366 days of gratitude

June 30, 2016

Not too long ago toll calls were so expensive they were rarely made and reserved for matters of great moment.

Calling between countries was even more costly – unless as friends and I once did, you could find a phone box in London which enabled you to call New Zealand for a very few pennies.

Technological developments have brought great leaps in telecommunications, increasing the ease of calling and decreasing the cost.

A niece phoned me from France recently for no cost at all.

I haven’t found a company offering free overseas calls in New Zealand but Internet options like Skype and Facetime do the same thing at no extra cost, and enable you to not only hear but also see the person with whom you’re conversing.

I’m now in the happy position of being able to talk to family and friends anywhere in the world without counting the cost and I’m grateful for that.

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Word of the day

June 30, 2016

Quercine – having the characteristics of, or resembling an oak.


Rural round-up

June 30, 2016

Farmers on the cusp of unprecedented change:

KPMG’s Ian Proudfoot says significant change is coming to New Zealand’s primary sector and “farmers that ignore it do it at their peril”.

Mr Proudfoot was speaking this morning at Federated Farmers’ National Conference Meat and Fibre AGM.

The world was on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution and this would mean thinking more globally.

Kiwi farmers who could tell their unique story would prevail as the global consumer became more discerning about what they eat and where it came from.

“There is a fusion happening where digital, physical and biotechnological products will redefine how we live and farm,” he said. . . 

Abandoning challenge, not my way – Rick Powdrell:

There is one thing in life that never changes. The moment you overcome one challenge, there is sure to be another. Once in a while a challenge crops up that might be easier to abandon, but that’s not my way.

You guessed it, that last reference is to the New Zealand red meat industry.

At our February meeting we discussed our role going forward. The emphasis was on continued dialogue with key players, notably Beef + Lamb, the Meat Industry Association, Meat Industry Excellence Group and other parties keen to engage.

There have been plenty of people willing to engage, some notable for their commercial self-interest, and others to talk about specific elements within the industry. All have relevant ideas and the passion and desire to see the industry move forward. But until key players come together with a common goal, the quantum shift required will not occur. . . 

Address to Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group –  Andrew Hoggard:

Good morning colleagues, observers, media, and of course all the keyboard warriors and trolls waiting in anticipation.

Another season has gone by and whilst there are some positive noises out there around potential market improvements, the prices we all face are still below the break even point for many of us. The expectation is that the financial implications of this downturn will see us in pain for a few years to come.

Much of the commentary over the past few days has been around the Brexit, and the fallout from it. One might ask, what this means for New Zealand Dairy? It really is all up in the air at the moment, our exports presently to the UK are pretty minimal. . .

Recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy:

Richard and Dianne clearly share a deep passion for their family’s show piece farm on the edge of Auckland city. Their beef breeding and sheep breeding and finishing operation runs 4820 stock units on 331ha (effective) with a pine woodlot established on 18.5ha and 15.3ha of regenerating native bush.

Richard and Dianne, who have three adult sons, have farmed the flat to easy-rolling property since the late 1970s.

They are pragmatic about protecting the environment for future generations. All waterways have been fenced, and large areas of raupo act as sediment traps to capture nutrients. Biodiversity corridors link the upper catchment areas to the bush, and bush remnants have been planted with native species such as kauri, rimu and pohutukawa.

Whenuanui runs 300 Angus breeding cows and a Coopworth ewe flock. Mixed-age ewes lambed at 162 percent last year, with hoggets achieving an impressive 129 percent. All lambs are sold prime under the “Kaipara Lamb” brand. . . 

Call out to Young New Zealanders to share in success of the booming apple industry:

New Zealand’s world leading apple industry is putting a call out to school leavers and graduates across the country to come share in its success.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s new capability development manager Erin Simpson has been charged with growing and retaining young people into Zealand’s apple and pear industry.

“New Zealand apples are leading the world, the industry is dynamic, innovative, and going places and so can young New Zealanders,” said Mr Simpson . . 

Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced:

Congratulations to Brenton O’Riley who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Friday 24 June.

O’Riley has worked at Giesen Wines for the last few years as Viticultural Technician and credits his time and experience there as helping him gain some of the high level knowledge and skills required to win the competition. He is due to start a new job at Pernod Ricard in a grower liaison role at the beginning of next month.

This is the second time O’Riley has won the Marlborough competition, previously in 2014, so he will be even more determined this year to win the National Final taking place locally at Villa Maria in August. . . 

Irish approach may be better than New Zealand’s–  Allan Barber:

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) 10 year strategy report named Foodwise 2025 contains a lot of the same features as MPI’s ambition to double agricultural exports over a similar timeframe.

As an agricultural producer Ireland also has many of the same characteristics as New Zealand: a rural economy based heavily on grass-fed production and produce from the sea, a small domestic market and heavy reliance on exports, an expanding dairy herd and an ageing farmer profile. The agri-food industry contributes a greater proportion of export revenue than non agri-food production which is equally true of New Zealand.

Obviously there are differences, notably the impact of the EU common agricultural policy on Irish farm incomes, the destination of exports, the lower efficiency and smaller scale of farms, and the variation of production volumes. . . 

NZ sheepmeat, tourism may be hardest hit by Brexit as pound weakens, market volatility jumps –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports and tourists from the UK may be the hardest hit from the Brexit with the most immediate impact likely to be on British tourists suddenly finding the spending power of the pound against the kiwi is the weakest in almost three years.

The European Union is the biggest market for New Zealand sheepmeat, taking $1.4 billion of product last year and almost half of that 228,000 tonnes of quota is taken by the UK. Total red meat exports to the EU amount to $2 billion, making it the single most valuable market. However, the biggest impact for New Zealand would be the UK’s loss of zero-tariff access for its own sheepmeat into Europe, where it currently sends 90 percent of production, leaving more in its domestic market. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

June 30, 2016

You are welcome to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual jelly sponge.


Shouldn’t wait to be asked to apologise

June 30, 2016

Andrew Little maligned tax expert John Shewan when he was first appointed to examine New Zealand’s trust rules more than two months ago.

Last week Little retracted his statement. He didn’t say he  was sorry and did say he hadn’t been asked to apologise.

Shewan said that was misleading and he had asked Little for an apology because Little had dilly-dallied so long in setting the record straight.

Little shouldn’t have to have been asked to apologise for what he said.

He was wrong to make the unfounded accusation in the first place. He compounded that by waiting so long to admit he was wrong and compounded his error again by not apologising when he made the admission, regardless of whether or not an apology was requested.

His original attack was an attempt to discredit the government, just as his misguided and misinformed attack on Earl and Lani Hagaman who have now launched defamation proceedings against Little.

They too were caught in the political crossfire.

Personal attacks on politicians aren’t edifying but they are unfortunately accepted as a normal part of parliamentary discourse.

Politicians casting aspersions on people outside parliament is fortunately more unusual and even more unacceptable.

An MP who does that and is subsequently proven wrong should not only admit the mistake s/he should  apologise, and do so at the earliest opportunity.

Little’s refusal to apologise shows he isn’t sorry and therefore probably hasn’t learned from his mistake.


Quote of the day

June 30, 2016

When you bring an idealised relationship down to the level of an ordinary one it isn’t necessarily the ordinary one that suffers. ― Winston Graham who was born on this day in 1908.


June 30 in history

June 30, 2016

350 Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, was defeated and killed by troops of the usurper Magnentius.

1422  Battle of Arbedo between the duke of Milan and the Swiss cantons.

1520  The Spaniards were expelled from Tenochtitlan.

1559  King Henry II of France was seriously injured in a jousting match against Gabriel de Montgomery.

1651 The Deluge: Khmelnytsky Uprising – the Battle of Beresteczko ended with a Polish victory.

1688  The Immortal Seven issued the Invitation to William, continuing the struggle for English independence from Rome.

1758  Seven Years’ War: The Battle of Domstadtl.

1794 Native American forces under Blue Jacket attacked Fort Recovery.

1859  French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

1860  The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

1864 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln granted Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation”.

1882  Charles J. Guiteau was hanged for the assassination of President James Garfield.

1886 The first transcontinental train trip across Canada departs from Montreal.

1905 Albert Einstein published the article “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, in which he introduced special relativity.

1906  The United States Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act

1908 – Winston Graham, British writer, was born (d. 2003).

1908  The Tunguska explosion in SIberia – commonly believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3.1–6.2 mi) above the Earth’s surface.

1912  The Regina Cyclone hit Regina, Saskatchewan, killing 28.

1917 –  Susan Hayward, American actress, was born (d. 1975).

1917 – Lena Horne, American singer and actress (d. 2010)

1934  The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals took place.

1935  The Senegalese Socialist Party held its first congress.

1936  Emperor Haile Selassie of Abbysinia appealled for aid to the League of Nations against Mussolini’s invasion of his country.

1939 The first edition of the New Zealand Listener was published.

First issue of NZ Listener published

1941  World War II: Operation Barbarossa – Germany captured Lviv, Ukraine.

1943  Florence Ballard, American singer (The Supremes). was born (d. 1976).

1944 Glenn Shorrock, Australian singer-songwriter (Little River Band) was born.

1944  World War II: The Battle of Cherbourg ended with the fall of the strategically valuable port to American forces.

1950 Leonard Whiting, British actor, was born.

1953 Hal Lindes, British-American musician (Dire Straits) was born.

1953  The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.

1956 – A TWA Super Constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 (Flight 718)collided above the Grand Canyon killing all 128 on board the two planes.

1959  A United States Air Force F-100 Super Sabre from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, crashed into a nearby elementary school, killing 11 students plus six residents from the local neighborhood.

1960 Murray Cook, Australian singer (The Wiggles) was born.

1960  Congo gained independence from Belgium.

1962 Julianne Regan, British singer and musician (All About Eve), was born.

1963  Ciaculli massacre: A car bomb, intended for Mafia boss Salvatore Greco “Ciaschiteddu”, killed seven police and military officers near Palermo.

1966  Mike Tyson, American boxer, was born.

1966  Marton Csokas, New Zealand actor, was born.

1968  Credo of the People of God by Pope Paul VI.

1969  Nigeria banned Red Cross aid to Biafra.

1971  The crew of the Soviet Soyuz 11 spacecraft were killed when their air supply escaped through a faulty valve.

1971 – Ohio ratified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18, thereby putting the amendment into effect.

1972  The first leap second was added to the UTC time system.

1985 Thirty-nine American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held for 17 days.

1986  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1987 The Royal Canadian Mint introduced the $1 coin, known as theLoonie.

1990 East and West Germany merged their economies.

1991 32 miners were killed when a coal mine fire in the Donbass region of the Ukraine released toxic gas.

1992 Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher.

1997  The United Kingdom transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.

2007 A car crashed into Glasgow International Airport in an attempted terrorist attack.

2009 Yemenia Flight 626 crashed off the coast of Moroni, Comoros killing 152 people and leaving 1 survivor.

2013 – – 19 firefighters died controlling a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona.

2015 – A Hercules C-130 military aircraft with 113 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Indonesian city of Medan, resulting in at least 116 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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