366 days of gratitude

July 12, 2016

My mother was a gentle woman who had some very firm ideas. Among those was her belief in the importance of good manners in general and the saying of please and thank you in particular.

It was something she passed on by deeds rather than words, preferring to practice rather than preach and it surprised no-one who knew her that when I asked her if she had any message for people at her funeral she asked me to just say thank you.

Today I’m grateful for her good example and the many other people I encounter who remember their manners.


Word of the day

July 12, 2016

Griffonage  – careless handwriting; a crude or illegible scrawl.


Rural round-up

July 12, 2016

Taking on the big issues in big country – Kate Taylor:

After driving into the Ormond Valley property of Charlie Reynolds, it’s not surprising that rural roads is an issue he’s hot under the collar about.

Tight gravel roads are everywhere in rural New Zealand and Ngakoroa Road near Gisborne is one of them. In the next few years, Reynolds is going to have to warn all visitors about the forestry harvesting happening at the end of his road.

“It is 300 hectares so we will see 3000 to 4000 logging trucks passing our farm gate before they’re finished… and that’s a small block in comparison to what’s around the rest of the region,” he says. . . 

Will losing guaranteed milk supply stir Goodman Fielder to action? – Keith Woodford:

Since the formation of Fonterra in 2001, Goodman Fielder has always had a guaranteed supply of 250 million litres of Fonterra milk.   MPI Minister Nathan Guy is now proposing that the time has come for Goodman Fielder to fend for itself.

For the last fifteen years, the major milk supply chain in New Zealand has comprised one supplier (Fonterra), two processors (Fonterra and Goodman Fielder) and two supermarket chains (Foodstuffs and Progressive).  It has indeed been a cosy arrangement.

It is this cosy arrangement, combined with a goods and services tax on food of 15% which is either absent or imposed at a lower rate in most countries, that has led to milk in New Zealand supermarkets being more expensive than elsewhere.  The processing and marketing margins are not disclosed, so the relative returns to the processors and supermarkets can only be estimated. But it is a fair bet that both processors and supermarkets do rather nicely. . . 

Tim Mackle is 2016 Landcorp Communicator of the Year:

The chief executive of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle, is the winner of the 2016 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. 

The judges noted that in his time as DairyNZ CEO, Tim’s excellence as a communicator has enabled him to provide an extraordinary level of leadership for the dairy sector.  This has been particularly evident over the last 12 months when the industry has faced a difficult period in the media with low milk prices, issues with animal welfare and environmental standards.

“He has spoken out, challenged opinions and most importantly, used his position to educate and change views of the sector. His has been a prevailing voice for his industry and he has regularly featured on television news and in daily regional and national publications.” . . .

Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries open for 2016:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their success.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

NZ Fur Council Backs Environment Commission recommendation to do more to control possums:

In the state of New Zealand’s environment report released today, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found that pests are among the high priorities for action.

The report highlights concern that the control of possums and other pests is only happening in one–eighth of the Conservation estate, signifying that our native plants and animals are losing the war against pests.

Neil Mackie, Chair of the New Zealand Fur Council (NZFC) applauds the Commisisoner’s report and says fur recovery is a sustainable approach to winning the war against possums. . . 

Feds honour those who excel in primary sector:

Federated Farmers has unveiled six winners in its inaugural National Conference Awards.

The awards celebrate excellence in agriculture and the contributions made by Federated Farmers’ members to further enhance the primary industry.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said those nominated had gone above the call of duty, putting in significant time and energy to serve and advance the entire primary industry.

Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group Chairperson John Hartnell MNZM from Canterbury was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers for his unrivalled commitment to the Federation and the bee industry. . . 

Expert tips help calves get the best start:

Calving season just got a little bit easier thanks to a new series of online videos from SealesWinslow.

The 2 minute clips provide quick and relevant advice from SealesWinslow nutritionist and quality manager, Wendy Morgan, allowing calf rearers to refresh their knowledge and access useful information while on the go.

Wendy says that giving calves the best possible start is vital to setting up dairy cows for a long and productive life.

“It starts with having a good calving plan; ensuring calves get the right nutrition at the right time and making best use of farm facilities to provide the best calf housing. . . 


Managing those who can’t manage selves

July 12, 2016

Act MP David Seymour has a suggestion to help people who have children while on a benefit:

. . . You might think that if you’re on a benefit it’s a bad time to bring a child into the world.  You’re probably like the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders who think it proper to wait, save and sacrifice before having children, in a comfortable environment, then stop when you feel your family is at a size you can support.

Chances are you don’t begrudge taxpayer support for people who fall on hard times, need to escape an abusive partner, or have any of a dozen other circumstances.  But here is the interesting thing: being on a benefit seems to make you more likely to have children.

Only 10 per cent of working-age people are on a benefit, yet 20 per cent of children are born into families receiving benefits.  In the six months to March 2015, 6000 babies were added to existing benefits.  That’s enough to raise the hackles of those paying tax while preparing to have their own family, but worse is the outcomes for the kids involved.

Benefits seem to make people have kids early, a key risk factor for maltreatment.  As of 2015, in the general population 22 per cent of births were to mothers 24 or younger, but 44 per cent of beneficiary caregivers (mostly mothers but sometimes fathers) with a child born that year were 24 or younger.

The ultimate result has been calamity for New Zealand kids.  University of Auckland researchers have found that, of under-fives who faced maltreatment, 83 per cent were on benefits before age two. . . 

That doesn’t mean being on a benefit causes people to abuse children but it does show those on benefits are more likely to be abusers.

Out of fairness to the taxpayer and the children, we need a new deal.  It’s simply not good enough that the Government taxes some people, who are often waiting, saving, and sacrificing for parenthood, so that it can pay others to have kids earlier.  It’s absolutely unacceptable when we know this policy is enlarging child poverty and abuse.  We need to put children first.

If you’re 18 or younger, you can’t get an all-cash benefit from the Government.  Instead it pays rent, power, and basic necessities before giving the remaining entitlement in cash.  A compassionate government should attack child poverty by extending Income management to any parent who has additional children while on a benefit.

The message would be simple.  If you want to have children while receiving a benefit that’s fine, but the Government will give entitlements in a form that puts the needs of the children first.

Beneficiaries get more money when they have more children.

Providing income management for those who have additional children while on a benefit will help them budget and provide for their families.

This isn’t beneficiary bashing.

No-one can blame children for their parents being benefit-dependent. If people can’t manage themselves and the state is paying them to look after their children it also has a responsibility to ensure that they do.


RNZ turning off comments

July 12, 2016

RadioNZ is turning off comments on its website RNZ.co.nz:

Comments on news websites are a fraught topic. For a long time they seemed like the way forward, a way to bring the audience into the stories, and let’s face it, comments are still what media analysts like to call “content”. In the social media, mobile-driven world comments are the ultimate in “engagement”.

But for as long as there has been comments, “don’t read the comments” has been a common refrain. If you’ve spent any time in discussion forums, you’ll be familiar with the pedantry and bad behaviour often found there.

As far back as 2012, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton said the promise of thoughtful discussion hadn’t been fulfilled.

“I don’t like going into the comments … For every two comments that are interesting – even if they’re critical, you want to engage with them – there will be eight that are off-topic or just toxic.” . . 

Sad but true.

Even on a blog like this with a handful of commenters, a contribution occasionally crosses the line of acceptability and it takes me a while to catch up with it.

News websites with many thousands more readers  and hundreds of comments require full-time monitoring, the cost of which must far outweigh the value of providing the forum.

 


Quote of the day

July 12, 2016

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. – Buckminster Fuller who was born on this day in 1895.


July 12 in history

July 12, 2016

1191  Saladin’s garrison surrendered to Conrad of Montferrat, ending the two-year siege of Acre.

1543 King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace.

1562 Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatan, burned the sacred books of the Maya.

1580 Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, was published.

1690  Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar) – The armies of William III defeated those of the former James II.

1691  Battle of Aughrim (Julian calendar) – The decisive victory of William’s forces in Ireland.

1730 Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, was born  (d. 1795).

1790  The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed in France by the National Constituent Assembly.

1804  Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamiltondied after being shot in a duel.

1806  Sixteen German imperial states left the Holy Roman Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine.

1812  War of 1812: The United States invaded Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1817 Henry David Thoreau, American writer and philosopher, was bron (d. 1862).

1854 George Eastman, American inventor, was born  (d. 1932).

1862 The Medal of Honor iwa authorised by the United States Congress.

1863 – Lieutenant-General Cameron’s force crossed the Mangatawhiri stream in the first act of war in the Waikato campaign,

1895 Buckminster Fuller, American architect, was born  (d. 1983).

1895 Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist, was born (d. 1960).

1917 Andrew Wyeth, American artist, was born (d. 2009).

1917  The Bisbee Deportation –  vigilantes kidnapped and deported nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona.

1918  The Japanese Imperial Navy battle ship Kawachi blew up at Shunan, killing at least 621.

1920   The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed. Soviet Russia recognized independent Lithuania.

1932  Hedley Verity established a first-class record by taking all ten wickets for only ten runs against Nottinghamshire on a pitch affected by a storm.

1933 Donald E. Westlake, American author, was born (d. 2008).

1943   World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka – German and Soviet  forces engaged in largest tank engagement of all time.

1937 Bill Cosby, American comedian and actor, was born.

1943 Christine McVie, British singer, musician, and songwriter (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1947 Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby union footballer, was born.

1950 Eric Carr, American drummer (Kiss), was born  (d. 1991).

1951 Cheryl Ladd, American actress, was born.

1960  Orlyonok, the main Young Pioneer camp of the Russian SFSR, was founded.

1961 Pune flooded due to failure of Khadakvasala and Panshet dams. Half of Pune was submerged. More than 100,000 families dislocated and death tally exceeded 2000.

1962  The Rolling Stones performed their first ever concert, at the Marquee Club in London.

1967 The Newark riots began in Newark, New Jersey.

1975 São Tomé and Príncipe declared independence from Portugal.

1978 – Claire Chitham, New Zealand actress,

1979  The island nation of Kiribati became independent from Great Britain.

1979  Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park Chicago.

1997  – Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist, Nobel Prize laureate

2006  Hezbollah initiated Operation True Promise.

2007 – U.S. Army Apache helicopters performed airstrikes in Baghdad, Iraq; footage from the cockpit was later leaked to the Internet.

2012 – A tank truck explosion kills more than 100 people in Okobie, Nigeria.

2012 – The Turaymisah massacre – 250 people were killed during a Syrian military operation in a village within the Hama Governorate.

2013  – Six people were killed and 200 injured in a passenger train derailment in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online


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