Word of the day

July 11, 2017

Elliptical – pertaining to, using or involving ellipsis, especially so as to be difficult to understand;  of, relating to, or marked by extreme economy of speech or writing; of or relating to deliberate obscurity;  the shape of an ellipse; an elongated circle, stretched into an oval; an oval or egg-shaped figure.


Rural round-up

July 11, 2017

China’s returning appetite for dairy set to benefit NZ producers – Visiting Chinese dairy expert:

After a two-year hiatus from the global dairy market, China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to revive, and this will create opportunities for New Zealand, particularly at the higher-end of the market, according to a visiting Chinese dairy expert.

In New Zealand for a series of industry presentations, Rabobank Shanghai-based senior dairy analyst Sandy Chen said China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to pick-up at a time when global supply across the export engine is returning to growth. . . 

Wool industry hits hard times – Peter Fowler:

Wool prices have hit rock bottom, causing a lot of stress and emotion in the industry, says a Hawke’s Bay wool broker.

Wright Wool managing director Philippa Wright has been in the industry 40 years and said she can’t think of a time when prices have been lower.

Ms Wright said the wool sale at Napier yesterday was very disappointing.

“We are now at a lower point than we’ve ever been in my memory. Six years ago it was around about this level but yesterday I think it went a bit lower.

“The shorter wools are at an all time low but yesterday we saw the longer wools, the better coloured wools, the carpet type wools actually drop as well and quite significantly,” she said. . . 

Farming must adapt for climate change, Nat’s candidate says – Mike Mather:

Tim van de Molen might be looking to inherit a safe National Party seat, but that does not automatically mean he is as staunchly conservative as his predecessors or – likely – some of his contemporaries.

The 34 year old, who officially launched his election campaign in Matamata on Saturday afternoon, is quick to admit that climate change is a reality and more needs to be done to deal with it.

He is also “leaning toward” the decriminalisation of euthanasia, but is less swayed by those calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.

“I don’t think we should be taxing something that could be causing health issues,” he said. . . 

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year – two more contestants go through to the National Final:

Congratulations to Anthony Walsh from Constellation who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on Thursday 6 July. At 29 this was the last year Walsh could enter so he was more determined than ever to take out the title this year as it was his last opportunity to go through and represent Marlborough in the National Final. He is thrilled all his hard work paid off.

Matthew Gallop, also from Constellation, took out second place and Shannon Horner from Marisco came third, so a great achievement for both of them too. . .  

Hawkes Bay Syrah crowned the champion of the world:

Hawkes Bay wine producer Rod McDonald Wines has won the Champion Red Trophy for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015 at the world’s most influential wine awards – the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

The winery was already noted for scooping four trophies for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015, including Best International Syrah, Best New Zealand Syrah, Best New Zealand Red and Best Hawkes Bay Syrah. The Champion Trophy was selected by the IWC Chairmen after re-tasting all the trophy-winning wines. The last time a New Zealand winery won a Champion Red Trophy was in 2013. . . 


Woolly thinking isn’t answer to wool woes

July 11, 2017

New Zealand First is trying to court farmers and has come up with a policy that takes us back to the 1970s:

Clearly Winston Peters has had a flashback to the 1970s when he was MP for Hunua under Rob Muldoon with this ‘Fortress New Zealand’ proclamation that under his watch no civil servant would walk synthetic again.

Earlier today, Peters issued a press release setting out NZ First’s ‘carpet policy’which favours wool and fibre over everything else.

Taxpayers’ Union, Executive Director, Jordan Williams says “While some will be scratching their heads that 76 days out from the election Winston Peters’ priority is the carpets, the issue is actually an important reminder of why taxpayers must be ever-vigilant”.

“Carpets, as well as all other government supplies, should be selected on value for money alone. This sort of crony favouritism by politicians is exactly the sort of thing which sent New Zealand bust in the early days of Peters’ career”.

“Here’s hoping Peters’ release is merely an ill-timed joke and that he hasn’t come full circle”.

It isn’t a joke. It’s a policy and one farmers don’t want.

Wool is in the doldrums but a return to the woolly thinking of the past when political interference and subsidies were the norm is not the answer, especially when the $120 million it would cost would be better spent elsewhere:

NZ First’s ‘carpet policy’ announcement this morning, to line all Government offices with woollen carpets, would cost approximately $120 million, based on the Government Property Group’s estimate of Government floor space.

Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, says “While smarter carpets for government bureaucrats may be appealing to some, in comparison to what $120 million will buy you in nurses, policeman or teachers, we’re not so sure.”

“In another context, $120 million is the income tax take of over 6,000 average New Zealand households. The Taxpayers’ Union questions whether taxpayers would really get $120 million of value for bureaucrats having woollen carpet and a more comfortable walk around their office.”

“In the lead-up to the election, we would encourage all political parties to provide costings with their policy announcements. If not, the Taxpayers’ Union will be here to help.”

Notes:
• Using a standard price of a woollen carpet of $79 per square metre, and a floor space of 1,524,524 metres squared, the total cost is $120,437,396.
• If new carpets were only installed as part of usual replacements, the marginal cost of wool is $60 million to $93 million (in today’s dollars) more than usual synthetic commercial carpets.

We have only wool carpet in our home but that’s our choice and paid for with our own money.

The decision on what carpet to use in Government offices is one for the chief executive, not politicians.

It should be based on the best value for the taxpayers’ money, not political direction from an opportunist trying to court voters.

Political interference and subsidies got farming and farmers into a mess. Getting out of it through the reforms of the 1980s and 90s came at considerable financial and emotional cost.

We don’t want policy based on woolly thinking that will take us back to the bad old days when political whim rather than commercial reality drove business decisions.


Quote of the day

July 11, 2017

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts. – E.B. White who was born on this day in 1899.


July 11 in history

July 11, 2017

472  After being besieged in Rome by his own generals, Western Roman Emperor Anthemius was captured in the Old St. Peter’s Basilica and put to death.

911 Signing of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between Charles the Simple and Rollo of Normandy.

1274 Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, was born (d. 1329).

1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs (Guldensporenslag in Dutch) – a coalition around the Flemish cities defeats the king of France’s royal army.

1346  Charles IV of Luxembourg was elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1405  Ming admiral Zheng He set sail to explore the world for the first time.

1476 Giuliano della Rovere was appointed bishop of Coutances.

1576 Martin Frobisher sighted Greenland.

1616 Samuel de Champlain returned to Quebec.

1735 Mathematical calculations suggested that on this day that dwarf planet Pluto moved inside the orbit of Neptune for the last time before 1979.

1740   Jews were expelled from Little Russia.

1750  Halifax, Nova Scotia was almost completely destroyed by fire.

1767 John Quincy Adams, President of the United States, was born (d. 1848).

1776 Captain James Cook began his third voyage.

1789 Jacques Necker was dismissed as France’s Finance Minister sparking the Storming of the Bastille.

1796  The United States took possession of Detroit from Great Britain under terms of the Jay Treaty.

1798  The United States Marine Corps was re-established.

1801  French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons made his first comet discovery.

1804 Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr mortally wounded former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

1833  Noongar Australian aboriginal warrior Yagan, wanted for leading attacks on white colonists in Western Australia, was killed.

1848 Waterloo railway station in London opened.

1859 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens  was published.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Fort Stevens; Confederate forces attempted to invade Washington, D.C..

1877 Kate Edgar became the first woman in New Zealand to gain a university degree and the first woman in the British Empire to earn a BA.

Kate Edger becomes NZ’s first woman graduate

1882  The British Mediterranean fleet began the Bombardment of Alexandria in Egypt as part of the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War.

1888 Carl Schmitt, German philosopher and political theorist, was born  (d. 1985).

1889 Tijuana, Mexico, was founded.

1893  The first cultured pearl was obtained by Kokichi Mikimoto.

1893  A revolution led by the liberal general and politician, José Santos Zelaya, takes over state power in Nicaragua.

1895 The Lumière brothers demonstrated film technology to scientists.

1897  Salomon August Andrée left Spitsbergen to attempt to reach the North pole by balloon.

1899  E. B. White, American writer, was born  (d. 1985).

1906 The Gillette-Brown murder inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.

1914  Babe Ruth made his debut in Major league baseball.

1916 – Reg Varney, English actor, was born (d. 2008).

1916 – Gough Whitlam, 21st Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1919  The eight-hour working day and free Sunday became law in the Netherlands.

1920 Yul Brynner, Russian-born actor, was born (d. 1985).

1920 In the East Prussian plebiscite the local populace decided to remain with Weimar Germany

1921 A truce was called in the Irish War of Independence.

1921 – Former U.S. President William Howard Taft was sworn in as 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the only person to ever be both President and Chief Justice.

1921 – The Red Army captured Mongolia from the White Army and establishes the Mongolian People’s Republic.

1922 The Hollywood Bowl opened.

1929 David Kelly, Irish actor, was born.

1929 The Gillingham Fair fire disaster killed 15 in England.

1932 Bob McGrath, American actor, was born.

1936 The Triborough Bridge in New York City was opened to traffic.

1940 World War II: Vichy France regime was formally established. Henri Philippe Pétain became Prime Minister of France.

1943  Massacres of Poles in Volhynia.

1943 – World War II: Allied invasion of Sicily – German and Italian troops launched a counter-attack on Allied forces in Sicily.

1947 The Exodus 1947 headed to Palestine from France.

1950 Bonnie Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born.

1955  The phrase In God We Trust was added to all U.S. currency.

1957 Prince Karim Husseini Aga Khan IV inherited the office of Imamat as the 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili worldwide, after the death of Sir Sultan Mahommed Shah Aga Khan III.

1959 Richie Sambora, American musician (Bon Jovi), was born.

1960 Independence of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.

1960  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published.

1962 Pauline McLynn, Irish actress, was born.

1962  First transatlantic satellite television transmission.

1971  Copper mines in Chile were nationalised.

1973 A Brazilian Boeing 707 crashed near Paris on approach to Orly Airport, killing 123 of the 134 on-board.

1977 Martin Luther King Jr. was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1978 Los Alfaques Disaster: A truck carrying liquid gas crashed and exploded at a coastal campsite in Tarragona, Spain killing 216 tourists.

1979  America’s first space station, Skylab, was destroyed as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

1983 A Boeing 727 crashed into hilly terrain after a tail strike in Cuenca, Ecuador, claiming 119 lives.

1987  According to the United Nations, the world population crossed the 5,000,000,000 mark.

1990 Oka Crisis: First Nations land dispute in Quebec began.

1991  A Nationair DC-8 crashed during an emergency landing at Jeddah, killing 261.

1995  A Cubana de Aviacion Antonov An-24 crashed into the Caribbean off southeast Cuba killing 44 people.

1995   Over 8000 Bosnian men and children (mostly Bosniaks) were killed by Serbian troops commanded by Ratko Mladic.

2006 –  209 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks in Mumbai.

2010 – July 2010 Kampala attacks: At least 74 people were killed in twin suicide bombings at two locations in Kampala, Uganda

2011 – Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion: Ninety-eight containers of explosives self-detonated killing 13 people in Zygi, Cyprus.

2012 – Astronomers announced the discovery of Styx, the fifth moon of Pluto.


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