Word of the day

May 10, 2017

Slummock – move heavily or awkwardly; to behave lazily or indolently; a dirty, untidy or slovenly person.

Hat tip: Inquring Mind


Rural round-up

May 10, 2017

Be ‘loud and proud’ Guy:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says the dairy industry should be ‘loud and proud’ about their environmental credentials.
Speaking at the Dairy Industry Awards in Auckland on Saturday night, Guy acknowledged the great work down by farmers to protect the environment.

He noted that 26,000km of waterways have been voluntarily fenced off.

“We need to continue to tell this story not only to New Zealanders but to consumers all over the world,” he says. . .

Crunch time approaches for Ruataniwha water storage scheme – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – A decision on the future of the controversial Ruataniwha water storage scheme in the Hawke’s Bay is looming, with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council set to consider a review on its risks at a special meeting tomorrow.

The council is to consider the findings of its review into the scheme and is likely to seek further advice before a formal decision is made on its future at a council meeting on May 31, it said in a statement. The review examines the legal, financial, economic, engineering and environmental elements of the scheme, and the implications of withdrawing from it. . .

Cream of dairy crop found:

New Zealand’s top dairy farmers were announced in front of nearly 550 people at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre on Saturday.

Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley were named the 2017 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Hayley Hoogendyk became the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Clay Paton was named the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth over $190,000. . .

Pasture is an excellent feed, unless you mismanage it – John Roche:

In reviewing old research for a history paper I am writing, I came across two quotes that I thought made for as interesting a discussion today as they did 70-80 years ago when they were first uttered.

The first, from the United States in 1936, states that “if a cow will eat enough immature grass to provide the required digestible nutrients and if this grass has a normal content of minerals, her ration is not likely to be deficient in any of the essential food constituents” – Woodward, 1936 . . .

Confusion cleared up :

Carrying a passenger on a quad bike is allowed only when there is no reasonable alternative, a clarification from WorkSafe states.

WorkSafe acknowledged farmers and others using quad bikes for work needed the policy clarified so they clearly understood what was acceptable in terms of carrying passengers.

It was acceptable only when there was no reasonable alternative, having considered factors such as availability of alternative vehicles, terrain and rider and passenger capability. . .

Book offers career options in farming – Peter Burke:

A new booklet aimed at inspiring young people to make a career in the dairy industry is newly published by DairyNZ.
The 32 page booklet looks at dairy farming, agriscience and agribusiness.

Opening with the value of dairying to New Zealand, it poses questions to help young people decide if the dairy sector is for them. The questions are on the themes of farming, science and business. . .

Footrot Flats made us laugh at ourselves – and talk about love, life, apartheid and more – Joyce Wyllie:

 Humour is a generous gift and I value the saying “a merry heart does good like a medicine”.

Looking at the Footrot Flats cartoon strips I recognise ourselves, our animals, our quirks and our mistakes and can laugh at them.

Murray Ball had a tremendous talent for drawing, an ingenious imagination, and above all an astute eye and ear for portraying real rural people and events. Sadly Murray died recently and I give tribute to him and his amazing gift.


QEII covenantors invest millions in conservation

May 10, 2017

QEII National Trust covenanting landowners spend an estimated $25 million of their own money every year to protect native species, forests, wetlands, and other special areas.

This was the finding of a University of Waikato Institute for Business Research study.

These landowners, the majority of which are farmers, have made an overall financial commitment of around $1.1 to $1.3 billion to protect these special areas of private and leased land since the
QEII National Trust was set up forty years ago.

The study was released today at an event hosted by Rt Hon David Carter at Parliament’s Grand Hall. The event was organised by the QEII National Trust as part of its 40th anniversary programme of events.

Working in partnership with the QEII National Trust, covenanting landowners have invested to establish over 4,300 covenants protecting around 180,000 ha since the National Trust was established in 1977. This works out at an average of two new covenants established every week since that date.

The area being protected by covenants is still growing with a further 115 on track to be registered this year alone.

It’s encouraging to see this growth after the previous Labour-led government stalled QEII covenenting.

The study was commissioned to provide a framework for estimating the cost effectiveness of conservation activity facilitated by Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, and to quantify the financial commitment made by National Trust covenantors in their covenanted land for the public good.

‘This is the first time the National Trust has undertaken research of this nature and it has given us a clear indication of the huge investment landowners around New Zealand have made in covenants since the National Trust was set up 40 years ago,’ Trust Chair James Guild says.

‘With the release of this report we acknowledge the hard work, philanthropy, generosity, and passion of the thousands of landowners who have voluntarily elected to covenant special places on their land with the National Trust.

‘Together they are making a very significant contribution towards the protection and enhancement of our threatened ecosystems and biodiversity on private land to ensure New Zealand’s uniqueness is protected forever,’ he says.

The QEII National Trust partners with private landowners wanting to permanently protect special natural and cultural features on their land with covenants. QEII (open space) covenants are legally binding agreements that are registered on the land title and protect the associated land and its natural values forever. The covenanting landowner and subsequent owners retain ownership of and management responsibilities for the protected land.

The QEII National Trust is the perpetual trustee to ensure the purpose and objectives of the covenant are achieved by monitoring the covenant and providing advice and other support to the landowner.

Analysis of data collected for the study has shown environmental gains  and substantial costs, both direct and in lost potential earnings, for land owners:

· Waterway protection (20%), restoration planting (19%), wetland restoration (18%), weed control (15%), pest control (7%) and fence maintenance (7%) are the major contributors to total maintenance costs for QEII covenants.

· The total estimated maintenance expenditure on covenants is $25 million per year and has a net present value of $387 million (calculated over 30 years). That equates to an average of just under $6,000 per covenant per year or $150 per hectare of covenanted land.

· 53% of covenanted areas would have had an alternative economic use (for example, grazing, residential development, exotic forestry) that is foreclosed by the decision of the landowner to covenant the land to protect its natural values. Grazing is the most common economic use foreclosed by the covenant, followed by housing and exotic forestry.

· The total opportunity costs (the loss of potential income from other alternative uses due to development and use restrictions) associated with the covenants that had alternative uses foreclosed is estimated to be in the range of $443 million to $638 million. That equates to approximately $105,000 per covenant or $2,657 per hectare of covenanted land (calculated over 30 years with a 5% discount rate).

The loss of potential earnings could also be reflected in a lower value for the whole property when it’s sold.

· The total estimated expenditure on covenant establishment up until June 2016 was around
$205 million. That is approximately $50,000 per covenant on average, or $1,228 per hectare of covenanted land.

· The biggest cost for landowners establishing covenants is fencing the covenanted areas to exclude livestock (30%) followed by initial weed control (18%), restoration planting (10%) and wetland restoration work (10%).

· Calculated over a 30-year period with a 5% discount rate, the annual maintenance expenditure on covenants adds up to an investment in the order of $92,000 per covenant or $ 2,300 per hectare of covenanted land.

· The estimated net present value of the total commitment by land owners across the nation in
QEII open space covenants is estimated to be in the range of $1.1b to $1.3b, or over $260,000 per covenant.

· It should be noted that despite virtually all QEII covenants running in perpetuity, the maintenance costs and revenue foregone has been estimated only over a 30 year period with a 5% discount rate.

QE II covenants are a win-win for conservation and property rights.

Landowners retain ownership of their land while preserving landscapes of aesthetic, cultural, recreational, scenic, scientifc, or social interest or value.

The full report is here or a hard copy can be requested by writing to the QEII National Trust, PO Box 3341, Wellington.


Good result for good man

May 10, 2017

Whanganui MP, Chester Burrows has been found not guilty of careless driving.

The case related to an incident in which two women were injured during an anti-Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) protest in Whanganui in March last year. . . 

In her decision, Judge Stephanie Edwards said there was no contention about whether or not Mr Borrows’ vehicle had come into contact with the women involved but the onus was on the Crown to prove he had been careless in doing so.

She said it was clear from the video evidence that the car never came to a complete halt but she accepted the MP’s evidence that he was aware of the people in front of him.

“He was prepared to stop if the police directed him to do so and he would’ve stopped if he had thought the safety of the protesters was at risk.” . . 

“What I knew at the time [was that] there had been threats made and … there was a protest going on outside and blocking our passageway.”

He said, at the time of the protest, he had perceived the threats to include a woman with a baton-sized wooden flagstaff.

There had also been a prior run-in with protesters and one of them climbed on his car, he said.

“I’m not a delicate wee flower and I don’t take offence easily and I wasn’t panicking, I knew exactly what I was doing and what my role and responsibility was.” . . .

He is a former police officer and that training influenced his actions:

. . . He said he feathered the brakes and was ready to stop at any point if he felt he needed to.

The driving was similar to what he did at similar incidents during his 24-year police career, he said. . .

The not guilty verdict is a good result for a good man.

He was driving slowly and carefully in the face of threats, real or perceived, from protesters who, from what I’ve seen in video footage, appeared to put their protest before their own safety.

In New Zealand, unlike most other countries, people have very ready access to MPs. That shouldn’t  extend to using protest to impede their movements.

People have a right to protest but not in a way that infringes the rights of other people, politicians or not, to go about their business, nor in a way that endangers themselves or others.


Quote of the day

May 10, 2017

My idea of a good work-out is two hours spent worrying about the bags under my eyes. –Maureen Lipman who celebrates her 73rd birthday today.


May 10 in history

May 10, 2017

28 BCE – A sunspot was observed by Han dynasty astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han, one of the earliest dated sunspot observations in China.

70 – Siege of Jerusalem: Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, opened a full-scale assault on Jerusalem and attacked the city’s Third Wall to the northwest.

1291 Scottish nobles recognised the authority of Edward I of England.

1497  Amerigo Vespucci allegedly left Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.

1503 Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands and named themLas Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.

1534 Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1760 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French composer (La Marseillaise) was born (d. 1836).

1655 England, with troops under the command of Admiral William Pennand General Robert Venables, annexed Jamaica from Spain.

1768  John Wilkes was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III.

1774 Louis XVI became King of France.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Fort Ticonderoga was captured by a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold.

1775  American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the 13 colonies began the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1796 First Coalition: Napoleon I of France won a decisive victory against Austrian forces at Lodi bridge over the Adda River in Italy.

1801 First Barbary War: The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on the United States of America.

1824 The National Gallery in London opened to the public.

1833 The desecration of the grave of the viceroy of southern Vietnam Le Van Duyet by Emperor Minh Mang provokds his adopted son to start a revolt.

1837– Panic of 1837: New York City banks failed, and unemployment reached record levels.

1857  Indian Mutiny: The first war of Independence began when Sepoys revolted against their commanding officers at Meerut.

1863  Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died eight days after he is accidentally shot by his own troops during the American Civil War.

1864  American Civil War: Colonel Emory Upton led a 10-regiment “Attack-in-depth” assault against the Confederate works at The Battle of Spotsylvania.

1865 American Civil War: Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

1865  American Civil War: Union soldiers ambushed and mortally wounded Confederate raider William Quantrill.

1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with thegolden spike.

1872 Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for President of the United States.

1877  Romania declared itself independent from Ottoman Empire following the Senate adoption of Mihail Kogălniceanu‘s Declaration of Independence.

1897 Ethel Benjamin became the first woman in New Zealand to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor.

1893  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, under the Tariff Act of 1883.

1899 Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1987).

1908 Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia.

1915 Denis Thatcher, British businessman and husband of Margaret Thatcher, was born (d. 2003).

1922 The United States annexed the Kingman Reef.

1924 J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the Director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

1925 – William Ferguson Massey, or ‘Farmer Bill’ as he was known by many, New Zealand’s second-longest-serving prime minister, died.

Death of William Massey

1933 Barbara Taylor Bradford, English writer, was born.

1940  World War II: The first German bombs of the war fell on England at Chilham and Petham, in Kent.

1940  World War II: Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

1940  World War II: Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940  World War II: Invasion of Iceland by the United Kingdom.

1941 World War II: The House of Commons in London was damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.

1941  World War II: Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in order to try and negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Germany.

1942 World War II: The Thai Phayap Army invaded the Shan States during the Burma Campaign.

1944 Maureen Lipman, English actress, was born.

1946  First successful launch of a V-2 rocket at White Sands Proving Ground.

1946 Graham Gouldman, British musician and songwriter (10cc), was born.

1954  Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock“, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

1957 Sid Vicious, English bassist (The Sex Pistols) was born (d. 1979).

1960 The all-white All Blacks left for South Africa.

All-white All Blacks leave for South Africa

1960 The nuclear submarine USS Triton completed Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.

1960 Bono, Irish singer (U2), was born.

1969 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dong Ap Bia began with an assault on Hill 937 which became known as Hamburger Hill.

1979 The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing.

1981 François Mitterrand won the presidential election and became the first Socialist President of France in the French 5th republic.

1993  In Thailand, a fire at the Kader Toy Factory killed 188 workers.

1994 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.

1996  A “rogue storm” near the summit of Mount Everest killed eight climbers including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, both of whom were leading paid expeditions to the summit.

2002 F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

2003 May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence.

2005  A hand grenade thrown by Vladimir Arutinian landed about 20 metres from U.S. President George W. Bush while he was giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it malfunctioned and did not detonate.

200 – An EF4 tornado struck the OklahomaKansas state line, killing 21 people and injuring over 100.

2012 – The Damascus bombings:  a pair of car bombs detonated by suicide bombers outside a military intelligence complex in Damascus, killed 55 people and injured 400 others.

2013 – The Freedom Tower became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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