366 days of gratitude

December 1, 2016

Water, North Otago’s Gold is the title of a book by Keith Pheasant which was launched in Oamaru this evening.

It tells the history from the development of water schemes in the 1870s to irrigation today.

Most of the people responsible for North Otago Irrigation Company’s scheme gathered for dinner after the launch to reminisce and share stories of the vision, tenacity, and hard work which it took to get irrigation to the downlands.

Tonight I’m grateful for those people and the water which is indeed North Otago’s gold.


Word of the day

December 1, 2016

Grinagog – one who is perpetually grinning.


Rural round-up

December 1, 2016

Government farmer Landcorp puts 11,650 hectares of NZ land on the market  – Tim Cronshaw:

Government farmer Landcorp is offloading 10 farms totalling about 11,650 hectares.

Two of the properties are being offered for sale this month with another eight farms from across the country to go before iwi for the first right of refusal.

The farms were mainly sheep and beef units and should attract an enthusiastic response, said PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager, Peter Newbold. . . 

Applications now open for Primary Industries Earthquake Relief Fund:

Applications for funding from the Primary Industries Earthquake Relief Fund are now open, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Recently we announced a $4 million fund for uninsurable on-farm infrastructure repairs in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts. Applications are now open and will close at the end of February, and I’m hopeful the panel will make an initial assessment of some applications before Christmas,” says Mr Guy.

“Criteria for applications has been released which includes re-establishment of uninsurable assets like water infrastructure and opening up tracks, culverts and farm bridges. . . 

MPI intercepts on-farm black market butchery operation:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has intercepted another illegal black market meat operation.

MPI District Compliance Manager Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Brendon Mikkelsen, says compliance officers recently executed a search warrant following an inspection at an Atiamuri Farm.

“Officers seized 22 freshly processed sheep that were destined for sale and several thousand dollars associated with the alleged offending.

“This operation involved the processing and sale of sheep, cattle and goats over a number of years. The operator is likely to face prosecution. MPI has a low tolerance for any black-market butchery operations.” . . 

Westland shareholders elect two new directors:

Well known West Coast dairy advocate Katie Milne and Canterbury Dairy Farmer Sven Koops have been elected to Westland Milk Products’ Board of Directors by shareholders, it was announced at the co-operative’s annual general meeting today (Wednesday 30 November).

Milne is a fourth generation West Coaster and farms at Rotomanu with her partner Ian Whitmore. In 2015 she won both the Dairy Woman of the Year title and Westpac’s Woman of Influence Rural award. She is a member of the national board of Federated Farmers and is currently the West Coast President. . . .

Strategy correct, mistakes in the delivery Westland Shareholders told:

Westland Milk Products’ shareholders turned out in force at their annual general meeting today to hear retiring chairman Matt O’Regan tell them that while the company’s business strategy was sound, it’s delivery had been poor.

In a frank address to an audience of some 150 shareholders demanding answers, O’Regan acknowledged that Westland’s low payout of $3.62 per kilo of milk solids, topped up from equity to a final payout of $3.88 was “beyond disappointing”, below break-even point for farmers and represented a failure of Westland’s goal to be industry competitive.

“However,” O’Regan said, “our strategy for growing Westland’s capacity to produce value-added products was, and remains, a sound one. Indeed, the survival of this company will depend upon its success. . . 

Horticulture shows ‘spectacular’ growth:

Horticulture has experienced a spectacular 40 percent growth in export earnings since 2014, according to a new report, with tariffs on exported produce down by 22 percent since 2012.

The New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA) and Horticulture New Zealand commission the report New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade every two years, with funding support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.

The report, launched at an event in Wellington today, says horticultural produce exporters paid an estimated $190 million in tariffs, a reduction of 22 percent on 2012’s figure of $241 million. . . 

Horticulture celebrates major successes:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming a new report showing a 40 per cent growth in horticulture export earnings since 2014.

The strong results are highlighted in Horticulture New Zealand and the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA)’s report New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.

“Horticulture is a star performer of the New Zealand economy with export revenue just under $5 billion, making it one of our most important industries,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Oligopoly strangling fresh food supply chain – Alistair Lamond:

Last week the Horticultural Code was put under the spotlight.

Large wholesalers were mistreating growers with fear mongering tactics and long payment terms. It’s an all too familiar case for the hundreds of thousands of Australian small and medium sized businesses who are subjected to the corporate bullying culture that arises from one systemic problem – market power imbalance.  

In Australia, most industries are dominated by oligopolies – a state of limited competition, in which a market is controlled by small number of companies. . . 

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Thursday’s quiz

December 1, 2016

You are invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual batch of shortbread.


Live donor compensation Bill passes unanimously

December 1, 2016

Life will be easier for people who donate organs thanks to the  Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill  which passed into law last night.

National List MP based in the Hutt Valley Chris Bishop is delighted that his Member’s Bill, the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill, has passed its third and final reading in Parliament unanimously.

“Live organ donors are heroes, but the status quo is manifestly unfair. These donors are compensated at the equivalent of the sickness benefit while they recuperate after their operation, even though their actions save lives, save taxpayers money, and contribute to a better and healthier New Zealand,” Mr Bishop said.

“My Bill will mean that live organ donors receive compensation of 100 per cent of their earnings for up to 12 weeks after the operation. It also allows for pre-operation compensation in some circumstances.”

During his speech Mr Bishop paid tribute to Lower Hutt woman Sharon van der Gulik and her grandson Matt, who inspired him to take the Bill up upon being elected to Parliament in late 2014.

“Mrs van der Gulik approached me at a public meeting in the Hutt during the 2014 election campaign and told me about how her grandson had donated a kidney to her, but was struggling financially after the surgery,” Mr Bishop said.

“I promised her that if I were privileged to be elected, I would look at taking up her cause.

“New Zealand needs to improve its organ donation rates. One big barrier to donation is the financial sacrifice that people are currently required to make while they take time off work for the surgery and recovery.

“The Bill adopts a cost neutrality approach, as in the United Kingdom, and means that people will be neither better or worse off from having donated. This should see more people choosing to donate.

“This will be good for recipients of organs, and also good for taxpayers. Research clearly shows that there are large fiscal gains for taxpayers from increased support for organ donors.

“This is a great day for organ donors in New Zealand.”

Bishop’s speech is here.

I happened to be driving home from Christchurch when the car radio picked up the debate on the second reading of Chris Bishop’s Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill.

The speeches provided a wonderful example of parliament and politicians at their best – non-partisan support for a bill which will help those in need of an organ, ensure donors aren’t out of pocket for donating and also save public money.

Transplants save more than $120k in dialysis costs, net of the cost of the transplant and ongoing care.

Passing the Bill ends the unfairness of donors being penalised for their altruism, it is a positive move for those needing organs and those who donate to them and the multi-party support for the measure shows parliament at its best.

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Quote of the day

December 1, 2016

For a state and a people to prosper into the longer term, I believe that there needs to be a climate of reciprocity, involving the ordinary citizens as well as the powerful. Such a society rejects, as its highest aim, materialism, but strives for the participation and contribution of all citizens in our commonwealth. Dame Marie Bashir who celebrates her 86th birthday today.


December 1 in history

December 1, 2016

800 – Charlemagne judged the accusations against Pope Leo III.

1083 – Anna Komnene, Byzantine physician and scholar was born (d. 1153).

1420 – Henry V of England entered Paris.

1640 – End of the Iberian Union: Portugal acclaimed as King, João IV of Portugal, thus ending a 60 year period of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the House of Habsburg (also called the Philippine Dynasty).

1761 Marie Tussaud, French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussauds), was born (d. 1850).

1768 – The slave ship Fredensborg sank off Tromøy in Norway.

1821 – The first constitution of Costa Rica was issued.

1822 – Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil.

1824 – U.S. presidential election, 1824: Since no candidate had received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives was given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1826 – French philhellene Charles Nicolas Fabvier forced his way through the Turkish cordon and ascended the Acropolis of Athens, which had been under siege.

1834 – Slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with theSlavery Abolition Act 1833.

1898 – The first movie was shot in New Zealand.

1864 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1901 – Ilona Fehér, Hungarian-Israeli violinist and educator was born (d. 1988).

1913 – The Buenos Aires Subway started operating, the first underground railway system in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America.

1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduced the first moving assembly line.

1913 – Crete, was annexed by Greece.

1918 – Transylvania united with Romania.

1918 – Iceland became a sovereign state, yet remained a part of the Danish kingdom.

1918 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as theKingdom of Yugoslavia) was proclaimed.

1919 – Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons (she had been elected to that position on November 28).

1925 – World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty was signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.

1930  – Dame Marie Bashir, Australian psychiatrist, academic, and politician, 37th Governor of New South Wales, was born.

1932  – Matt Monro, English singer, was born.

1933 – Pilot E.F. (‘Teddy’) Harvie and his passenger, Miss Trevor Hunter,set a record for the longest flight within New Zealand in a single day. They flew approximately 1880 km between North Cape and Invercargill in 16 hours 10 minutes.

1934 – Politburo member Sergei Kirov was shot dead by Leonid Nikolayevat the Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad.

1935 Woody Allen, American film director, actor, and comedian, was born.

1939 Lee Trevino, American golfer, was born.

1940  Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian, was born.

1941 – Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.

1945 Bette Midler, American actress and singer, was born.

1946  Gilbert O’Sullivan, Irish singer, was born.

1952 – The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgenson, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws.

1958 – The Central African Republic became independent from France.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns.

1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.

1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany, after accusations of attempted arson.

1961 – The independent Republic of West Papua was proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

1965 – The Border Security Force was formed in India as a special force to guard the borders.

1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II.

1971 – Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensified assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.

1971 – The Indian Army recaptured part of Kashmir occupied forcibly by Pakistan.

1973 – Papua New Guinea gained self government from Australia.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport killing all 92 people on-board.

1974 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231, crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

1981 – A Yugoslavian Inex Adria Aviopromet DC-9 crashed in Corsica killing all 180 people on-board.

1981 – The AIDS virus was officially recognized.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1989 – 1989 Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempted to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.

1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolished the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state.

1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.

1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approve a referendum for independence from the Soviet Union.

2001 – Captain Bill Compton brought Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.

2001  Aiko, Princess Toshi of Japan, was born.

2009 – The Treaty of Lisbon, which amended the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, which together comprise the constitutional basis of European Union, came into effect.

2013 – China launched Yutu or Jade Rabbit, its first lunar rover, as part of the Chang’e 3 lunar exploration mission.

2013 – At least four were killed and 61 injured following a Metro-North Railroad train derailment nearSpuytenDuyvil, Bronx, New York City.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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