Word of the day

July 18, 2017

Mete – dispense or allot justice, a punishment, or harsh treatment;  distribute or apportion by measure; allot; dole out; a limiting mark; limit or boundary.


Food from seed to plate

July 18, 2017

Horticulture NZ is doing its bit to show people where food comes from:

A video showing the story of New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetables, from the seed through to food on a plate, was launched by Horticulture New Zealand today.

“New Zealand horticulture has a great story to tell,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says. “New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetables story is one of successful, inter-generational family businesses providing good, healthy food for everybody, every day. They use sustainable, environmentally sound production practices that look after the land for the future.

“Horticulture has been the unsung hero of the primary industries and we thought it was time people knew our story, particularly as we are going through significant growth. There are a number of trends that have prompted us to make this video.

“The population make-up of New Zealand is changing and city dwellers no longer have connections with rural communities that they once might have had. So there is not the understanding of what goes into getting fresh food onto their plate.

“Trends indicate a strong desire by consumers to both buy food grown locally, and to understand what has gone into producing their food. They want to know sustainable and environmentally friendly practices have been used and that the people working for the food producing companies are treated properly and paid appropriately.

“Globally, consumers want fresh fruit and vegetables from New Zealand because we have a well-earned reputation for providing safe, healthy food that meets consumer expectations around sustainability and the environment.

“And increasingly, people are looking to a healthy diet to improve their overall health. While some shoppers will always be driven by price, there are people who want to factor other things into decisions about what they buy.

“So we have given people a chance to see some of the innovative work our growers are doing, particularly on environmental aspects of their business, to bring them the freshest and healthiest food.”


Rural round-up

July 18, 2017

 Southern Dairy Hub celebrated – Sally Rae:

About 200 dairy farmers and supporters gathered to celebrate the opening of the Southern Dairy Hub in Southland on Friday.

Conversion of the 349ha property at Makarewa, near Invercargill, began in November last year and the hub is now operational, with research under way and calving due to begin.

The official opening, by Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell, was an ”important milestone” for the region and New Zealand, Southern Dairy Hub chairman Maurice Hardie said. . . 

Future of dairy women bright in Women of Influence nominations:

Two women described as “humble and leading from the heart” are among the nominees for this year’s Women of Influence awards.

Dairy Women’s Network trustees Pamela Storey and Tracy Brown have been nominated for the Women of Influence award in the rural category.

Ms Storey is an electrical engineer ‘by trade’ and has extensive governance experience across a variety of local and international organisations, including the Energy Management Association of New Zealand, the Waikato Environmental Centre, the Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership, and most recently Primary ITO. . . 

NZ fruit & vegetable sector urged to watch consumer trends:

There is significant potential for New Zealand to increase sales of fruit and vegetable produce into both developing and developed markets, but the industry must keep a close eye on evolving consumer consumption patterns if it is to maximise export opportunities, according to a visiting US fruit and vegetable expert.

In New Zealand last week to meet with local growers and to deliver a keynote address at the Horticulture New Zealand conference in Tauranga, Rabobank’s California-based senior fruit and vegetable analyst Dr Roland Fumasi said the growing middle-class population in developing countries had generated considerably greater global demand for fruit and vegetables. . .

Twin beef titles for Gore farmer – Sally Rae:

An ”outstanding” eye muscle area of 191sqcm was among the reasons Gore farmer Mike Thompson claimed this year’s Otago-Southland beef carcass competition title.

Mr Thompson’s Limousin steer won both the on the hoof and on the hook sections of the annual competition, which attracted 30 entries.

Convener Barry Gray said entries were down on recent years, which could possibly be attributed to a good season with cattle being killed earlier. . .

Deer industry mulls GIA – Annette Scott:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) has begun exploring the benefits of entering a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on biosecurity.

The organisation’s science and policy manager Catharine Sayer said maintaining the health of NZ’s deer herd and protecting it from biosecurity risks was critical to the industry, prompting DINZ to explore the benefits of entering a GIA. 

She said livestock industries, including DINZ, had been fleshing out with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) what a GIA would look like for the sector. . . 

Pinus radiata, New Zealand’s adopted icon –  Jean Balchin:

I used to be terrified of pine forests. The tall, dark trees seemed to quiver with menace, fringing the roads as we drove along in our little car. I’d peer out the window and dare myself to look into the forest, half expecting to see a wild thing lurking between the trees.

Pinus radiata is New Zealand’s great timber tree. It covers 1.3 million hectares of land and forms the basis of a massive export industry. It was first introduced into New Zealand in 1859 and comprises 89% of the country’s plantation forests, including the massive Kaingaroa Forest on the central plateau of the North Island, the largest planted forest in the world. . . 

Rural recycling programme challenges New Zealand to clear more waste:

Rural recycling programme, Agrecovery, challenges other industries to follow its lead in clearing more of New Zealand’s plastic waste.

The programme will this year recover and recycle over 300 tonnes of plastic that might otherwise be burnt, buried or dumped. “That is enough plastic to cover a rugby field six feet high,” says Agrecovery General Manager, Simon Andrew.

“Agrecovery is a great example of how manufacturers, industry, government and consumers can work together to reduce the harmful impacts of plastic waste on our environment,” he says. . . 

Off Road Heaven – The Pinnacle of Adventure Travel in New Zealand:

The words ‘adventure tourism’ and ‘Queenstown’ go hand-in-hand:

And now one of the tourism resort’s longest-standing adventure tourism companies is revving up the adventure experience to a whole new level.

Off Road Queenstown, a pioneer in everything off road since its inception over 27 years ago, is offering those seeking the ultimate Kiwi adventure the opportunity of a lifetime.

Their new tailor-made private expeditions on four wheels or two – off-road (of course) through the central South Island — give groups exclusive access to some of world’s most stunning and remote off-road terrain and landscapes. . . 


Whose job is it to make jobless job-ready?

July 18, 2017

The Opposition’s anti-immigration policies are based on the view that New Zealanders should come first for jobs.

They do under current policy, if they are ready and willing to work.

But what happens when they’re not?

Whose job is it to make the jobless job-ready?

When unemployment is as low as it is (4.9% in the March quarter), too many of those without jobs don’t have what it takes to take on even low skilled or unskilled jobs.

There are plenty of jobs which don’t require specialised skills but none don’t need people with at least basic numeracy and literacy, who turn up on time ready, willing and able to work, and continue to work willingly and ably for the required number of hours.

Not all businesses have the human and financial resources to deal with people who aren’t work-ready.

But the Warehouse is giving some young unemployed people a chance:

The Warehouse’s Red Shirts programme offers unskilled 16 to 24-year-olds the training they need to get a job.

It’s a three-week unpaid programme supported by the Ministry of Social Development.

The Ministry, which chooses who will go on the programme, pays for participants’ shoes and trousers, bought at cost price from The Warehouse.

“At the end of the programme their eyes are sparkling, their posture is up, they are able to hold a conversation with you,” The Warehouse’s Shari French told Newshub.

“It’s incredible, the self-esteem and the growth we see is amazing.” . . .

The programme teaches workplace safety, customer service and confidence.

“It’s absolutely essential we give them that before they turn 20, before they go onto a benefit,” Social Development Minister Anne Tolley told Newshub.

So far 250 young people have been through the course, with 70 percent of them getting jobs within three months and 50 of them working at The Warehouse.

The programme will now be rolled out to more Warehouse stores around the country and will take in a further 1000 young people.

Few if any small to medium businesses could do this without putting too much pressure on other staff but the Warehouse is showing that some bigger business could.

It’s also a reminder that sorting out social problems isn’t only up to the government and its agencies.

But it’s not an argument against immigration when too many employers can’t find locals ready, willing and able to work.


Fonterra aims to restore 50 freshwater catchments

July 18, 2017

Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, has announced an ambition to restore 50 freshwater catchments, signalling the Co-op’s desire to take a leading role in improving New Zealand’s waterways.

“We acknowledge we have an important role to play in addressing water quality in New Zealand. Kiwis want swimmable waterways and that’s an aspiration we share. We’ll work with local communities to improve the quality of our streams and rivers,” said Spierings.

Fonterra launched its 10 year Living Water partnership with the Department of Conservation in 2013, with the aim of achieving sustainable dairying in healthy freshwater ecosystems. The programme focuses on five catchments and aims to improve natural habitats, and freshwater outcomes.

“Living Water has taught us a huge amount and we are making a significant impact on the initial regions. Now we want to amplify those results with the launch of a new initiative that will target 50 catchments.

“Our immediate focus will be on working with communities, Government and key partners to identify the catchments and develop a strategic framework for the programme. This is a major undertaking and we need to get it right, but we are committed to making substantial progress,” said Spierings.

Spierings made the announcement at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council held in Auckland yesterday. The Council’s Executive Director, Abbie Reynolds, said she was delighted Fonterra was making a significant commitment to improve water quality.

“The business case for sustainability is clear and it’s pleasing that a growing number of organisations are making robust commitments to improving New Zealand society and the environment. It is great that Fonterra is making an ambitious commitment, which is both bold and restorative,” Reynolds concluded.

Water degradation has occurred over many years and has multiple causes.

Intensive dairying has been part of the problem but the industry has done a lot to repair the damage and reduce its environmental footprint.

Niwa’s freshwater and estuaries chief scientist Dr John Quinn notes a significant improvement:

There has been a lot of improvement in dairy industry practice in the last 15 years. Dairy shed effluent management has improved and is more professional, and the majority of streams on dairy farms are now fenced to exclude cows. Things like the Farm Enviro Walk Toolkit and Sustainable Dairying Water Accord have increased adoption of a range of good environmental practices. These advances have been industry-led, rather than driven by government rules.” . . 

More than 97% of streams running through dairy farms are now fenced, so cows are out of waterways. Waterways are still receiving E. coli and Campylobacter from other unfenced stock and wild animals. They’re also getting microbial pathogens from land runoff when it rains. A 2005 NIWA study found that rain can wash a million to a billion E. coli bacterium per square metre of hillside into streams.

Riparian strips can help. These are the areas where plants grow alongside streams. They trap and absorb nutrients and microbes, including E. coli, in surface water. In the best conditions, riparian strips can remove at least 60% of nitrogen and 65% of phosphorus from runoff and groundwater.

There’s even more to riparian strips than the benefits to water quality. Trees holds together river banks, which stabilises them as habitats for insects and prevents silting and cloudy water that disturbs fish. The shade of trees creates cooler and more humid conditions, which insects need, and prevents over-growth of plants in the stream. Their branches and leaf litter provides direct habitat and food for many of the insects that like riverside conditions for only parts of their life stages, particularly larval, before moving to other habitats.

It is good to have this acknowledgement of the work that’s been done and the positive impact it’s having.

There’s still a lot more to do and Fonterra’s initiative will make a major contribution to it.


Quote of the day

July 18, 2017

Television has lifted the manufacture of banality out of the sphere of handicraft and placed it in that of a major industry.Nathalie Sarraute who was born on this day in 1900.


July 18 in history

July 18, 2017

390 BC Roman-Gaulish Wars: Battle of the Allia – a Roman army was defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.

64 Great fire of Rome: a fire began to burn in the merchant area of Rome.

1290  King Edward I of England issued the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B’Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.

1334  The bishop of Florence blessed the first foundation stone for the newcampanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral, designed by the artist Giotto di Bondone.

1389  Kingdoms of France and England agreed to the Truce of Leulinghem,  inaugurating a 13 year peace; the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years War. 1656  Polish-Lithuanian forces clashed with Sweden and its Brandenburg allies in the start of  the Battle of Warsaw. 1670 Giovanni Bononcini, Italian composer, was born (d. 1747).

1811 William Makepeace Thackeray, English author, was born (d. 1863).

1848   W. G. Grace, English cricketer, was born  (d. 1915).

1855 New Zealand’s first postage stamps were issued. The adhesive, non-perforated stamps for the prepayment of postage were the famous ‘Chalon Head’ design that portrayed a full-face likeness of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes.

NZ's first postage stamps go on sale

1857  Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrived to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall’s war against the French.

1862  First ascent of Dent Blanche, one of the highest summits in the Swiss Alps.

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Fort Wagner/Morris Island – the first formal African American military unit, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, failed in their assault on Confederate-held Battery Wagner.

1867 Margaret Brown, American activist, philanthropist, and RMS Titanic passenger, was born (d. 1932).

1870  The First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility.

1884 – Death of Ferdinand von Hochstetter, the Austrian geologist who was the first to describe and interpret many features of New Zealand geology.

1887 Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian soldier, politician and convicted traitor, was born  (d. 1945).

1890 – Frank Forde, Australian educator and politician, 15th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1983).

1900 – Nathalie Sarraute, French lawyer and author, was born (d. 1999).

1908 Mildred Lisette Norman, American peace activist, earned the moniker Peace Pilgrim, was born  (d. 1981).

1908 – Beatrice Aitchison, American mathematician, statistician, and transportation economist, was born (d. 1997).

1909  Andrei Gromyko, Soviet diplomat and President, was born (d. 1989). 1909 – Mohammed Daoud Khan, President of Afghanistan, was born (d. 1978). 1914  The U.S. Congress formed the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.

1918 Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born (d. 2013).

1923 Jerome H. Lemelson, American inventor, was born (d. 1997).

1925  Adolf Hitler published his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

1936 In Spanish Morocco, military rebels attempted a coup d’état against the legitimacy of the Spanish government, this led to the Spanish Civil War.

1937 Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author, was born (d. 2005).

1942 Bobby Susser, American songwriter and record producer, was born. 1942  World War II: the Germans test flew the Messerschmitt Me-262using only its jet engines for the first time. 1944  World War II: Hideki Tojoresigned as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort.

1950 Glenn Hughes, American singer (Village People), was born (d. 2001).

1957 Sir Nick Faldo, English golfer, was born.

1963 Martín Torrijos Espino, former President of Panama, was born.

1965  Russian satellite Zond 3 launched. 1966  Gemini 10 launched. 1968  The Intel Corporation was founded in Santa Clara, California. 1969  After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy drove an Oldsmobile off a bridge and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, died.

1971 Sarah McLeod, New Zealand actress, was born.

1976 Nadia Comăneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

1982 – 268 campesinos were slain in the Plan de Sánchez massacre in Ríos Montt’s Guatemala.

1984  McDonald’s massacre James Oliver Huberty opened fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before being shot dead by police.

1984  Beverly Lynn Burns became first female Boeing 747 airline captain. 1986 A tornado was broadcast live on KARE television when the station’s helicopter pilot made a chance encounter.

1992  The ten victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappeared from their university in Lima. 1994 The bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentinian Jewish Communal Center) in Buenos Aires killed 85 people (mostly Jewish) and injures 300.

1995  The Soufriere Hills volcano erupted. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.

1996  Storms provoked severe flooding on the Saguenay River. 1996 Battle of Mullaitivu. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured the Sri Lanka Army’s base, killing over 1200 Army soldiers.

2005  Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, first public joint statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then U.S. President George W. Bush.

2012 – At least 7 people were killed and 32 others injured after a bomb exploded on an Israeli tour bus at Burgas Airport, Bulgaria.

2013 – The Government of Detroit, with up to $20 billion in debt, filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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