366 days of gratitude

October 20, 2016

Each time I invite readers to pose questions for Thursday’s quiz I wonder if anyone will.

Week after week at least one person not only poses questions but also adds to my general knowledge in the process and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

October 20, 2016

Trumpery –  delusive or shallow; deceit, fraud, imposture, trickery; showy but worthless; balderdash, bunk, nonsense, malarkey, rubbish; practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth; attractive articles of little value or use; a strumpet; weeds.

Hat tip: Not PC


Rural round-up

October 20, 2016

43 jobs axed at Mossburn works – Simon Hartley:

Silver Fern Farms has axed more 43 Mossburn meatworkers’ jobs as it rationalises killing shed numbers across the country.

While the closure is vaunted as an ”opportunity” for Silver Fern Farms, the Northern Southland job losses will gut the micro-economy of Mossburn, with its population of barely 200.

The new killing season at Mossburn was just about to start; now, plant decommissioning will start next month. . .

Devastating news for small town – Tracey Roxburgh:

The Deer Capital of New Zealand received a body blow yesterday when news broke of Silver Fern Farms’ plans to close its venison plant.

The mood in Mossburn yesterday afternoon was sombre and while no-one spoken to by the Otago Daily Times seemed surprised by the proposed closure of the plant, which employs 43 staff, all agreed it was devastating for the small town.

Silver Fern Farms announced in a statement it was consulting staff at its South Island Mossburn venison plant and at its North Island Wairoa mutton processing plant, on ”options for closing the two small sites”. . .

Silver lining in overseas efforts to ditch meat diet:

Meat exporters are unfazed by a campaign to shift the world away from meat to plant protein.

A group of 40 investment companies, managing about $1.8 trillion in assets, have launched a campaign to encourage 16 major companies including WalMart, Unilever, Nestle, Kraft Heinz, and Tesco, to change the way they source protein for their products, in an effort to reduce environmental and health risks.

The investment companies, brought together by the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative, have warned about the impact of meat production on the planet.

“The world’s over reliance on factory farmed livestock to feed the growing global demand for protein is a recipe for a financial, social and environmental crisis,” said Jeremy Coller, founder of the FAIRR Initiative and chief information officer of Coller Capital, one of the investment firms involved in the campaign. . . 

New Zealand King Salmon Lists on NZX & ASX

Aquaculture – a “healthy” portfolio ingredient

Salmon is on the menu at both the NZX Main Board (NZX) and the ASX with the listing today (19 October) of the world’s largest aquaculture producer of King salmon.

The initial public offer (“IPO”) for Nelson / Marlborough-based New Zealand King Salmon was for 69.2 million ordinary shares, quoted under the ticker NZK.

With the government supporting well-planned and sustainable aquaculture growth, New Zealand King Salmon sought $30.0 million in new capital to repay debt, and to fund future investment and working capital.

As a result of the fully subscribed IPO, and based on the $1.12 price per share, the company’s market capitalisation is $154.5 million, excluding certain shares offered under an employee share ownership plan. . . 

The reds have it in South Island Farmer of the Year finals

Three red meat producers and a Central Otago wine business will be up against each other for the finals of the Lincoln University Foundation 2016 South Island Farmer of the Year at Lincoln University on November 16.

The four finalists are:

James Dicey, a viticulturist and owner of Grape Vision Limited based in Bannockburn, Central Otago.

Lauren and Geoff Shaw, sheep and beef farmers in Central Otago, near Ranfurly.

Lyn and Neil Campbell, Campbell Farms, Middle Valley, near Fairlie in South Canterbury farming sheep, beef, bulls and deer, and arable crops.

Simon Lee, Manager Mendip Hills Station, Parnassus, North Canterbury, farming sheep, beef and deer.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says he’s looking forward to a great finals night on November 16. . . 

When it comes time to hang up the gumboots:

With the average age of New Zealand farmers pushing 60, and land values on a steady increase, it’s no surprise succession planning is currently top-of-mind for the agricultural industry.

In fact, leading commentators see private farm succession as the single biggest challenge for the industry to overcome during the next decade.

Dairy Women’s Network and its partners ASB and Crowe Horwath are coming together to offer support to farmers around this daunting and extremely personal, but important issue, over the next few months.

The partners will be delivering free succession planning workshops across the country, over the next six months. . . 

Timber industry upbeat despite challenges:

“Challenges facing the NZ timber industry are real and significant but the industry is generally in a good demand cycle and sentiment is positive” says New Zealand Timber Industry Federation (NZTIF) president, John McVicar.

“Domestic demand for timber is very strong at the moment” he said.

“However the upside was tempered with a number of very real challenges facing the industry.” . . 

Commission releases draft report on Fonterra’s 2016/17 Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on its annual statutory review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for the 2016/17 dairy season. The Commission’s draft finding is that the 2016/17 Manual is largely consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (the Act).

Deputy Chair Sue Begg noted that most of the Manual remains unchanged.

“The most significant amendment introduced this year is the inclusion of Fonterra’s sales outside the GlobalDairyTrade auction platform for whole milk powder, skim milk powder and butter milk powder. This shift could result in an increase in the milk price for the 2016/17 season of five cents per kilogram of milk solids,” Ms Begg said. . . 

Fonterra Receives Awards for Tanker Safety:

Fonterra’s GM Transport and Logistics Barry McColl has been named Road Risk Manager of the Year at the Australasian Fleet Safety Awards.

The award recognises his role in maintaining the safety of more than 1,600 drivers in 500 tankers travelling more than 90 million kilometres a year.

Fonterra Director New Zealand Manufacturing Mark Leslie said the award is a great tribute to the outstanding work of Mr McColl and his team. . . 

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Welcome changes to election broadcasting

October 20, 2016

Justice and Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams says a planned refresh of the outdated format of election broadcasts will modernise them in time for the 2017 General Election.

Ms Adams announced today that the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill will be introduced to Parliament next week.

The Bill will remove the requirement for political parties’ opening and closing election broadcasts to be aired on television and radio. It will also remove the requirement for TVNZ and Radio NZ to provide free time for these.

“The addresses are an outdated format and declining audience numbers show they are not effective at engaging voters,” says Ms Adams.

For example, during opening addresses in 2014, TVNZ received 25 per cent fewer viewers than they would usually get.

This is a very welcome change.

Compelling TVNZ and Radio NZ to broadcast the opening and closing statements has long passed its use-by date.

I’m a political tragic and partisan but I only watched National’s broadcasts out of loyalty and gave up on the other parties’ broadcasts after a very few minutes.

“Reform of opening and closing addresses was recommended by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee in their Inquiry into the 2014 General Election. Both TVNZ and Radio NZ welcome the proposed change.”

The Bill recognises the growing use of digital and online media. As well as television and radio, parties will now be allowed to use their allocation for advertising online.

“I hope that by giving parties more flexibility in how they communicate their messages, more voters will engage in the electoral process,” says Ms Adams.

“Parties will continue to be able to spend their own money on online advertising while funding for television and radio advertising remains limited to the funding allocated by the Electoral Commission.”

I accept a cap on overall spending but parties should be free to decide how much of the allowable amount they spend on which medium.

To offset the reduction in time that parties are given to address voters, the Government has agreed to increase election advertising funding by $750,000. This brings the budget to $3.605 million.

I’d prefer no public funding of advertising at all.

Political parties are voluntary organisations. All their activities, including election advertising, should be funded by members, donors and and other fundraising not taxes.

The criteria the Electoral Commission uses for allocating funding between parties, as well as other rules for election advertising and expenses, will not change.

It is expected the new Bill will eventually be considered alongside the Electoral Amendment Bill, which recently had its first reading in Parliament. The changes in both Bills are intended to be in time for the 2017 General Election.

There’s a Q&A on the changes here.

 


Thursday’s quiz

October 20, 2016

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual carrot cake.


The right time to go

October 20, 2016

Education Minister Hekia Parata will not contest the next election:

She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year.

“It is a privilege to be part of the John Key-led Government. However this is the right decision for me and my family, and it is the right time to make my intentions known,” says Ms Parata.

“I have no plans beyond serving as Education Minister as long as the Prime Minister wishes me to. There are still a number of deliverables in the education work plan in the meantime and my focus and energy will be unwavering.

“It is an honour to work each day in this portfolio – it’s true that it involves a number of difficult decisions but I have been committed to making the right decision for our children and young people.

“I am also keen to see a fresh candidate nominated in the marvellous seat of Mana and to provide voters with a strong contest at the next election.”

Ms Parata was elected to Parliament in 2008 and has served as the Minister of Education since 2011. She has previously held the portfolios of Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister for Women, Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Minister for Community & Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister of ACC. . . 

Education is one of the toughest portfolios.

Teacher unions whose leaders put politics before education make the role even harder for a National Minister.

Hekia was always a strong advocate for pupils and teachers in spite of the unions. Her policies have led to significant improvements to the education system and pupil performance.

The right time to go is very much a matter of debate but Hekia is leaving voluntarily which is always the best way to go.

Whether she remains as a Minister until the end of the parliamentary term is up to the Prime Minister. Some Ministers who have announced retirements have been replaced before they leave parliament, others have served out the full term.


Quote of the day

October 20, 2016

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.  – John Dewey who was born on this day in 1859.

He also said:

Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.

And:

Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.

And:

The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.

And:

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

And:

The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.

And:

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

And:

Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.


October 20 in history

October 20, 2016

1548 The city of Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) was founded by Captain Alonso de Mendoza by appointment of the king of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

1632 Sir Christopher Wren, English architect, was born (d. 1723).

1740 Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refused to honour the Pragmatic Sanction (allowing succession by a daughter) and the War of the Austrian Succession began.

1781 Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, was approved in Habsburg Monarchy.

1803 The United States Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

1818 The Convention of 1818 signed between the United States and the United Kingdom which, among other things, settled the Canada – United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.

1827  Battle of Navarino – a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada was defeated by British, French, and Russian naval force in the port of Navarino in Pylos, Greece.

1859  John Dewey, American philosopher, was born (d. 1952).

1883  Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancón, by which the Tarapacá province was ceded to the latter, bringing an end to Peru’s involvement in the War of the Pacific.

1904  Anna Neagle, English actress, was born (d. 1986).

1910  The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the RMS Titanic, was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast

1932 William Christopher, American actor who played Father Mulcahy inM*A*S*H, was born.

1934 Michiko, empress of Japan, was born.

1935  The Long March ended.

1941 Stan Graham was shot by police after five days on the run.

Fugitive Stan Graham shot by police

1941  World War II: Thousands of civilians in German-occupied Serbia were killed in the Kragujevac massacre.

1944  Liquid natural gas leaked from storage tanks in Cleveland, then exploded; levelling 30 blocks and killing 130.

1944 – General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return to the Philippines when he commanded an Allied assault on the islands, reclaiming them from the Japanese during the Second World War.

1947 The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevented some from working in the industry for years.

1950  Tom Petty, American musician, was born.

1951 The “Johnny Bright Incident“  in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

1952 Governor Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency in Kenya and began arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising, including Jomo Kenyatta, the future first President of Kenya.

1967 A purported bigfoot was filmed by Patterson and Gimlin.

1968  Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

1970 Siad Barre declared Somalia a socialist state.

1971 The Nepal Stock Exchange collapsed.

1973  ”Saturday Night Massacre“: President Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refused to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

1973  The Sydney Opera House opened.

1976  The ferry George Prince was struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi River. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died and only 18 people aboard the ferry survived.

1977 A plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines along with backup singerCassie Gaines, the road manager, pilot, and co-pilot.

1979  The John F. Kennedy library was opened in Boston.

1982  During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem, 66 people were crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.

1984 The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in Monterey Bay, California.

1991 The Oakland Hills firestorm killed 25 and destroyed 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage.

2011 – The former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, and his sonMutassim Gaddafi were killed shortly after the Battle of Sirte while in the custody of NTC fighters.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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