366 days of gratitude

May 12, 2016

In the age of electronic communication a hand written note is something of a rarity.

Any message from the heart is appreciated, whatever the medium, and today I’m grateful for them all.


Word of the day

May 12, 2016

Logophile – a lover of words; a connoisseur of words.


Rural round-up

May 12, 2016

Gentle giants deliver the meat – Kate Taylor:

A Pahiatua farmer is pleased his family dairy farm is still in the family because it allows him to enjoy his passion for south devon cattle. Kate Taylor paid him a visit.

Pahiatua south devon breeder Mark Eagle talks enthusiastically about the temperament of his “gentle giants”.

We pride ourselves on breeding cattle with quiet temperaments and a decent strong, meaty carcass,” he says.

Mark and Di Eagle and their Kaimoa South Devon Stud can be found on the 230-hectare Chessfield Farm in the Mangaone Valley about 11 kilometres south east of Pahiatua. Their annual bull sale is on May 23. . .

Farmers think about the future at Federated Farmers Southland meeting – Brittany Pickett:

Primary industries production remains crucial in Southland’s future.

That was the message given to farmers at the Federated Farmers annual meeting on Wednesday at Bill Richardson Transport World.

Speakers and leaders had farmers thinking about what farming in Southland would be like within the next 10 years.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said his desire for the future would be to have a healthy environment alongside a growth in production. . . 

Views on animal welfare heard across the country:

Close to 500 people attended six public meetings across the country, to express views on animal welfare.

MPI is currently seeking feedback on 85 proposed animal welfare regulations and took to the road as part of the five week consultation. The proposals set out tougher rules around animal management and would put new fines and infringements in place.

Director of Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Julie Collins has been pleased with the amount of feedback MPI had received to date. . . 

Solar powered pump sells to 20 countries:

A central Hawke’s Bay company has signed a deal to sell its solar powered water pump in 20 countries.

Isaacs Electrical launched its ePump last December, and strong demand nationally and internationally has led to it signing a major distribution partnership with Waikato Milking Systems.

The ePump can pump up to 20 litres of water per minute in daylight hours, and for a distance of up to 120 metres, making it ideal for use in remote locations. . . 

Waikato forum: what dairy can learn from kiwifruit crisis:

Dairy farmers facing the industry’s lowest milk price in years will this month hear lessons learnt by the kiwifruit industry when Psa struck in 2010.

“We are different industries, but we are still people. One looks after animals, one looks after plants – but we are people, we have passion, we have drive, we earn our income and live our lifestyles this way,” says Ian Greaves, kiwifruit industry representative.

The kiwifruit vine disease, Psa, devastated all Gold kiwifruit orchards across the Bay of Plenty but also affected Green, with many growers only now getting their first or second crop since it occurred. . . 

Battle for our birds 2016:

The largest pest control operation in New Zealand’s history will be launched this winter in response to a pest plague which threatens vulnerable native wildlife, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Battle for our Birds 2016 will receive $20.7 million in new operating funding for 2015/16 from this month’s Budget, helping to fight back against an expected pest population boom caused by a heavy forest seeding, or mast.

“DOC scientists have confirmed the seed fall predicted last year has eventuated,” Ms Barry says. “We must respond if we’re to protect our native birds and animals from the threat – and the funding will enable DOC to achieve this.”

This autumn around a million tonnes of beech seed will drop to the forest floor, providing a bonanza of food for rats and causing their population to boom.

“As rats increase due to the readily-available food source, so will the number of stoats which feed on rats,” Ms Barry says. “Once the seeds germinate and the food source disappears in early spring, the plague of millions of starving rats and tens of thousands of hungry stoats will turn on native wildlife, bringing disaster if we do nothing.” . . 

Welcome to New Trustee from Rural Women NZ:

This months meeting of NZ Landcare Trust’s Board of Trustees will see a new face at the table, as Fiona Gower takes over from Liz Evans as the representative for Rural Women New Zealand.

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar said, “On behalf of Trust staff I’d like to welcome Fiona to the Board of Trustees. Fiona’s extensive knowledge of rural issues and her understanding of community involvement will be a real asset.”

Fiona is looking forward to the new role. “With the growing importance, emphasis and pressure on freshwater in New Zealand, organisations such as NZ Landcare Trust will play an increasingly important role in achieving positive outcomes for our land and water resources, and I am looking forward to being a part of that journey,” Fiona added. . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

May 12, 2016

This is your opportunity to pose the questions without any need to follow the five-question formula I used.

Anyone who stumps us all will win a virtual jelly sponge.


Meanwhile in other news

May 12, 2016

While the Panama papers and examining the entrails of The Bachelor are getting headlines the government books are in a healthier state than forecast:

The $167 million operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) surplus for the nine months to 31 March was $334 million better than forecast, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Core Crown revenue was $206 million higher than forecast, largely due to core Crown tax revenue being $702 million higher than forecast by the Treasury in December.

These aren’t big numbers in relation to the government’s total finances. But given the global financial position and the impact of low dairy prices, this is an achievement.

This was partially offset by core Crown interest and dividend revenue being $456 million lower than forecast.

Mr English says because of sustained, moderate growth in the economy, the Crown accounts are in good order ahead of the delivery of Budget 2016 later this month.

“We’ve been successful in turning an $18.4 billion deficit in 2011 to a surplus last year. In Budget 2016 our focus is shifting more to repaying debt.

“Budget 2016 will reflect this Government’s continued commitment to responsible fiscal management. At the same time it will build on the good progress we’ve made over the previous seven Budgets, with further investment in a growing economy and public services.

“We measure success by results, rather than the level of spending.”

It’s not what they’re spending but the impact that spending that matters.

One area that always takes a lot of spending is welfare.

The government is taking the investment approach which means spending more in the short term for longer term social and financial gain.

A report from Deloitte and NZIER says that the investment approach needs to become a mainstream way of working across more of the social sector.

State of the State New Zealand 2016: Social investment for our future advocates broadening the use of the social investment approach to manage New Zealand’s future fiscal challenges and support better outcomes for Kiwis.

NZIER Deputy Chief Executive John Ballingall says the State of the State takes a close look at government finances and the burdens New Zealanders could face in the future.

“A combination of our ageing population, low productivity and revenue growth, and the need to reduce government debt will impose huge fiscal pressures in coming decades – particularly in social spending. More importantly, too many people in New Zealand are experiencing poor life outcomes and too many of their children are at risk of following them,” says Mr Ballingall.

Deloitte partner and public sector leader Dave Farrelly says it’s the sum of these factors which drove us to focus the report on social investment, an approach to funding social services focusing on root causes to prevent the need for these services in the future.

“For example, with social investment the task is not to deliver the next 100 prison beds for the same cost as the previous 50. It’s to remove the need for those new prison beds altogether,” says Mr Farrelly.

“Today social investment is like a start-up – a small number of people are working incredibly hard to bring a big bold vision to life. Tomorrow, social investment needs to become a mainstream way of working,” he says.

In the six months of research for the report, Deloitte and NZIER spoke to some of the most senior and influential leaders in the public, non-government and private sectors – all of whom provided a unique perspective on social investment.

State of the State proposes a package of bold reforms to realise the aspiration for social investment in New Zealand. The recommendations are:

1. Release, every four years, a government-wide statement to define the outcomes and targets for at-risk New Zealanders
2. Establish a new agency to commission specialist social services for people at risk of poor life outcomes
3. Embed the social investment approach to funding quality and sustainability in the new agency’s operating model
4. Enable better access to government-held data and detailed evaluation reports

“We suggest a structural reconfiguration that some will find challenging, while acknowledging we don’t yet have all the answers,” says Mr Farrelly.

“But we must be bold in tackling these challenges today to maintain our way of life in the future,” he concludes.

Social investment is working and the reforms Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is promoting will do more.

Trans Tasman notes:

. . . The reform being pushed through by Tolley is perhaps the most far-reaching undertaken by the Govt and could stand as its greatest legacy if it achieves its goals. Already it has made some headway in improving the lives of Maori children who are more than twice as likely as Pakeha children to grow up in households experiencing hardship, and fare worse in most indicators. A report by the University of Otago-based Child and Youth Epidemiology Service shows increasing numbers of Maori pre schoolers are getting early childhood education. There’s also been a halving of school suspensions for Maori students, an increase in immunisation rates, fewer young Maori smoking,and falling hospitalisation rates for Maori children for injuries from assault, neglect or maltreatment. Tolley is understood to have secured an additional funding, probably of the order of $500m in this year’s budget for the reform. . . 

Turning around benefit dependency and all the financial and social costs that go with it will not be neither easy nor cheap but the investment approach is working and it’s a much better story than many of the others which are getting attention at the moment.

 


Quote of the day

May 12, 2016

The world is put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.  – Florence Nightingale who was born on this day in 1820.


May 12 in history

May 12, 2016

1191  Richard I of England married Berengaria of Navarre who was crowned Queen consort of England the same day.

1264 The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, began.

1328 Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, was consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.

1364  Jagiellonian University, was founded in Kraków.

1551  National University of San Marcos, was founded in Lima.

1588 French Wars of Religion: Henry III fledParis after Henry of Guise enters the city.

1689  King William’s War: William III joined the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.

1743  Maria Theresa of Austria was crowned King of Bohemia after defeating her rival, Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

1797  First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquered Venice.

1812 Edward Lear, British author and poet was born (d. 1888).

1820 Florence Nightingale, British nurse was born (d. 1910).

1821  The first big battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks occured in Valtetsi.

1828  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, British painter,was born (d. 1882).

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson‘s XVII Corps (ACW) turned the left wing of Confederate GeneralJohn C. Pemberton‘s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.

1864 American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers died in “the Bloody Angle”.

1865  American Civil War: the Battle of Palmito Ranch: the first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.

1870 The Manitoba Act was given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.

1873  Oscar II was crowned King of Sweden.

1881  Tunisia became a French protectorate.

1885 North-West Rebellion: the four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, ended with a decisive rebel defeat.

1890  The first-ever official County Championship match begins. Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Bristol. George Ulyett scored the first century in the competition.

1907 Katharine Hepburn, American actress, was born (d. 2003).

1910 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, British biochemist, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1994).

1924 Tony Hancock, British comedian, was born  (d. 1968).

1926  UK General Strike 1926: In the United Kingdom, a nine-day general strike by ended.

1932  Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindberghwas found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

1937 Susan Hampshire, British actress, was born.

1937 – George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were crowned King and Queen.

1941 – Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

1942 – World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov – in the eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead.

1942 – The Holocaust: 1,500 Jews were sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.

1945 Ian McLagan, British keyboardist (Small Faces), was born.

1945  Argentinian labour leader José Peter declared the Federación Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved.

1949 – The Soviet Union lifted its blockade of Berlin.

1949 – The western occupying powers approved the Basic Law for the new German state – the Federal Republic of Germany.

1952 Gaj Singh was crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.

1958 Aformal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement was signed between the United States and Canada.

1962  Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.

1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

1967  Pink Floyd staged the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert.

1971 A civic reception for 161 Battery on its return from Vietnam was disrupted by protesters.

Anti-Vietnam War protests in Queen Street

1975 Jonah Lomu, New Zealand rugby union footballer, was born.

Jonah Lomu (cropped).jpg

1975  Mayagüez incident: the Cambodian navy seized the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.

1978  In Zaïre, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba.

1981  Francis Hughes starved to death in the Maze Prison in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.

1982 – During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower edJuan Fernandez Krohn before he  attacked Pope John Paul IIwith a bayonet.

1999 David Steel became the first Presiding Officer (speaker) of the modern Scottish Parliament.

2002  Former US President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

2003  The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.

2003 – Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressionalredistricting plan.

2006  Mass unrest by the Primeiro Comando da Capital began in São Paulo, leaving at least 150 dead.

2007  Karachi riots , which killed over 50 people in Karachi and above 100 injured, on the arrival of Chief Justice of Pakistan; Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in Karachi city.

2008 Wenchuan earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) in Sichuan, China, killed more than 69,000 people.

2008 – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the largest-ever raid of workplace and arrests nearly 400 immigrants for identity theft and document fraud.

2010 – An Afriqiyah Airways Flight crashed, killing all but one person on board.

2015 – A train derailment in Philadelphia killed 8 people and injured more than 200.

2015 – A 7.3-magnitude earthquake and six major aftershocks hit Nepal, killing over 200 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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