366 days of gratitude

December 13, 2016

As I baked Christmas cakes, washed clothes, cooked dinner, used the computer, showered with hot water  . . .  and did all the things which require power that I normally take for granted, I thought of the people in Gisborne who were without electricity for 33 hours.

Today I’m grateful for electricity.


Word of the day

December 13, 2016

Leviathan  –  a sea monster, identified in different Biblical passages with the whale and the crocodile; a very large aquatic creature, especially a whale; a thing that is very large or powerful, especially an organisation or vehicle; something unusually large of its kind, especially a ship.


Rural round-up

December 13, 2016

Shearer drug-testing mooted – Alexa Cook:

The New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association says there is a problem with drugs in the industry, but it is hard to measure because testing is not widespread.

The association’s president, Jamie McConachie, said alcohol was a well-documented issue with shearing gangs, however the scale of drug use was less clear because it was harder for people to talk about and measure.

The Australian shearing industry has recently formed a group to try and tackle methamphetamine abuse.

Mr McConachie said New Zealand had similar problems, but he did not think it was as bad as Australia. . . 

Film keeps young plants warm, moist – Sally Rae:

Brian Michelle’s maize crop alongside the Outram-Mosgiel Rd is attracting a fair bit of attention.

That is because it has been planted using a biodegradable film that creates a greenhouse effect for the young plants.

The Samco system, owned by Pioneer, had been in New Zealand for a few years. Mr Michelle was the only farmer to use it on the Taieri this year although the system was increasingly being talked about, Farmlands technical field officer Kieran Fowler said.

In a single pass, the Samco  planting machine planted the maize seed, applied a pre-emergent herbicide and laid the biodegradable film. . . 

MPI produces super biosecurity dogs:

The Ministry for Primary Industries hopes a new breed of detector dog will produce its best biosecurity sniffers ever.

MPI detector beagle Clara gave birth to three male and three female puppies on 24 November. The sire was Morley, a harrier hound. Both dogs work for MPI at airports and ports to sniff out food and plant materials that pose biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

“It’s the first time anyone in the world has crossed a beagle and a harrier for detection work and we have very high expectations for this super-breed,” says MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman. . . 

Case studies of top performing dairy farms released:

New case studies on top performing dairy farms will help other farmers drive their economic and environmental performance, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The studies are part of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Farm Systems Change programme, which is looking at ways to help farmers boost performance by learning from the strongest performers.

“Last year the Government allocated $800,000 towards this project which is focused on understanding the drivers of farm performance and sharing that knowledge with others. . . 

Fonterra chairman urges new PM to continue push for trade deals –  Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra chairman John Wilson has told investors in the cooperative’s unit fund that it’s critical the government continues driving regional and multi-lateral trade agreements.

At the annual meeting of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, Wilson said he had gone on a number of trade missions with former Prime Minister John Key, who he said was a strong supporter and advocate of the New Zealand dairy industry.

“With his departure, it is critical that we continue to work closely with government to ensure trade strategy adapts to the changing global environment that has certainly seen significant political change during 2016,” he said. . . 

Feds Challenge Bill English’s Team to Continue Good Work:

 

Federated Farmers congratulates outgoing Prime Minister John Key after eight years leading the country, and looks forward to working with Bill English in the top job.

“John Key has been an outstanding Prime Minister and ambassador for our country.

“During his time in office he has overseen some profound challenges and changes,” Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says. . . .

Tatua Appoints New CEO:

On Thursday 8 December 2016, the same day as its Annual General Meeting, The Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd announced the appointment of Brendhan Greaney to the position of Tatua Chief Executive Officer.

Chairman Stephen Allen who spoke to both Shareholders and Staff said, “after a professional, rigorous yet sensitive process, supported by executive search firm, Hobson Leavy, we are absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of one of our own people, Brendhan Greaney. Brendhan’s appointment is with immediate effect with the simultaneous retirement of previous and highly respected Chief Executive Officer, Paul McGilvary”. . . 

Atkins Ranch gains full non-GMO accreditation in US:

New Zealand’s Atkins Ranch is the first lamb exporter in the world to gain full non-GMO accreditation in America through the non-GMO project.

“It is something we’ve been working towards since the start of this year,” says New Zealand supply chain manager Pat Maher. “As of this week 100 per cent of our product is 100 per cent non-GMO project verified.”

Non-GMO project is an American-based organisation that provides third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. . . 


Beached AZ Key Change

December 13, 2016

A seagull and his beached whale friend, Beached Az,  farewell pay a musical tribute to John Key:

 

Hat tip: Newshub


Lead

December 13, 2016

Prime Minister Bill English is better known for his grasp of numbers and being more prosaic than poetic.

But he reminded us he graduated with an MA in literature yesterday when he quoted this line from a poem:

Lead by digging up diamonds in those around you

It’s from Lead by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

You can read the whole poem at The Spinoff.


Understanding & support

December 13, 2016

Prime Minister Bill English:

. . . The Government isn’t the answer to everything, most of our answers are in our own families and communities. Sometimes Government gets in the way of that. This is a Government that will be focussed on understanding, at a very individual level, what is going to work with people and then supporting them to achieve it. . . 

Focussing on understanding and then supporting people sounds simple.

It won’t be easy and it might be expensive.

But this social investment approach which the new PM led as Finance Minister, is showing that more money spent well now saves more money later  and changes lives for the better.


Quote of the day

December 13, 2016

Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. – Sir Laurens van der Post, who was born on this day in 1906.

He also said:

The age of leaders has come and gone. You must be your own leader now. You must contain the spirit of our time in your own life and your own nature. You must really explore, as you’ve never explored before, what human nature is like.

And:

I hear people everywhere saying that the trouble with our time is that we have no great leaders any more. If we look back we always had them. But to me it seems there is a very profound reason why there are no great leaders any more. It is because they are no longer needed. The message is clear. You no longer want to be led from the outside. Every man must be his own leader. He now knows enough not to follow other people. He must follow the light that’s within himself, and through this light he will create a new community.

And:

That is the trouble, everybody is giving everything in the world a piece of their minds. Whereas what we want is not a piece of somebody’s mind, even the best mind, so much as an open heart and an open spirit.


December 13 in history

December 13, 2016

558 – King Chlothar I reunited the Frankish Kingdom after his brother Childebert I has died. He became sole ruler of the Franks.

1294 – Saint Celestine V resigned the papacy after only five months; Celestine hoped to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.

1545 – Council of Trent began.

1577 Sir Francis Drake set out from Plymouth, on his round-the-world voyage.

1642  Towards noon the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted ‘a large land, uplifted high’. This was the first recorded sighting of New Zealand by a European.

First recorded European sighting of NZ

1643 – English Civil War: The Battle of Alton.

1769 Dartmouth College was founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, with a Royal Charter from King George III.

1816 Ernst Werner von Siemens, German engineer, inventor, and industrialist, was born (d. 1892).

1830 – Mathilde Fibiger, Danish feminist, novelist and telegraphist, was born (d. 1892).

1903 Carlos Montoya, Spanish guitarist, was born (d. 1993).

1906 Sir Laurens van der Post, South African author, was born  (d. 1996).

1913 – Arnold Brown, English-Canadian missionary, 11th General of The Salvation Army, was born (d. 2002).

1925 Dick Van Dyke, American actor and comedian was born.

1929 Christopher Plummer, Canadian actor, was born.

1936 Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), Imam (leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, was born.

1939 Eric Flynn, British actor and singer, was born (d. 2002).

1939 Battle of the River Plate : At 6.21 a.m. on 13 December 1939, the cruiser HMS Achilles opened fire on the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. It became the first New Zealand unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War.

Battle of the River Plate

1948 Jeff Baxter, American guitarist (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers) was born.

1949 Paula Wilcox, English actress, was born.

1954 Tamora Pierce, American author, was born.

1959 Archbishop Makarios became the first President of Cyprus.

1960 – While Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia visited Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard seized the capital and proclaimed him deposed and his son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Emperor.

1961 Irene Saez, Miss Universe 1981 and Venezuelan politician, was born.

1967 – Constantine II of Greece attempted an unsuccessful counter-coupagainst the Regime of the Colonels.

1974 Malta became a republic.

1979 – The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Joe Clark was defeated in the House of Commons, prompting the 1980 Canadian election.

1981 General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity.

1989 – Attack on Derryard checkpoint: The Provisional Irish Republican Army launched an attack on a British Army permanent vehicle checkpoint near Rosslea. Two British soldiers were killed and one badly wounded.

1996 Kofi Annan was elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2002 –  The European Union announced that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia would become members from May 1, 2004.

2003  Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured near his home town of Tikrit.

2004 Former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet was put under house arrest, after being sued under accusations over 9 kidnapping actions and manslaughter. The house arrest was lifted the same day on appeal.

2006 – The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, was pronounced extinct.

2011 – Murder-suicide in the city of Liège (Belgium), killing 6 and wounding 125 people at a Christmas market.

2014 Arapahoe High School Shooting:  A female student seeking the librarian was shot dead in a hallway by another student after the librarian had demoted him on the debate team. The shooter t00k his own life shortly afterwards.

2014 – Landslides caused by heavy rain in Java, Indonesia, killed at least 56 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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