Word of the day


Expurgate – remove matter thought to be objectionable or unsuitable; edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate; amend by removing parts that might offend people.

Rural round-up


Mycoplasma bovis – update:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continues to build the picture of where the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present, to contain it and eradicate if possible.

Response Incident Controller Eve Pleydell says good progress has been made over the weekend.

“Our laboratory teams were working at the weekend to continue testing the thousands of milk and blood samples from Van Leeuwen Dairy Group (VLDG) farms and neighbouring properties. To date 2,610 samples have been received. . . 

Singer really is a country woman – Sally Rae:

Fanny Lumsden finds it ”hilarious” that it is rare for a country singer to actually be from the country.
Unlike many of her counterparts, Ms Lumsden (30) is a true country girl, brought up on a sheep and cropping farm in western New South Wales.

Born Edwina Margaret Lumsden – she got the nickname Fanny at university and it stuck – she enjoyed a typical rural upbringing: riding horses and helping on the farm after school and during school holidays. . .

Continuing strong performance delivers greater returns for farmers :

Ravensdown is paying a total annual rebate of $45 per tonne after a third year of strong results.

The 10% increase in rebate on purchased products compared to last year was due to continued balance sheet strength, growing market share and a profit before tax and rebate of $51 million from continuing operations.

“All-year value is important to farmers, so I’m delighted we were able to deliver this rebate as well as having led major price reductions throughout the year,” said Ravensdown Chairman John Henderson. . .

The great food disruption: part 2 – Rosie Bosworth:

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part two of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable.

  • Read part 1 here.

So what’s driving these bounteous sums of venture capital and the world’s most talented scientists and entrepreneurs into the field of cellular agriculture and synbio? One might think that nabbing a slice of the multi-trillion dollar food pie would be the primary motivation. That’s certainly part of it. But it’s not all of it. By using synbio these startups are hoping to transform conventional agriculture’s woefully flawed business model. And there’s nothing startups like more than inefficient legacy systems (and audacious goals).

Where’s Welly? – Sally Rae:

Last month, Welly the gumboot was dispatched from Bluff to travel the length of the country as part of an initiative by Mosgiel-based technology company TracMap.
The catch was that only social media platform Twitter could be used to secure rides to move Welly up the country and TracMap developed an app so anyone interested in Welly’s adventure could track its progress.

The gumboot arrived at Cape Reinga to be reunited with its ”solemate” only to find that Galosh had headed to a ”wellness retreat” in Samoa, with Ian Handcock from Fit4Farming. . .


Image may contain: one or more people, meme and text

And that students is  all the use for baling twine.

Why should you vote for National? #1


A couple of weeks ago Andrei challenged me to write about why people should vote for National.

When people ask me that I usually start by saying that they need to start by looking at the party’s values and see how closely they align with their own.

National’s values are:

* Loyalty to our country, its democratic principles, and our Sovereign as Head of State
* National and personal security
* Equal citizenship and equal opportunity
* Individual freedom and choice
* Personal Responsibility
* Competitive enterprise and reward for achievement
* Limited government
* Strong families and caring communities
* Sustainable development of our environment

If all, or at least most, of these align with yours, that’s the first good reason to vote for National.

The second reason is economic management.

National is a party that understands the need to balance the books while respecting that it uses taxpayers’ money to do so.

Just as individuals, families, businesses and other organisations have to have their finances in order to comfortably cover necessities, have enough to cope with unexpected eventualities and afford some extras, so must governments. A strong economy is the only way to sustainably afford the first world services and infrastructure we need and expect.

When National took office in 2008 it inherited forecasts for a decade of deficits.

Successive National-led governments, thanks in no small part to then Finance Minister, now Prime Minister Bill English, managed to return to surplus in less than 10 years.

They did that in spite of the global financial crisis, earthquakes and other natural disasters, and they protected the most vulnerable and continued to increase spending on health and education while doing it.

They did it by looking not just at the quantity of the spend but the quality, cutting waste, reducing costs and charging government departments with providing greater value for taxpayers’ money.

Once surpluses were assured, they put more into health, education and welfare and introduced tax cuts which allowed people to keep a bit more of their own money.

National has proved you can trust it to provide sound economic management and that it is prepared to spend for long term benefit even if it costs more in the short-term.

Nowhere is this more evident than in welfare.

National took an actuarial approach to benefits, worked out what was driving the projected long-term increase in benefit dependency and the social and financial costs associated with that.

It then put money into helping those most in need to get work-ready and into jobs. The success of this is evident in the drop in number of people on benefits, especially younger sole parents.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey, independently produced by Statistics New Zealand, shows the unemployment rate is now at 4.8 per cent, the lowest level since December 2008.

It’s easy to underestimate just how significant this is. When National took office in 2008, at the height of the crisis, unemployment was spiking and projected to keep growing. Businesses were closing, people were losing their houses, and government debt was blowing out and on track to reach unsustainable levels.

All of this was despite fair economic conditions during the 2000s giving the previous Labour Government ample opportunity to prepare for a rainy day.

National made stabilising the economy a priority, which included some tough decisions. We developed a clear and consistent economic plan to get the country back on its feet, which included taking on debt to provide support to those at the hardest edge of the crisis.

We lowered taxes to help stimulate business growth. We began a huge programme of infrastructure development to catch up with years of neglect by Labour.

And we made significant reforms to our welfare system to help beneficiaries get back into work more quickly, and stay in work, so this latest economic shock didn’t cause another generation to fall into long-term, welfare dependency.

National has stuck with this plan, backing our businesses to grow so they can hire more people and lift incomes. The number of people unemployed has dropped by 3,000 this quarter alone, and we’ve helped you create over 181,000 new jobs in past two years.

Particularly pleasing is the reduction in the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). The rate fell to 11.1 per cent, down from 12.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The number of women who are NEET is at the lowest level on record.

All of these things are the positive results you get from National’s strong, consistent economic plan. And it’s just the beginning – there’s a lot more we’re going to do. . .

This year’s Budget and policy already announced  show that National will continue to do what has been proven to work and, as surpluses allow, do more of it.

National can be trusted with public money, to keep a leash on spending, measure success by what it achieves rather than how much it spends, and allow people to keep more of what they earn.

No combination of opposition parties could be trusted to do that.

Post #2 and more will follow.

Quote of the day


Sift each of us through the great sieve of circumstance and you have a residue, great or small as the case may be, that is the man or the woman.Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings who was born on this day in 1896.

August 8 in history


1220 Sweden  was defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503  King James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor.

1509  The Emperor Krishnadeva Raya was crowned, marking the beginning of the regeneration of the Vijayanagara Empire.

1576  The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on Hven.

1588  Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ended, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.

1647  Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeated Irish forces.

1709  Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal.

1786  Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and DrMichel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 The insurrection of Lyon.

1794 Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver led an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1870 The Republic of Ploieşti, a failed Radical-Liberal rising against Domnitor Carol of Romania.

1876  Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.

1879 Bob Smith, American founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1950).

1889 – Jack Ryder, Australian cricketer, was born (d. 1977).

1896 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American author and academic, was born (d. 1953).

1908 Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans.

1909 – Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, English cricketer and politician, 9th Governor-General of New Zealand, was born (d. 1977).

1910  The US Army installed the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’sWright Flyer.

1911 The millionth patent was filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1915 The Wellington Battallion captured Chunuk Bair.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair

1918  Battle of Amiens began a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

1929 Ronald Biggs, British Great Train robber, was born (d. 2013).

1929  The German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.

1931  – Roger Penrose, English physicist, mathematician, and philosopher was born.

1932 – Luis García Meza Tejada, Bolivian general and politician, 68th President of Bolivia

1937 Dustin Hoffman, American actor, was born.

1940 The “Aufbau Ost” directive was signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) were executed.

1942  The Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.

1945 The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and began the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

1946  First flight of the Convair B-36.

1947 Pakistan’s National Flag was approved.

1949  Bhutan became independent.

1950 Ken Kutaragi, Founder of PlayStation, was born.

1961 The Edge, (Favid Evans) Irish guitarist (U2), was born.

1963 Great Train Robbery: a gang of 15 train robbers stole 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

1973 – Kim Dae-Jung, a South Korean politician and later president, waskidnapped.

1974  Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day.

1980  The Central Hotel Fire, Bundoran , Ireland.

1988  The “8888 Uprising” in Burma.

1989    STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia took off on a secret five-day military mission.

1990  Iraq occupied  Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq.

1991  The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapsed.

1991  John McCarthy, British journalist held hostage in Lebanon for more than five years by Islamic Jihad, was released.

2000  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor.

2007 An EF2 tornado touched down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

2010 –  A mudslide in Zhugqu County, Gansu, China, killed more than 1,400 people.

2013 – A suicide bombing at a funeral in the Pakistani city of Quetta killed at least 31 people.

2015 – Eight people were killed in a shooting in Harris County, Texas.

2016 – Terrorists attacked a government hospital in Quetta, Pakistan with a suicide blast and shooting, killing between 70 and 94 people, and injuring around 130 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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