366 days of gratitude

October 7, 2016

Several years ago the then-mayor told me he was not seeking re-election and asked if I’d consider standing for the position.

I replied that on a scale of one to ten where one was never and ten was I’d kill for the job I was at about minus a hundred.

Local body politicians and the decisions they make have much more day-to-day impact on us than those who serve in central government. I got an insight into their deliberations when I was a reporter but it’s not something I’ve ever contemplated doing.

Plenty of others seek positions on councils and tomorrow we’ll find out which of those who’ve been nominated have been successful in the elections. It will take much longer to determine who is successful in serving.

Theirs isn’t an easy job and in smaller districts it’s not a well-paid one either. But it is a necessary one and I’m grateful to the people who, subject to the voters’ support, are willing and able to do it.


Word of the day

October 7, 2016

Spindrift – spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind; driving snow or sand.


More money where it matters

October 7, 2016

Good news from Statistics NZ:

Median weekly earnings from paid employment rose $44, to reach $924, between the June 2015 and June 2016 quarters, Statistics New Zealand said today. This increase of 5.0 percent was the largest annual increase since the June 2007 quarter. Paid employment includes both wage and salary earners and self-employed people.

“A rise in the proportion of full-time wage and salary earners, and the number of hours being worked, together pushed up median earnings for workers,” labour and income statistics manager Mark Gordon said. Full-time workers (working 30 or more hours) typically have higher weekly and hourly earnings than people in part-time employment.

Workers living in Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, and Canterbury received significantly higher median weekly earnings from paid employment than a year ago. In the North Island as a whole, earnings increased 7.0 percent (up to $944 a week), compared with 2.0 percent (to $880 a week) in the South Island.

“While the increase in weekly earnings is similar to that before the 2008 economic downturn, increases in hourly wages were more modest,” Mr Gordon said. “Median hourly earnings from wages and salaries increased 2.9 percent, similar to increases in the past seven years, but well below the 6.1 percent increase 10 years ago.” 

A 2.9% increase when the CPI has increased only .4% still puts a lot more money where it matters – in workers’ pockets.

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Rural round-up

October 7, 2016

NZ meat industry pioneer honoured:

New Zealand meat industry pioneer Sir Graeme Harrison has won this year’s Rabobank Leadership Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

Harrison, the founder and chairman of one of NZ’s largest exporters, Anzco Foods, was presented with the trans-Tasman award at the annual Rabobank Leadership Dinner in Sydney, Australia, last night.

It is the second year in a row a New Zealander has taken the honour with former Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden the recipient of the award last year.

Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Peter Knoblanche said Sir Graeme was a “true champion of agribusiness” who had made an enormous contribution not only as a NZ business leader, but also in the international meat industry trade”. . .

Farmers say river plan will kill businesses – Glenys Christian:

Many of the more than 150 farmers who gathered in Pukekohe last Monday believe the Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan will drive them out of business or severely limit what they can do on their properties.  

And Waikato University Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth told them if the plan came into force there would be a dearth of young people returning to the land.  

New Zealand enjoyed some of the best quality wild water in the world, backed up by a huge amount of environmental protection.  

She questioned comparisons made and said a lot of the research work used by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora collaborative stakeholder group (CSG) was based on modelling without giving enough attention to the constraints and uncertainties involved, especially went it came to Overseer programme predictions. . . 

Farmers praise Northland plan – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland’s draft regional plan is pragmatic and headed in the right direction, Federated Farmers says.  

Federated Farmers Northland province found the overall thrust of Northland Regional Council policy-making was appropriate for dairy, sheep and beef cattle farmers.  

In particular, it responded to livestock exclusion rules, setback distance from waterways, farm wastewater storage, wetlands and catchment plans for improving water quality.  

It said Northland’s freshwater resources were in a reasonable state and over-allocation and nitrate loadings were not issues. . . 

A damn load of emotional effluent – Tim Gilbertson:

The Ruataniwha water storage scheme saga has gone far beyond soap opera territory: fantasy has long since replaced fact, the noisy quashing any sense.

Here are some examples. Serial anti-RWSS crusader Grenville Christie claims riparian planting stops only phosphate from entering the waterways (CHB Mail Sept 20). Incorrect. It stops virtually everything except nitrogen.

Filtering improves water quality, in some cases by up to 80% within a few months. Nitrogen enters the rivers via groundwater, so riparian planting is ineffective. But nitrogen will be severely limited by Plan Change 6, so Grenville can rest easy. . . 

Time to wake up and get safe! – Mark Daniel:

While quad fatalities keep fuelling a media frenzy, it’s time to look at the broader picture and try to understand what makes our farms such dangerous places.

Dangerous they are: statistics between 2013 and December 2015 show farmers suffered 63 deaths*; the next-highest sectors, transport and warehousing, had 17 and forestry 14 respectively during the same period.  

So the death rate on farms is around four times higher; why is that? If you’ve visited a quarry, warehouse or forest lately, you’ll know that before you get to the action you’ll be hit with rules, hazard identification, hi-vis vests, hard hats and steel-toe boots. Easy to do, you say, on a compact ring fenced site, but much harder to do in the backblocks of New Zealand. . . 

New challenge in milking goats –  Sudesh Kissun:

South Auckland farmer Hamish Noakes had no crystal ball four years ago when he pulled out of cow dairying and started milking goats.

The 40ha family-run farm at Karaka was “just too small and milking 160 cows just wasn’t working”.  

“I was always chasing my tail; I had a lot of leased blocks so I was always running around between leased blocks and running this farm,” Hamish told Rural News. . . 

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Friday’s answers

October 7, 2016

Will and J Bloggs posed the questions.

Should they have stumped us all they can claim a virtual asparagus and Whitestone Windsor Blue roulade by leaving the answers below.


Smile

October 7, 2016

It’s World Smile Day:

Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963. That image went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet.

As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace.  Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day®. He thought that we, all of us, should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.  The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.  Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we.  He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day®. Ever since that first World Smile Day® held in 1999, it has continued every year in Smiley’s hometown of Worcester, MA and around the world.

 After Harvey died in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was created to honor his name and memory.  The Foundation continues as the official sponsor of World Smile Day® each year. . . 

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Quote of the day

October 7, 2016

A life without fame can be a good life, but fame without a life is no life at all – Clive James who celebrates his 77th birthday today.

He also said:

Anyone afraid of what he thinks television is doing to the world is probably just afraid of the world.

And:

 Fiction is life with the dull bits left out.

And:

Stop worrying… nobody gets out of this world alive.

And:

The entrée wasn’t tender enough to be a paving stone and the gravy couldn’t have been primordial soup because morphogenesis was already taking place.

And:

Among artists without talent Marxism will always be popular, since it enables them to blame society for the fact that nobody wants to hear what they have to say.

 


October 7 in history

October 7, 2016

3761 BC – The epoch of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar).

336  Pope Mark died, leaving the papacy vacant.

1513  Battle of La Motta: Spanish troops under Ramón de Cardonadefeated the Venetians.

1542  Explorer Cabrillo discovered Santa Catalina Island off the California coast.

1571  The Battle of Lepanto – the Holy League (Spain and Italy) destroyed the Turkish fleet.

1763 George III  issued British Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlements.

1776 Crown Prince Paul of Russia married Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Americans defeated the British in the Second Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Bemis Heights.

1780  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kings Mountain American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist irregulars led by British colonel Patrick Ferguson in South Carolina.

1800  French corsair Robert Surcouf, commander of the 18-gun ship La Confiance, captured the British 38-gun Kent inspiring the traditional French song Le Trente-et-un du mois d’août.

1826  The Granite Railway began operations as the first chartered railway in the U.S.

1828  The city of Patras, Greece, was liberated by the French expeditionary force in Peloponnese under General Maison.

1840  Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Darbytown Road: the Confederate forces’ attempt to regain ground that had been lost around Richmond is thwarted.

1864 American Civil War: U.S.S. Wachusett captured the CSSFloridaConfederate raider ship while in port in Bahia, Brazil.

1868  Cornell University held opening day ceremonies; initial student enrollment was 412, the highest at any American university to that date.

1870  Franco-Prussian War – Siege of Paris: Leon Gambetta fled Paris in a balloon.

1879  Germany and Austria-Hungary signed the “Twofold Covenant” and created the Dual Alliance.

1893 – Alice Dalgliesh, Trinidadian-American author and publisher, was born (d. 1979).

1900 Heinrich Himmler, German Nazi official, was born (d. 1945).

1907 – Helen MacInnes, Scottish-American librarian and author, was born (d. 1985).

1912  The Helsinki Stock Exchange‘s first transaction.

1914 Sarah Churchill, British actress, was born (d. 1982).

1916 Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University 222-0 in the mostlopsided college football game in American history.

1917 Count Felix Graf von Luckner, the German “Sea-Devil” was imprisoned in New Zealand.

German 'Sea Devil' imprisoned in NZ

1919  KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, was founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.

1920  The Suwalki Agreement between Poland and Lithuania was signed.

1927 – Al Martino, American singer and actor, was born (d. 2009).

1931  Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and Nobel Laureate, was born.

1933  Air France was inaugurated, after being formed from a merger of 5 French airlines.

1934  Aeromexico was inaugareted 75 years after it becomes the # 1 airline in Mexico.

1935  – Thomas Keneally, Australian author and playwright, was born.

1939 – Clive James, Australian television host, author, and critic, was born.

1939 – John Hopcroft, American computer scientist was born.

1940  World War II: the McCollum memo proposed bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.

1942  World War II: The October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal began as United States Marine Corps forces attacked Japanese Army units along the Matanikau River.

1944 World War II: Uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Jews burned down the crematoria.

1949  German Democratic Republic (East Germany) formed.

1952 Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister and former President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1955  Beat poet Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time at a poetry reading in San Francisco.

1958  President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza, with the support of GeneralAyub Khan and the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial law, and cancelled the elections scheduled for January 1959.

1959 – Simon Cowell, English businessman and producer, created The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, was born.

1959 U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 transmitted its first ever photographs of the far side of the moon.

1962  U.S.S.R. performed nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya.

1963  John F. Kennedy signed ratification for Partial Test Ban Treaty.

1966  – Janet Shaw, Australian cyclist and author, was born (d. 2012).

1973 – Grigol Mgaloblishvili, Georgian politician and diplomat, 7th Prime Minister of Georgia, was born.

1977  The adoption of the Fourth Soviet Constitution.

1982  Cats opened on Broadway.

1985  The Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestine Liberation Organization.

1993  The Great Flood of 1993 ended at St. Louis, Missouri, 103 days after it began.

2001  The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan started with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.

2004 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated.

2003 – An historic recall election took place in California in which the sitting Governor Gray Davis a Democrat was overwhelmingly voted out of office. Actor/bodybuilder and Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzeneggerwas elected to be the 38th Governor of California over fellow RepublicanTom McClintock and Democrat Cruz Bustamante who at the time was the sitting Lt. Governor of California.

2006 – Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed outside her home in Moscow.

2008  – Asteroid 2008 TC3 hit the Earth over Sudan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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