated Farmers meeting last week, saying many people seeking jobs through the Ministry of Social Development did not show up or stay with the job.  

Otago Young Farmers Club vice-chair Mike Marshall milks 500 cows, and said he was employing people from Scotland because New Zealanders were not good workers. . .  

Fonterra’s first governance review suggests cutting board members by two, single election process for directors – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group is proposing cutting its board numbers by two to 11 and having a single process for electing farmer appointed and independent directors as part of the first governance overhaul since it was established 15 years ago.

A booklet on the first draft proposal from the long-awaited review of the farmer-owned dairy cooperative is being sent out to farmers today and a final recommendation is to go to shareholder vote in late May or early June after feedback. . . 

National regulations proposed for pest control:

Regulations are being proposed under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to provide for a nationally consistent approach to pest control, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in releasing a consultation paper standardising the regulatory regime for pest control at the New Zealand PIanning Institute conference.

“These proposed RMA regulations are a response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report recommending that I instigate a more standardised approach to pest control. Rather than each regional council having different pest control rules, the standard controls set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) would apply. . . 

Kiwifruit found to regulate blood sugar – Lucy Warhurst:

A new study has found there could be more health benefits to eating kiwifruit than we first thought.

It’s known for being high in fibre and vitamin C, but it’s also now been found to significantly slow and reduce the uptake of sugars into the bloodstream.

Zespri’s Innovation Leader for Health and Nutrition, Dr Juliet Ansell, says people who ate kiwifruit with their breakfast saw more regulated blood sugar levels.

“You actually really reduce that blood sugar peak in your blood stream. It’s a much slower, longer tail off, so much more regulated blood glucose control.” . . . 

Global megatrends expert says New Zealand on trend with food-for-health:

New Zealand should apply its tourism’s “100% Pure” campaign to the agricultural industry, utilise its “clean-green” image, extend it to “clean-green-healthy” and back it with science to add a premium to its exports, according to Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, an international expert in strategy and foresight.

Dr Hajkowicz, author of the recently published book “Global Megatrends – Seven Patterns of Change Shaping our Future” is in New Zealand to address the 2016 High-Value Nutrition Science Symposium -Foods of the Future, Transforming New Zealand into a Silicon Valley of Foods for Health-. . . 

Feedback sought on proposed animal welfare regulations:

The Government is seeking feedback on proposed regulations to further strengthen our animal welfare system.

“Last year the Government amended the Animal Welfare Act to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system,” says Mr Guy.

“We are now seeking the public’s views on proposed regulations that have been developed in consultation with the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC),” says Mr Guy.
These proposed regulations will set enforceable rules based on best practice and modern science.

“Our animal welfare system is considered one of the best in the world. The proposed regulations will further strengthen our reputation as a country that cares for animals,” says Mr Guy. . . .

IrrigationNZ confident Ruataniwha will proceed:

IrrigationNZ today said it was confident that Ruataniwha would go ahead and disputed claims aired on RadioNZ that costs for the project have risen by 50 percent.

“What isn’t clear in this reporting is there are two distinct parts to this project. One is the cost of building the dam and the infrastructure of piping water to the farm gate, the other is the cost of developing on-farm irrigation systems,” said IrrigationNZ chairwoman Nicky Hyslop.

“A year on yes, there is an increase to building the dam – $275 to $330 million, and the reality is, the more time that goes by the more it will cost. There will never be a cheaper time to build than today. . . 

Deputy PM to headline DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum event:

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English and Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings are among a line-up of leading speakers presenting to dairy farmers at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, May 17-18, in Hamilton.

The biennial event will give dairy farmers insight into how to adapt their businesses in the current challenging times and how the global environment will shape the future of New Zealand milk production.

“The Farmers’ Forum is about helping farmers understand what is driving the current financial climate and what they can do to help manage it,” says DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Rick Pridmore. . . .

Farmers Gather for First Field Day at Sea:

Farmers took to the water recently to learn about the entrepreneurial drive of Clearwater Mussels director John Young and how his principles can equally apply to land-based farming.

As aquaculture entrepreneurs, Clearwater Mussels was joint winner of the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Competition (with Omarama Station), it was the first ever winner’s field day held at sea.

Three boatloads of field day attendees (approx. 200 people) left Havelock Marina and motored into the Kekeperu Sound to see greenshell mussel harvesters and seeders at work, and learn about what a marine farming business did to make it a competition winner. . . 

Final FMG Young Farmer of the Year to be found in Ashburton:

The last of the seven Grand Finalists will be determined this weekend in Ashburton at the Aorangi FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final.

“This contest season has been very successful and impressive to date, the calibre of contestants is high and each Regional Final has been fiercely competed for” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Timaru 7 – 9 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $285,000 in products, services and scholarships from FMG, Massey University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, Honda, STHIL and Vodafone. . . 

NZ Farming's photo.

Farming is the art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you’re trying to kill them. – NZ Farming.


Some are ‘pretty damned hlopeless’

April 14, 2016

Finance Minister Bill English has been criticised for telling the truth – some job seekers are pretty damned hopeless:

Finance Minister Bill English is not backing down from his comments that some Kiwis hunting for work are “pretty damned hopeless” and “can’t read and write properly”.

At a Federated Farmers meeting in Feilding last week English said there was a “cohort of Kiwis now” who couldn’t get a licence because they were illiterate and “don’t look to be employable”.

His comments were directed at “young males” who didn’t turn up to work or didn’t stay on when offered a job. . . 

English says those comments were supported by what the Government heard from dozens of New Zealand employers.

“…many of the people on our Ministry of Social Development list will not show up to the jobs they are offered and will not stay in the jobs that they are offered”.

He said that was a “realistic description of the problems we are dealing with” and if Lees-Galloway couldn’t handle that, then “he is out of touch”. . . 

This is indeed a realistic description of the problem.

A few years ago we were trying to employ people from overseas and were told the local WINZ office had job seekers who could do the job.

Our office manager and I went in to the office to see if there was anyone suitable. There wasn’t.

I said to the WINZ staff member that, given there was a shortage of farm workers, people on her books were unlikely to be anyone we’d want to employ. She agreed with me and signed the form enabling us to employ the overseas worker.

The young people the Minister referred to may well have had dreadful upbringings, little or no family support, changed school often, poor literacy and numeracy, no driver’s licence, no work ethic, and/or problems with alcohol and drugs.

That is a significant problem for them and society at large but employers who need someone to do a job safely and well are very unlikely to risk employing them.

What government and its agencies, NGOs and businesses can and ought to do about the problem might be debatable but that this is the problem is not.

Update:

The Hansard transcript of the questions and answers shows not only is the government aware of the problem it is doing something about it:

Iain Lees-Galloway: Does he stand by the statements made to a meeting of Federated Farmers that there is “a cohort of Kiwis who now can’t get a licence because they can’t read and write properly and don’t look to be employable—you know, basically, young males” and that a lot of Kiwis available for work are, in his words, “pretty damned hopeless”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, and I welcomed the presence of the member who strode to the front of the Federated Farmers meeting and sat there showing complete attention to everything I said, for about 20 minutes.

Iain Lees-Galloway: Does he stand by his statement that one of the reasons why immigration is “a bit more permissive” is that, in his words, Kiwis are “pretty damned hopeless”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think the member is mixing a couple of different statements there. I referred to the common—[Interruption] Well, the Government is at the sharp edge of this every day, and I referred to the common response from New Zealand employers that many of the people on our Ministry of Social Development list will not show up to the jobs they are offered and will not stay in the jobs that they are offered. If the member has not heard that from dozens of New Zealand employers, he is out of touch.

Iain Lees-Galloway: Why, after 8 years of the National Government, has he written off a whole cohort of young men as unemployable because they cannot read or write properly, and what message does it send young New Zealand men that they need to be replaced by migrant workers because, in his words, they are “pretty damned hopeless”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Government has certainly not written anybody off. In fact, we have poured hundreds of millions into raising the level of educational achievement, job training for young New Zealanders, and individual supervision for every sole parent under the age of 20. Labour left young New Zealanders in such bad shape that even with that investment we still have so much more to do. And if the member cannot handle a realistic description of the problems we are dealing with, then he is out of touch.

Lees-Galloway probably thought he’d land a hit on the Minister.

All he’s done is shown he doesn’t recognise the problem and is out of touch not only with employers but most other people who recognise there is a problem.


Quote of the day

April 14, 2016

Theories come and theories go, but the facts go on forever.Alan MacDiarmid who was born on this day in 1927.


April 14 in history

April 14, 2016

43 BC  Battle of Forum Gallorum: Mark Antony, besieging Julius Caesar’s assassin Decimus Junius Brutus in Mutina, defeated the forces of the consul Pansa, who was killed.

69 –  Vitellius, commander of the Rhine armies, defeated Emperor Otho in the Battle of Bedriacum and seizes the throne.

1028  Henry III, son of Conrad, was elected king of the Germans.

1205 Battle of Adrianople between Bulgarians and Crusaders.

1294 Temür, grandson of Kublai, is elected Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty with the reigning titles Oljeitu and Chengzong.

1341 Sacking of Saluzzo  by Italian-Angevine troops under Manfred V of Saluzzo.

1434 The foundation stone of Cathedral of  St. Peter and St. Paul in Nantes was laid.

1471 The Yorkists under Edward IV defeated the Lancastrians under Warwick at the battle of Barnet; the Earl of Warwick was killed and Edward IV resumed the throne.

1699  Birth of Khalsa  the brotherhood of the Sikh religion, in Northern India in accordance with the Nanakshahi calendar.

1775 The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage  – the first abolitionist society in North America – was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

1828  Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary.

1846 The Donner Party of pioneers left Springfield, Illinois, for California, on what became a year-long journey of hardship, cannibalism, and survival.

1849 Hungary declared itself independent of Austria with Lajos Kossuth as its leader.

1860 The first Pony Express rider reached Sacramento, California.

1864 Battle of Dybbøl: A Prussian-Austrian army defeated Denmark and gained control of Schleswig. Denmark surrendered the province in the following peace settlement.

1865   Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

1865 U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family were attacked in their home by Lewis Powell.

1866 Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, was born (d. 1936).

1881 The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight erupted in El Paso, Texas.

1890 The Pan-American Union was founded by the First International Conference of American States.

1894 Thomas Edison demonstrated the kinetoscope, a device for peep-show viewing using photographs that flip in sequence.

1904 Sir John Gielgud, English actor, was born (d. 2000).

1912  The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hit an iceberg at 11.40pm in the North Atlantic, and sank the following morning with the loss of 1,517 lives.

1927 The first Volvo car premiered in Gothenburg.

1927 Alan MacDiarmid, New Zealand chemist, Nobel laureate, was born  (d. 2007).

1931 Spanish Cortes Generales deposed King Alfonso XIII and proclaimed the 2nd Spanish Republic.

1932 A crowd of about 1500 rioted in Queen Street.

Unemployed riots rock Queen Street

1932  – Loretta Lynn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born.

1935 Black Sunday Storm, the worst dust storm of the U.S. Dust Bowl.

1941 Julie Christie, British actress, was born.

1941 World War II: The Ustashe, a Croatian far-right organisation was put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis Power after theOperation 25 invasion.

1941 – Rommel attacked Tobruk.

1944 Bombay Explosion: A massive explosion in Bombay harbour killsed300 caused economic damage valued then at 20 million pounds.

1945 –  Osijek, Croatia, was liberated from fascist occupation.

1945 – Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, 8th Prime Minister of Samoa, was born.

1945 Ritchie Blackmore, English guitarist (Deep Purple), was born.

1951 Julian Lloyd Webber, English cellist, was born.

1956 In Chicago videotape was first demonstrated.

1958 The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 fell from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days.

1961 Robert Carlyle, British actor, was born.

1969  Academy Award for Best Actress was a tie between Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand.

1973 David Miller, American tenor (Il Divo), was born.

1978 – Thousands of Georgians demonstrated in Tbilisi against Soviet attempts to change the constitutional status of the Georgian language.

1981 The first operational space shuttle, Columbia (OV-102) completed its first test flight.

1986 In retaliation for the April 5 bombing in West Berlin that killed two U.S. servicemen, U.S. president Ronald Reagan ordered major bombing raids against Libya, killing 60 people.

1986 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) hailstones fell on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92 – these were the heaviest hailstones ever recorded.

1988 The USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine in the Persian Gulf during Operation Earnest Will.

1988  The Soviet Union signed an agreement pledging to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

1994 In a U.S. friendly fire incident during Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq, two United States Air Force aircraft mistakenly shoot-down two United States Army helicopters, killing 26 people.

1999  NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees.

1999 A severe hailstorm struck Sydney causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.

2002 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to office two days after being ousted and arrested by the country’s military.

2003 The Human Genome Project was completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

2003 U.S. troops in Baghdad captured Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner the MS Achille Lauro in 1985.

2005 The Oregon Supreme Court nullified marriage licenses issued to gay couples a year earlier by Multnomah County.

2007 At least 200,000 demonstrators in Ankara protested against the possible candidacy of incumbent Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

2010 – Nearly 2,700 people were killed in a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai, China.

2014 – Twin bomb blasts in Abuja, Nigeria, killed at least 75 people and injured 141 others.

2014 – Two hundred seventy-six schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Northeastern Nigeria.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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