366 days of gratitude

May 31, 2016

Farmers are generally pretty good at running repairs but the return valve that was causing the motor running our heater system to stop required an expert.

He came, he saw, he ordered a part, it arrived, he came back and the motor is working as it should again.

Today I’m grateful for our plumber.


Word of the day

May 31, 2016

Blimpery  – an attitude or outlook that pompously and peremptorily rejects social change or new ideas in the manner of Colonel Blimp; behaviour or speech expressive of this outlook; blimpishness.


Rural round-up

May 31, 2016

Japanese visit source of their wool – Sally Rae:

Delegates from Japanese suit maker Konaka were treated to a Kiwi farm experience and more when they visited Closeburn Station this week.

Gimmerburn farmer Tony Clarke gave a karate demonstration, a passion of his and one of the reasons he is so interested in Japanese culture.

His family’s relationship with the Tokyo stock exchange listed company has been “going from strength to strength” since initial contact in 2012, he said. . . 

Demonstration farm turning to dairying:

Southland Demonstration Farm (SDF) at Wallacetown, near Invercargill, is changing from operating a leased farm to establishing the Southern Dairy Hub.

SDF chairman Maurice Hardie commended the vision of Pam Brock and her late husband Stephen for the provision of their farm, which had contributed immensely to raising the profile and productivity of dairy farming in Southland.

“Nine years ago, farm owners Stephen and Pam Brock made their Wallacetown dairy farm available to the southern dairy industry to showcase dairy farming in Southland. . . 

Farming through drought easier with software:

A farmer struck by two years of drought says farm management software is helping him make timely decisions and get better results.

Rob Lawson farms with his brother Willie and father Jim on the 2300ha family farm Moana, just north of Dunedin.

While many parts of the East Coast seem to have dodged the predicted El Nino, Rob says it has been “very typical” in their area over the past two years. In fact the rainfall has even been lower this year than the worst drought his father has experienced before now – in 1998 and 1999. “That’s East Coast farming, and that’s what we’ve got to contend with,” Rob says.

Despite the severity of the drought, so far they have not lowered their capital stock numbers at all. Rob puts that down to close monitoring of stock. .  .

Bank of China NZ unit funds Chinese-NZ mission to boost tradeBy Tina Morrison

 (BusinessDesk) – Bank of China, one of the country’s biggest lenders, funded 55 of its Chinese company clients to meet with 120 Kiwi agricultural businesses in a bid to grow trade and help meet its goal of becoming the largest Chinese bank in New Zealand.

The bank flew over two to three representatives from each Chinese company and hosted 348 matchmaking sessions, which have so far resulted in at least four Memorandums of Understanding between firms to work together. A similar venture for 20 second-tier e-commerce companies in November last year helped local manufacturers export US$3 million in the first quarter of this year, it said. . . 

Don’t let velvetleaf hitch a ride on Gypsy Day:

This Gypsy Day, farmers are being urged to avoid moving the invasive pest weed velvetleaf along with their stock.

June 1 marks the first day of the new dairying season where thousands of sharemilkers load their cows into stock trucks or herd stock on roads and move equipment and families to new farms.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) cautions that the mass movement of stock and equipment could also move velvetleaf seed to other properties. . . 


State poor substitute for families

May 31, 2016

When I read that New Zealand marriage rates continue to decline I wondered if that had any influence on poverty and housing shortages.

A report from Family First authored by Lindsay Mitchel  says it does.

The executive summary says:

Despite families being much smaller, parents being older, mothers being better educated and having much higher employment rates, child poverty has risen significantly since the 1960s.

In 1961, 95 percent of children were born to married couples; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to 53 percent.

For Maori, 72 percent of births were to married parents in 1968; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to just 21 percent.

In 2015, 27 percent of registered births were to cohabiting parents. The risk of parental separation by the time the child is aged five is, however, 4-6 times greater than for married parents.

Cohabiting relationships are becoming less stable over time.

Cohabiting parents are financially poorer than married parents. They form an interim group between married and single parent families.

Single parent families make up 28 percent of all families with dependent children. These families are the poorest in New Zealand.

51% of children in poverty live in single parent families.

Single parents have the lowest home ownership rates and the highest debt ratios.

Children in sole parent families are often exposed to persistent poverty and constrained upward mobility.

Of registered births in 2015, 5% had no recorded father details and a further 15% had fathers living at a different home address to the mother.

Of all babies born in 2015, 17.5% (10,697) were reliant on a main benefit by the end of their birth year, over two thirds on a single parent benefit. Over half had Maori parents/caregivers.

The higher poverty rates for Maori and Pasifika children are reflected in the greater number of sole parent and cohabiting families.

Rapidly changing family structure has contributed significantly to increasing income inequality.

Child poverty is consistently blamed on unemployment, low wages, high housing costs and inadequate social security benefits. Little attention has been given to family structure.

Despite marriage being the best protector against child poverty it has become politically unfashionable – some argue insensitive – to express such a view.

But if there is to be any political will to solve child poverty the issue has to be confronted.

It is no coincidence that the increase in sole parenting and the educational, financial, health and other social problems associated with it, started with the increase of benefit dependence:

While child poverty also occurs among two parent families, its severity and longevity tend to differ, primarily because two parent families generally derive their income from the market which is subject to fluctuations; single parents are more likely to derive their income from a benefit 17 which is reasonably static and not subject to market fluctuations. Ironically, while benefit income is more secure, market income is more likely to improve over time. . . 

Benefits for most people are supposed to provide temporary support until they are able to look after themselves. Most people in paid work are able to earn more through pay increases and as they gain more experience, better qualifications.

Before the Domestic Purposes Benefit, people were trapped in abusive, dysfunctional and desperately unhappy marriages.

The DPB enabled people, usually but not always mothers, to get out of those relationships and most don’t stay dependent on it for long. But it also enabled people, again usually but not always women, to have children without supportive partners- in both the emotional and financial sense.

. . . a trend towards the formation of de facto relationships began, as did the increasing incidence of un-partnered mothers keeping and raising their children alone. Separating the two patterns poses substantial difficulties but was attempted by Kaye Goodger in 1998 (see graph below). 34 Of particular interest are the lines labelled “ex-nuptial children retained by single mothers” and “ex-nuptial births with no resident father”. The number grew from a few hundred in the early 1960s to around 13,000 by 1996, representing more than half of all ex-nuptial births.  . .

It takes two people to make a baby but too often one is left to bring the child up without the help of a spouse and ex

Frequently, young un-partnered mothers fall into what MSD research describes as the “early starter” group of sole parents who, “…appeared to be particularly disadvantaged. Half of them lived in high deprivation areas with a New Zealand Deprivation Index (NZDep) rating of 9 or 10. Levels of debt to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Special Needs Grant use suggest that many struggled to cope financially.” 46

In 2005, this group accounted for 45 percent of all the children dependent on the DPB.These particular children will often be subject to the long-term deprivation associated with sole parents who are chronically or repeatedly single.47 Their mothers may view a benefit as more reliable than, and preferable to, a partner. Yet being ‘without a current partner’ has been classified as a risk factor for child vulnerability by the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) study.48 It is also associated with other low socio-economic risk factors. . . 

But too often, adding a partner to the mix endangers the children.

At November 2011, 26,000 women receiving the DPB had included additional new-born children: 20 percent had added 1 more child; 6 percent added two; 2 percent had added 3 subsequent children and 1 percent had added four or more.49 Each percentage point equates to almost 900 mothers. Between 2006 and 2010 this amounted to an annual average of 4,190 subsequent children (or 7% of average annual total births over same period) added to a sole parent benefit. Only 610 were added to other main benefits.  . . 

In conclusion, an extended explanation of this particular pathway into sole parenthood has been provided because children who appear in the benefit system from birth – or shortly thereafter – form a particularly disadvantaged group. The rate of early child benefit-dependence through un-partnered birth appears to have been declining very slowly since the early 1990s. This coincides with general child poverty rates (see p 7). The exposure of these children to low income is prolonged because their mothers became dependent very young without educational qualifications or work experience and leaving welfare poses numerous challenges. . . 

This is why the government is  putting so much effort, and money, into working with young single parents. Helping them look after their babies, gain qualifications and get work is the best way out of poverty.

With the decline in marriage has come an increase in cohabitation. Some of these relationships lead to marriage and some last longer than some marriages, but:

In 1995, New Zealand research found:

“About 46 percent of cohabiting first unions aged 20-59 were converted into a marriage, and 44 percent were dissolved (11 percent were still intact at the time of survey). Of those that were either dissolved or converted into a marriage, over 90 percent did so in the first five years.” 61

In line with this, the Christchurch Child Development Study found that cohabitation is a foremost risk factor for breakdown of a child’s family in its first five years with 43.9 percent of de facto couples separating compared to 10.9 percent of married parents.62 Not dissimilar statistics were produced by the Jubilee Centre which analysed data from the United Kingdom Longitudinal Study63 and showed:

“For cohabiting parents, the child’s earliest years are a time of disproportionate risk, with 37 percent of couples separating by the time the child is five compared with less than 6 percent of married couples – more than a six-fold difference. By the time the child is 16, 16 percent of married couples will have separated, compared to 66 percent of cohabiting couples – a four-fold difference.” . . 

The report quotes research which shows families where the parents are in a defacto relationship are poorer than those with married parents.

In New Zealand, according to MSD, “A Household Savings Survey (HSS) carried out in 2001 revealed clear relationships between savings, in the form of net assets, and legal marital status, family size, family type, and age. The net worth of couples living in the same household varied considerably according to whether they were legally married or not. The median net worth of all married couples was $201,400 compared with $49,500 for all unmarried couples (age-standardised data are unavailable).” 73 . . .

Higher annual before tax incomes (from all sources) for married couples are evident. Larger proportions of de facto people appear in the low income groups, while in the higher income groups de facto numbers drop away quite sharply.

The income differences for New Zealand couples are not as stark as in the US. This may be, at least partially, a result of Working for Families (WFF). Income redistribution through the tax/benefit system reduces the difference between rich and poor – so to some extent, between married and unmarried couples. WFF is a substantial transfer. The New Zealand Initiative describes how “…cash benefits exceeded direct tax paid on average for each of these [lowest] five deciles.” 74

There is another important point to be made. Not only are cohabiting parents generally poorer, given their greater propensity for separation, financial resources available for children post-dissolution are also more limited. Again the risk of child poverty is heightened. . .

The report goes on to look at ethnic breakdown and the role of unemployment.

It then notes:

Just as family structure plays a significant role in the incidence and degree of child poverty, so it does in levels of inequality of income and wealth across New Zealand society. The two go hand-in-hand. In the matter of inequality, most attention is paid to unemployment, market forces, so-called “neoliberal” policies, labour market deregulation and the shortcomings of capitalism in general. In New Zealand at least, little interest has been taken in the role of family structure. The closest to acknowledging the role of family structure was a 2013 report from the NZ Institute for Economic Research (NZIER) which claimed: “The distribution of income in New Zealand and around the OECD became more unequal after the 1960s as societies became more liberal and households changed.” 102 . . 

Then it concludes:

This paper has demonstrated the clear differences between incomes in married, de facto and sole parent families with children. Though child poverty has more dimensions than income alone, the links between household finances and material deprivation are important. Yet, in the very many discussions and reports about child poverty, the elephant in the room – family structure – is constantly ignored. Unemployment, low wages, high housing costs and insufficient social security benefits are consistently blamed for child poverty yet a major culprit (if not the major culprit) is family malformation, that is, a lack of two married committed parents.

There are at least three belief systems which have heavily influenced social science thinking, which in turn influences policy-making, which in turn influences public behaviours. The direction in which these influences operate may be fluid and certainly there is something of the ‘chicken and egg’ phenomenon at work. For instance, unmarried childbirth began to rise prior to the advent of the DPB. But it accelerated rapidly in its wake.

The three relevant ideologies at work since 1961 have been feminism; socialism and moral relativism.

Feminism sought to increase the choices and freedoms of women (but may have inadvertently overlooked those of their children). The ‘feminisation of poverty’, the idea that women are the disproportionately poor gender – and not just in developing countries – is sound and has led directly to greater child poverty. Replacing reliance on a male partner with reliance on the state ‘partner’ has not enriched those mothers.

Socialism sought to equalise incomes of people through state redistribution of wealth (yet would appear to have increased child poverty). Welfare payments that were generous relative to unskilled wages have undermined the formation and maintenance of parental relationships and trapped generations of families on benefits.

Moral relativism sought to suspend moral judgments about people’s decisions and behaviours regardless of contribution to poor personal and societal outcomes, especially for children.

The political left – though the left/right divide has become less distinct in New Zealand – tends to most strongly adhere to these belief systems and resists evidence that their application is failing.

To identify marriage as beneficial for the outcomes of children necessarily criticises other forms of partnerships so, in the eyes of many, must be avoided. Offence to any group or class seems undesirable no matter how much the negative impact might be on children.

There may be a legitimate fear of discrimination among bureaucrats constrained by human rights legislation? There may be a resistance to recognising the positive economic role of marriage in a secular country? . . 

For politicians there’s a fear of expressing support for marriage because it just sounds fusty and unfashionable (excepting same-sex marriage). Accusations of ‘social engineering’ might be levelled.

Examples of the US promoting marriage through government policy could be raised as a distinctly unwelcome spectre. Many New Zealanders harbour anti-American sentiments.

It is not the intention of this paper to explore at length why marriage has fallen out of favour with most social science academics and policy-makers.

The aim has been to show that marriage provides the best economic environment for raising children. The evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible.

The paper doesn’t go into why families with married parents have better outcomes nor show if other factors are relevant. Are there, for examples, differences in the education, employment and family support of people who choose to marry and those who don’t which could influence outcomes?

Marriage doesn’t guarantee successful outcomes for the couple and their children, nor do de facto relationships and solo parenting guarantee failure.

However, this paper shows that families with married parents are more likely to succeed than the others. They also need only one house.

The media has been full of stories of homeless people.

Among them have been the mother of eight children facing huge debts and at-risk youth engaging in sex to get somewhere to sleep.

These reports only ever tell a very small part of the story and rarely ask, let alone answer, how the people got into these dire situations and where are the children’s father or fathers and extended families.

As Martin van Beynen says:

The current weeping, wailing and gross over-simplification of the problems at the root of violence and dysfunction will not achieve anything. . .

We have tried everything and all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility. . . 

The state is a very poor substitute for families and many, though not all, of the examples that reach the media demonstrate what happens when people claim their rights without accepting responsibility.


Quote of the day

May 31, 2016

Oh, the illusion of choice in the modern world – don’t get me started. But don’t you agree that the Internet has softened our brains and made us forget that ‘choice’ used to mean something different from selecting options from menus? – Lynne Truss who celebrates her 63rd birthday today.


May 31 in history

May 31, 2016

1279 BC – Rameses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) became pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

526  A an earthquake in Antioch, Turkey, killed 250,000.

1223 Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River – Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeated Kievan Rus and Cumans.

1578  Martin Frobisher sailed from Harwich,  to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fool’s gold, used to pave streets in London.

1669   Samuel Pepys recorded the last event in his diary.

1678  The Godiva procession through Coventry began.

1759  The Province of Pennsylvania banned all theatre productions.

1775  American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolutions adopted in the Province of North Carolina.

1790 Alferez Manuel Quimper explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1790 – The United States enacted its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790.

1813  Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.

1819 Walt Whitman, American poet, was born (d. 1892).

1859  The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, started keeping time.

1862  American Civil War Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines or (Battle of Fair Oaks) – Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston & G. W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.

1864 American Civil War Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor – The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engaged the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant & George G. Meade.

1866  In the Fenian Invasion of Canada, John O’Neill led 850 Fenian raiders across the Niagara Riveras part of an effort to  free Ireland from the English.

1872 Heath Robinson, English cartoonist, was born (d. 1944).

1884 Arrival at Plymouth of Tawhiao,  Maori king, to claim protection of Queen Victoria.

TawhiaoNLA.jpg

1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people died after a dam break sent a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

1898 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman, was born (d. 1993).

1902 The Treaty of Vereeniging ended the second Boer War war and ensured British control of South Africa.

1910 Creation of the Union of South Africa.

1911  The ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic was launched.

1916  World War I: Battle of Jutland – The British Grand Fleet under the command of Sir John Jellicoe & Sir David Beatty engaged the Kaiserliche Marine under the command of Reinhard Scheer & Franz von Hipper in the largest naval battle of the war, which proved indecisive.

1921 Tulsa Race Riot: A civil unrest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the official death toll was 39, but recent investigations suggest the actual toll was much higher.

1923 Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, was born (d. 2005).

1924  The Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Peking government, referring to Outer Mongolia as an “integral part of the Republic of China”, whose “sovereignty” therein the Soviet Union promised to respect.

1927  The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.

1930 Clint Eastwood, American film director and actor, was born.

1935  A 7.7 Mw earthquake destroyed Quetta, Pakistan,: 40,000 dead.

1935 Jim Bolger, 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.

1938 Peter Yarrow, American folk singer (Peter, Paul and Mary), was born.

1939 Terry Waite, British humanitarian, was born.

1941  A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin claimed 38 lives.

1942 World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines began a series of attacks on Sydney.

1943  Zoot Suit Riots began.

1953 – Lynne Truss, English journalist and author.

1961 Republic of South Africa created.

1962 The West Indies Federation dissolved.

1962  Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.

1965 Brooke Shields, American actress and supermodel, was born.

1967 Phil Keoghan, New Zealand-born US television personality, was born.

1970  The Ancash earthquake caused a landslide that buried the town of Yungay, Peru; more than 47,000 people were killed.

1971  In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.

1973  The United States Senate voted to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of theCambodian Civil War.

1975 Mona Blades, an 18 year-old htich hiker disappeared, after last being seen in an orange Datsun.

Mona Blades vanishes

1977  The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System completed.

1981  Burning of Jaffna library, Sri Lanka.

1985 Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.

1989 – A group of six members of the guerrilla group Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru (MRTA) of Peru, shot dead eight transsexuals, in the city of Tarapoto

1991 – Bicesse Accords in Angola laid out a transition to multi-party democracy under the supervision of the United Nations’ UNAVEM IImission.

2005 – Vanity Fair revealed that Mark Felt was Deep Throat

2010 – In international waters, armed Shayetet 13 commandos, intending to force the flotilla to anchor at the Ashdod port, boarded ships trying to break the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, resulting in 9 civilian deaths.

2013 – The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon made their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries.

2013 – An EF5 tornado devastated El Reno, Oklahoma, killing nine people, becoming the widest tornado in recorded history, with an astounding diameter of 2.6 miles (4.2 km).

2013 – The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon made their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

May 30, 2016

Fashion favors men in many ways.

They don’t have to wear high heels nor  usually have to wear tights and worry about whether they’ve developed runs.

Unless they wear a kilt, they aren’t troubled by showing more leg than decorum dictates.

They can also get by with a smaller wardrobe to take them from casual through to formal.

But one item of apparel women aren’t expected to wear, unless it’s with a school uniform, is a tie and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

May 30, 2016

Prismatic – relating to, resembling, having the form of, or constituting a prism or prisms;  something which incorporates a prism or prisms; (of colours) formed, separated, or distributed by or as if by an optical prism.


Rural round-up

May 30, 2016

Dairy farmers not  looking for handouts – Jamie Gray:

Farmers want better infrastructure, roads and greater access to broadband, but are not looking for any handouts from the Government in Thursday’s Budget.

Dairy farmers across the Tasman are looking to politicians to support them through the current milk price slump but their New Zealand counterparts do not expect any such treatment from the Budget.

Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, after a three-day trip to Victoria, last week called for a bipartisan approach to develop a dairy industry support package to help dairy farmers struggling with milk price downgrades from the two biggest players in that market – Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.

But New Zealand dairy farmers, many with memories going back to the farm subsidy days of the 1970s and early 1980s, don’t expect any special treatment from the Budget. . . 

Guy looks to trim access to Fonterra’s raw milk for big processors in DIRA review – Paul McBeth

 (BusinessDesk)Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is seeking feedback on proposals to reduce the amount of raw milk Fonterra Cooperative Group has to sell to large independent processors in the latest step towards full deregulation of the dairy sector.

The minister’s discussion paper on proposed changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act was triggered last year when independent processors in the South Island passed the threshold needed to review the law. Guy’s preferred options would amend regulations for raw milk so Fonterra didn’t have to sell to large, export focused processors and reduce the volume of raw milk available to other processors by 60 percent over three years. Submissions close on June 29. . . 

New Zealand hoki fisheries meet international best practice standard for sustainability:

Following a report from the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has confirmed that the New Zealand hoki fisheries meet the high requirements of the MSC Fisheries Standard, widely recognised as the world’s most credible assessment of the sustainability of wild-caught seafood.

In 2001, New Zealand’s hoki fisheries became the first large-scale whitefish fisheries to achieve MSC certification, and have since been re-certified twice in 2007 and 2012. To achieve certification, fisheries must demonstrate to a third party certifier that they: ensure the long-term sustainability of fish stocks; minimise impacts on the marine environment; and are well managed, with effective governance and enforcement systems. Certification requires robust evidence to demonstrate that requirements are met. . . 

It  all started at school for beef ambassador – Kate Taylor:

A high school careers expo led Gisborne’s Emma Pollitt into an agricultural career and a love of working with cattle.

The 23-year-old was named the Allflex Senior Beef Ambassador at the Future Beef event held during the 2016 Beef Expo in Feilding. Wellsford 16-year-old Cara Doggett is the new Allflex Intermediate Beef Ambassador.

Pollitt grew up in Gisborne city and attended Gisborne Girls’ High School, where a careers expo opened her eyes to the possibility of farming.  Pollitt says she was into horses at high school, in terms of local shows and pony club, but hadn’t thought about any career options. She was accepted into Taratahi in Masterton and completed a Certificate of Agriculture (Levels 1-3) in the first year, staying an extra six months to complete Level 4. 

Her first job was on high country station Loch Linnhe at Kingston, near Queenstown, for a couple of months. . . 

NZ Yarn targets high fliers with the ‘Viagra’ of carpet – Amanda Cropp:

A high tech process to make the “Viagra” of carpet that doesn’t mat down is helping NZ Yarn carve out a niche market for custom-made floor coverings among the jet set. 

The Christchurch company recently sent samples to two American companies that carpeted the oval office and presidential plane, Airforce One, and executive chair Ross Callon said getting NZ Yarn product into the White House would be quite a coup.

The company, which exports its entire output, is also targeting the specialist carpet market for private jets, super yachts and high end apartments.  . . 

Manawatu stock buyer is about  to retire after 45 years on the job – Jill Galloway:

Kerry Lewis has been a prime stock buyer for 45 years. Jill Galloway talks to him about the changes he has seen from the 1970s to today.

In the 1970s there was only one phone in the Kerry Lewis’ household. These days there are two phones, a fax and Lewis always has a cellphone at his side.

Keeping pace with technology has been part of the job for Lewis who is retiring after 45 years in the business as a “fat” stock buyer in Manawatu.

The buying veteran has been through a few companies in his time. . .. 

Seeka’s avocado policy pays off for its growers with improved returns:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries’ commitment to its avocado growers has paid off with average export returns of $26.86 per export tray for the 2015-16 season, well up on last season’s $16.64 per export tray.

“Our growers have done a great job in producing really good quality fruit,” said Simon Wells, Seeka General Manager Grower Services.

“And because Seeka is fully integrated, we are able to control our supply chain and manage the quality of the fruit all the way through from orchard to market.” . . 

Sanford almost doubles first-half profit; shares rise to month high – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, the country’s largest listed fishing group, almost doubled its first-half profit as it focused on lifting values over volumes and benefited from lower fuel costs and a weaker New Zealand dollar.

Profit jumped to $18.8 million, or 20.1 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $9.6 million, or 10.2 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations edged up 1.3 percent to $215.6 million even as sales volumes sank abut 20 percent as the company extracted more value from its catch. . . 

Fonterra Co-operative wins major health and safety award:

Two innovative employee health and wellness initiatives from Fonterra Co-operative Limited brought the company the WorkSafe New Zealand and ACC sponsored Supreme Award at last night’s Safeguard Workplace Health and Safety Awards in Auckland.

The company won WorkSafe’s category award for the best initiative to address a workplace health risk with a programme addressing milk tanker driver fatigue. Fonterra also won another category award for its employee wellbeing initiative which created a village concept where facilities for all contractors and subcontractors on site were centralised in one spot. . . 


Feedback sought on DIRA changes

May 30, 2016

Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, is seeking feedback on options to amend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA) and its regulations.

The document is in response to the Commerce Commission’s report on the state of competition in the New Zealand dairy industry, which was released on 1 March 2016. By law the Minister is required to respond to this report within 90 days of receiving it. . . 

Among suggested changes are:

• Amending the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (Raw Milk) Regulations 2012 so that Fonterra no longer needs to sell milk at a regulated price to large, export-focused processors, and the volumes of regulated milk available to all other processors are gradually reduced.

At the moment, Fonterra is required to sell to competitors at a regulated price, even though they are big enough to stand on their own feet.

• Amending the open entry provisions so that Fonterra no longer has to collect milk from new dairy conversions. . . 

This requirement has forced Fonterra to direct investment to more processing when it’s not necessarily the best way to maximise returns for farmers.

It also led to dairy conversions in places where no-one would have contemplated dairying. It has imposed greater costs on Fonterra which has no choice but to collect the milk and some also argue it’s led to farms converted in areas where the environment isn’t suited to dairying.

If legislation is the answer to business success then it’s almost always because the wrong question has been asked.

We can’t turn back the clock. Fonterra was formed and the DIRA passed to ensure it didn’t have an unfair advantage.

However, the clause requiring Fonterra to sell milk at a regulated price to its competitors is no longer needed and requiring it to pick up all milk it’s offered has proven to be a mistake.

 

 


Theo Spierings to resign?

May 30, 2016

The Australian reports that Fonterra CEO  Theo Spierings is about to resign:

Speculation is mounting on both sides of the Tasman that the Dutch chief executive of Fonterra, Theo Spierings, is about to depart the dairy powerhouse, with Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon earmarked as his most likely replacement.

Mr Spierings has headed New Zealand’s largest company for about five years; and last year he faced criticism as Fonterra’s Australian arm fell into loss making territory, triggering a sale of its Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert business to Parmalat Australia in a quest to return it to profitability.

But the talk of his departure comes after Murray Goulburn chief executive Gary Helou recently left the Australian dairy co-op following a shock profit downgrade.

The dairy industries in both Australia and New Zealand are wresting with the challenges surrounding a lower milk price, and in New Zealand, the difficulties are compounded by the higher New Zealand dollar. Speculation has emerged in the past month on both
sides of the Tasman that Mr Luxon has been earmarked as the next Fonterra boss, with a departure by Mr Spierings, who has 30 years experience in the industry, said to be close.

Sources close to Fonterra have dismissed the suggestions. . . 

International commodity prices aren’t under the control of a CEO.

A company culture and its communications are and both need improvement at Fonterra.

UPDATE:

An email to shareholders from Fonterra chair John Wilson says:

  • I have received a number of emails from farmers this morning concerned at the media speculation that  Fonterra’s CEO Theo Spierings plans to resign.
  • This rumour is completely untrue.
  • Farmers and shareholders would be the first to know if the CEO of their Co-operative had resigned.

 

 


Quote of the day

May 30, 2016

Sometimes when you start losing detail, whether it’s in music or in life, something as small as failing to be polite, you start to lose substance.Benny Goodman who was born on this day in 1909.


May 30 in history

May 30, 2016

70 Siege of Jerusalem: Titus and his Roman legions breached the Second Wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish defenders retreated to the First Wall. The Romans built a circumvallation, all trees within fifteen kilometres were cut down.

1416 The Council of Constance, called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burned Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy.

1431  Hundred Years’ War: 19-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. Because of this the Catholic Church remember this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.

1434  Hussite Wars (Bohemian Wars): Battle of Lipany – effectively ending the war, Utraquist forces led by Diviš Bořek of Miletínek defeated and almost annihilated Taborite forces led by Prokop the Great.

1536  Henry VIII of England married Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.

1539 Hernando de Soto landed at Tampa Bay, Florida,  with 600 soldiers with the goal of finding gold.

1574  Henry III became King of France.

1588 The last ship of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel.

1635  Thirty Years’ War: the Peace of Prague (1635) was signed.

1642  From this date all honours granted by Charles I were retrospectively annulled by Parliament.

1757 Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1844).

1806 Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy.

1814 Napoleonic Wars: War of the Sixth Coalition – the Treaty of Paris (1814) was signed returning French borders to their 1792 extent.

1819 – William McMurdo, English general, was born (d. 1894).

1832  The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario opened.

1842  John Francis attempted to murder Queen Victoria as she drove down Constitution Hill with Prince Albert.

1845 – Amadeo I, King of Spain, was born (d. 1890).

1846 Peter Carl Fabergé, Russian goldsmith and jeweller, was born (d. 1920).

1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law establishing the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas.

1859 Westminster’s Big Ben rang for the first time in London.

1862 – Mirza Alakbar Sabir, Azerbaijani philosopher and poet, was born (d. 1911).

1868  Decoration Day (the predecessor of the modern “Memorial Day) was observed in the United States for the first time (By “Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic” John A. Logan‘s proclamation on May 5).

1871  The Paris Commune fell.

1876  Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed and succeeded by his nephew Murat V.

1879 New York City’s Gilmores Garden was renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.

1883  A rumour that the Brooklyn Bridge was going to collapse causes a stampede that crushes twelve people.

1901 – A 10-man Royal Commission reported unanimously that New Zealand should not become a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

1909 – Benny Goodman, American clarinet player, songwriter, and bandleader, was born (d. 1986).

1911  At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ended with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race.

1913  First Balkan War: the Treaty of London, 1913 is signed ending the war. Albania becomes an independent nation.

1914  The new and then largest Cunard ocean liner RMS Aquitania, 45,647 tons, set sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

1915  The East Indiaman ship Arniston was wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, the loss of 372 lives.

1917  Alexander I became king of Greece.

1919 – René Barrientos, Bolivian army officer and politician, 55th President of Bolivia, was born. (d. 1969).

1922  In Washington, D.C. the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated.

1941  World War II: Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climb on the Athenian Acropolis, tear down the Nazi swastika and replace it with the Greek flag.

1942  World War II: 1000 British bombers launched a 90-minute attack on Cologne, Germany.

1948  A dike along the flooding Columbia River broke, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.

1955 – Caroline Swift, English lawyer and judge, was born.

1955 Topper Headon, British musician (The Clash), was born.

1958  Memorial Day: the remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed in action during World War II and the Korean War respectively, were buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

1959  The Auckland Harbour Bridge, crossing the Waitemata Harbour was officially opened by Governor-General Lord Cobham.

Auckland harbour bridge opened

1961  Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

1961 – Harry Enfield, English actor, director, and screenwriter, was born

1962 Kevin Eastman, American comic book creator (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), was born.

1963  A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis was held outside South Vietnam’s National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.

1966 Former Congolese Prime Minister Evariste Kimba and several other politicians are publicly executed in Kinshasa on the orders of President Joseph Mobutu.

1967 Daredevil Evel Knievel jumped his motorcycle over 16 cars lined up in a row.

1967  The Nigerian Eastern Region declared independence as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a civil war.

1971 Mariner 9 was launched to map 70% of the surface, and to study temporal changes in the atmosphere and surface, of Mars.

1972 The Angry Brigade went on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout Britain.

1972  In Tel Aviv members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.

1989  Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: the 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue was unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1996 – A New Zealand Royal Honours System was established with the institution of the New Zealand Order of Merit, which replaced the various British State Orders of Chivalry.

1998  A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit northern Afghanistan, killing up to 5,000.2002– 272 days after the September 11 attacks, closing ceremonies were held for the clean up/recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City.2003 – Depayin massacre: at least 70 people associated with the National League for Democracy were killed by government-sponsored mob in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene, but was arrested soon afterwards.

2012 – Former Liberian president Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

2013  – Nigeria passed a law banning same-sex marriage.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

May 29, 2016

Yesterday’s cold wind and rain gave me the excuse I wanted to forgo my morning constitutional.

Today was overcast but more or less dry so I chose the 7km round trip which gives me a mix of flat and hills.

It was cool enough to encourage me to keep up a brisk pace and when I got home I knew I’d exerted myself.

It’s a good feeling. I’m grateful for it and the ability to do the exercise that brings it.


Word of the day

May 29, 2016

Lacustrine – living or growing in or along the edges of lakes; relating to a system of inland deep-water and wetland habitats associated with lakes and reservoirs and characterised by the absence of trees, shrubs, or emergent vegetation;  relating to, of, having to do, or associated with a lake or lakes; found or formed in lakes.


Wisdom

May 29, 2016

StoryPeople by Brian Andreas's photo.

Older doesn’t always mean wiser, my grandfather once said. Sometimes it just means older. –  ©2016 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can sign up for a daily email delivering a dose of whimsy like this at Story People.


Quote of the day

May 29, 2016

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless. Gilbert K. Chesterton who was born on this day in 1874.


Sunday soapbox

May 29, 2016

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.
The Moderation Movement's photo.

At the end of my time, the questions I”ll ask myself are: Did I love deeply? Did I laugh often? Did I treat people with compassion? Did I make a difference (however small)?Moderation Movement


May 29 in history

May 29, 2016

363 Roman Emperor Julian defeated the Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, under the walls of the Sassanid capital, but was unable to take the city.

1167 Battle of Monte Porzio – A Roman army supporting Pope Alexander III was defeated by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel.

1176 Battle of Legnano: The Lombard League defeated Emperor Frederick I.

1630 Charles II of England was born (d. 1685).

1414  Council of Constance.

1453 Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: Ottoman armies under Sultan Mehmed IIFatih sacked and captured Constantinople after a siege, ending the Byzantine Empire.

1660 English Restoration: Charles II (on his birthday) was restored to the throne of Great Britain.

1677  Treaty of Middle Plantation established peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Natives.

1727  Peter II became Tsar of Russia.

1733 The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves was upheld.

1780 American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Waxhaws Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton massacred Colonel Abraham Buford’s continentals.

1790  Rhode Island became the last of the original United States‘ colonies to ratify the Constitution and was admitted as the 13th U.S. state.

1848  Wisconsin was admitted as the 30th U.S. state.

1864  Emperor Maximilian of Mexico arrived in Mexico for the first time.

1867  The Austro-Hungarian agreement – Ausgleich (“the Compromise“) – was born through Act 12, which established the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1868  The assassination of Michael Obrenovich III, Prince of Serbia.

1874  G. K. Chesterton, English novelist, was born (d. 1936).

1886 Chemist John Pemberton placed his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, it appeared in the Atlanta Journal.

1900 – N’Djamena was founded as Fort-Lamy by French commanderÉmile Gentil.

1903 Bob Hope, British-born comedian and actor, was born (d. 2003).

1903  May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.

1906 T.H. White, British author, was born (d. 1964).

1913 Igor Stravinsky‘s ballet score The Rite of Spring received its premiere performance in Paris, provoking a riot.

1914 – Tenzing Norgay, Nepalese-Indian mountaineer, was born, (d. 1986).

1914  Ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives.

1917 – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born (d. 1963).

1919 – Einstein’s theory of general relativity was tested (later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington’s observation of a total solar eclipse in Principe and by Andrew Crommelin in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil.

1919 The Republic of Prekmurje founded.

1924  AEK Athens FC was established on the anniversary of the siege ofConstantinople by the Turks.

1935  The Hoover Dam was completed.

1939  Albanian fascist leader Tefik Mborja is appointed as member of the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.

1940  The first flight of the F4U Corsair.

1941 Doug Scott, British mountaineer, was born.

1942  Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”.

1945 Gary Brooker, musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945  First combat mission of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator heavy bomber.

1948  Creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation

1950  The St. Roch, the first ship to circumnavigate North America, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia .

1953 Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay’s (adopted) 39th birthday.

Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest

1954  First of the annual Bilderberg conferences.

1959 Rupert Everett, English actor, was born.

1961 Melissa Etheridge, American musician, was born.

1963 Tracey E. Bregman, American actress, was born.

1967 Noel Gallagher, English musician (former Oasis), was born.

1969  General strike in Córdoba, Argentina, leading to the Cordobazo civil unrest.

1973  Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1975 Melanie Brown, English musician and actress (Spice Girls), was born.

1978 Adam Rickitt, British actor, was born.

1982 – Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit Canterbury Cathedral.

1985 – Heysel Stadium disaster: At the European Cup final in Brussels 39 football fans died and hundreds are injured when a dilapidated retaining wall collapses after Liverpool F.C. fans breached a fence separating them from Juventus F.C. fans.

1985  Amputee Steve Fonyo completed cross-Canada marathon atVictoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.

1988  U.S. President Ronald Reagan began his first visit to the Soviet Union.

1990 The Russian parliament elected Boris Yeltsin president of the Russian SFSR.

1999  Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.

1999 Space Shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with theInternational Space Station.

1999 – Charlotte Perrelli won the Eurovision Song Contest 1999  for Sweden with the song Take Me to Your Heaven.

2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in at tournaments.

2004  The National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

2008 – A strong earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck Iceland near the town of Selfoss, injuring 30 people.

2012 – A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit northern Italy near Bologna, killing at least 24 people.

2014 – Ignatius Aphrem II is enthroned as the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


366 days of gratitude

May 28, 2016

My mother heard a recipe for a fail-proof souffle on the radio, tried it, liked it and passed the recipe on to me.

I had the idea that souffles were temperamental so it was with some trepidation that I tried it.

My fears were groundless – the souffle rose and stayed risen when taken from the oven.

Since then I’ve used the recipe hundreds of time and, touch wood, the recipe has lived up to its fail-proof reputation.

The one we had for tea tonight was particularly good.

Today I’m grateful for fail-proof souffles.


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