366 days of gratitude

June 27, 2016

What’s the time?

This is a question that some can answer by noting where the sun is.

Most of us need more help than that and these days we’ve got plenty of time pieces to choose from – most ovens have a clock, as do computers and mobile phones.

Younger people might rely on their phones but older one probably wear a watch.

Digital clocks have their place but I still like being able to glance from a distance and see where the hands of an analogue clock are.

Either and both help me keep track of my day, albeit than sometimes my time is more of the ish variety than on the dot, and many times a day I’m grateful for a clock.


Word of the day

June 27, 2016

Ossify  – to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions or views; cease developing; stagnate; become or to cause something to become unable to change; convert into or cause to harden like bone.


Rural round-up

June 27, 2016

Brexit has major implications for the New Zealand sheep and beef industry:

“We are concerned about the future of New Zealand’s sheep and beef exports to the UK and the EU following the UK’s vote to leave the EU,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand.

“Our sheep and beef trade to both the UK and EU are inextricably linked through quota access and both are likely to be affected,” said Sam McIvor, CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The EU is New Zealand’s most valuable market for red meat and associated co-products, accounting for over NZ$2 billion in trade last year. . . 

Banks put heat on meat co-ops – Neal Wallace:

Banks appear to be running out of patience with meat company debt, asking both co-operatives to reduce their level of borrowing.

Both Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group have confirmed they have been told by their banks to reduce seasonal and core debt, but Alliance chairman Murray Taggart said his board had decided to do that anyway.  

Late last month Alliance chief executive David Surveyor told shareholders at the Alliance Pure South Conference banks had sent a strong message to the co-operative to reduce debt. . . 

Changing world will suit our red meat sector – Allan Barber:

When sheep and beef farmers are questioning whether they will ever receive the returns they need, there is potentially considerable hope for the future. The changing demographics and spheres of global influence indicate a substantial change in the relative economic power of the markets with which we trade.

The ANZ Bank’s June report focuses on new horizons in Asia, highlighting the top six countries we already trade with, representing 80% of New Zealand’s bilateral trade with Asia, and a second division of up and coming prospects. The report’s focus on Asia means our trade with the rest of the world is excluded from the analysis, but it provides a timely reminder of the opportunities available in markets not previously seen as easy or possible to develop.

These opportunities are further underlined by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations held recently in Auckland involving 16 Asian countries which importantly include India. . . 

Dairy cow cull eases – Alan Williams:

Dairy cow cull numbers are finally reducing after spending most of the processing season in line with the high tallies of last year.  

Most people expected the cull to end early in the season but the numbers have only been falling since the end of May, week 33 of the killing season.

Going in to that week the tallies were down only 0.3% on the same time last year, at about 800,000; then the week itself was down 7% on last year and the companies have indicated the trend has continued. . . 

Silver Fern Farms seeks extension on Chinese deal :

Meat processing company Silver Fern Farms is seeking a time extension for official approval of its controversial deal with a Chinese company.

It also wants to defer a special meeting called by unhappy shareholders.

The joint venture with China’s biggest meat processor, Shanghai Maling, was approved by a majority of shareholders last October but still needs government and Overseas Investment Office approval. . .

Vineyards in growth mode – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s vineyard area could expand by as much as 7000ha during the next five years, an almost 20% boost to the present producing area.

The expansion was under way, with an estimated 1800ha of grapes in the ground coming into production by the 2018 vintage, ANZ’s latest Agri Focus report said.

Marlborough would remain the epicentre of the sector at 65%-70% of the growing area, with the next largest areas being Hawke’s Bay, Otago and Gisborne. . .


More feathers more hissing

June 27, 2016

One fact which is rarely mentioned in discussions on inequality: around 40% of people pay no net tax:

. . . A table from Finance Minister Bill English’s office shows 663,000 households – or 40 per cent – receive more in tax credits and other benefits than they pay in tax. Thousands more are neutral contributors, or are close to it. . . 

Households earning less than $50,000 receive more in credits than they pay in direct income tax by about a third.

By comparison, the top 3 per cent of individual income earners, earning more than $150,000 a year, pay 24 per cent of all tax received.

Mark Keating, a senior lecturer in tax at the University of Auckland Business School, said the idea of “net tax” – the amount paid after credits and benefits were deducted – was hard for some people to get their heads around.

But he said people who received any benefit, or superannuation, as well as people who worked and met the criteria for Working for Families tax credits could end up with a net result that was negative or neutral.

“If you are working and earn $1000 a week but have four children, you might pay $200 a week in tax but get back $300.

“They are net receiving. It’s quite a strange system. It’s not common overseas because it’s quite bureaucratic.”

This is income tax. Everyone pays GST too and while poorer people are more likely to spend a greater proportion of their income, wealthier people generally spend more in total and therefore also pay more GST.

Peter Vial, New Zealand tax leader at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, said some people would be surprised to find they were not paying more than they received.

“It’s not a calculation they would do automatically. In an ideal world it would be good if there was more knowledge about the interaction between the tax and benefit systems.”

Many were unaware how dependent New Zealand was on a small group of high-earning, salaried individuals to pay a large chunk of the tax, he said.

“We never talk about that. It’s always a risk to our tax base because people are mobile and can move. But New Zealanders want a progressive tax system, the more you earn the more you pay.”

This is something those called for higher taxes on higher incomes overlook.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert said, the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing. 

Tax is necessary to fund essential services and infrastructure but there comes a point when people believe enough is enough and the extraction of more feathers will result in more than just more hissing.

If taxes on higher incomes become too high, at least some of the geese laying the golden tax eggs will start looking at ways to minimise their liability which will hit productivity and discourage investment.

It could also encourage flight to countries with less punitive taxes leaving fewer geese to provide more feathers.

 


Quote of the day

June 27, 2016

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. –  Helen Keller who was born on this day in 1880.


June 27 in history

June 27, 2016

1358  Republic of Dubrovnik was founded.

1709  Peter the Great defeated Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava.

1743  War of the Austrian Succession: Battle of Dettingen: On the battlefield in Bavaria, George II personally led troops into battle. The last time that a British monarch would command troops in the field.

1759  General James Wolfe began the siege of Quebec.

1838 Paul von Mauser, German weapon designer, was born (d. 1914)

1844  Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his brother Hyrum Smith, were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.

1846 Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish independence fighter, was born (d. 1891).

1850 Jørgen Pedersen Gram, Danish mathematician, was born (d. 1919).

1865 Sir John Monash, Australian military commander, was born (d. 1931).

1869 Emma Goldman, Lithuanian/American anarchist and feminist, was born (d. 1940).

1880 Helen Keller, American deaf and blind activist, was born (d. 1968).

1895  The inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Bluefrom Washington, D.C., to New York City, the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.

1898  The first solo circumnavigation of the globe was completed byJoshua Slocum.

1905  (June 14 according to the Julian calendar): Battleship Potemkin uprising: sailors started a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.

1923  Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane.

1941  Romanian governmental forces, allies of Nazi Germany, launched one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history in the city of Iaşi, resulting in the murder of at least 13,266 Jews.

1941  German troops captured the city of Białystok during Operation Barbarossa.

1942 Bruce Johnston, American musician (The Beach Boys) was born.

1950  The United States decided to send troops to fight in the Korean War.

1951 Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, was born.

1954  The world’s first nuclear power station opened in Obninsk, near Moscow.

1967 The world’s first ATM was installed in Enfield, London.

1970 John Eales, Australian Rugby Player, was born.

1973  The President of Uruguay, Juan María Bordaberry,  dissolved Parliament and headed a coup d’état.

1974  U.S president Richard Nixon visited the U.S.S.R..

1975 Mark Williams reached No 1 with Yesterday Was Just The Beginning of  My Life.

Mark Williams hits No. 1

1976 Air France Flight 139  was hijacked en route to Paris by the PLO and redirected to Entebbe, Uganda.

1977  France granted independence to Djibouti.

1982  Space Shuttle Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on the final research and development flight mission, STS-4.

1989 The current international treaty defending indigenous peoples, ILO 169 convention, was adopted.

1991  Slovenia  was invaded by Yugoslav troops, tanks, and aircraft, starting the Ten-Day War.

2007 The Brazilian Military Police invaded the favelas (slums)of Complexo do Alemão in an episode which is remembered as the Complexo do Alemão massacre.

2008 – In a highly-scrutinised election President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is re-elected in a landslide after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn a week earlier, citing violence against his party’s supporters.

2013 – NASA launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a space probe to observe the Sun.

2014 – At least fourteen people were killed when a Gas Authority of India Limited pipeline exploded in the East Godavari district ofAndhra Pradesh, India.

2015 – A midair explosion from flammable powder at a recreational water park in Taiwan injured at least 510 people with about 183 in serious condition in intensive care.

Sourced from NZ HIstory Online & Wikipedia


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