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.

 


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