Word of the day

August 15, 2017

Druxy – wood that has lost its strength and become brittle; rotten spots growing inside a tree’s heartwood; having a healthy or sturdy outward appearance, whilst being rotten and crumbling beneath the surface; having rotten wood concealed by healthy wood; someone/something lovely and charming on the outside but rotten and awful inside.


Rural round-up

August 15, 2017

Labour’s water plan ‘dangerous, deceitful’, says Marlborough grapegrower – Oliver Lewis:

A Marlborough grapegrower has blasted Labour’s irrigation policy as “dangerous” and “deceitful”.

Wine Marlborough deputy chairman Simon Bishell said it was populist electioneering that would “drive a deeper wedge between the rural and urban divide”.

The Caythorpe Family Estate grower said international wine markets were incredibly competitive and any extra charge would put New Zealand exporters at a disadvantage. . . 

Concern for Hawke’s Bay farmers, growers over “water tax” – Victoria White:

Concerned members of Hawke’s Bay primary sector have waded into the debate on a Labour Party proposal for a royalty on commercial water.

Yesterday Labour leader Jacinda Ardern revealed their freshwater policy, which included charging an unspecified royalty on commercial water, with the revenue going to local regional councils to be used to clean up rivers, lakes and streams.

This royalty would include water bottlers, and farmers taking water for irrigation schemes. . . 

Horticulture New Zealand Responds to Scaremongering Claims:

Reacting to claims yesterday from Labour’s water tax spokesperson David Parker that its level of “scaremongering around this would make Donald Trump blush”, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says this is a disappointing way to start a policy discussion about water and land use.

“Since Labour announced last week that it planned to tax fruit and vegetable growers’ use of water, I have been contacted by many of our growers asking that Horticulture New Zealand speak out about this tax and its direct impact on the cost of healthy food,” Chapman says.

“The tax confuses water users with water polluters – they are not one and the same – and implies that people on municipal water supply already pay for water, when in fact nobody pays for water. The costs they are talking about relate to the infrastructure required to source water. . .  

Positive perception important to farmers – Sally Rae:

Dean Rabbidge is an advocate for telling the good stories in farming.

Mr Rabbidge (32), a Glenham sheep, beef and dairy farmer, is intent on not only growing his own farming business, but also defending what he views as a “bad rap” that farming receives from some.

He recently became a trustee and member of the Three Rivers Catchment Group, which was established to engage with all sectors of the community and educate around the management of fresh water.

The group comprised about 12 trustees, who were all farmers and who wanted to engage with the community around water quality issues. The catalyst for its formation was Environment Southland’s proposed Water and Land Plan.

Mr Rabbidge encouraged people to “do the right thing” and showcase best management practice. He wanted to “get some good noise” out there with all the good stuff that was happening, he said. . . 

Understanding meat behind marketing – Sally Rae:

When it comes to marketing meat, Wayne Cameron is in the enviable position of having experienced first-hand all aspects of the chain — from producer to restaurateur.

Mr Cameron has been heavily involved with the Silere alpine origin merino meat brand  established six years ago.

Originally a joint venture between the New Zealand Merino Company and Silver Fern Farms,  SFF later withdrew from the venture and Alliance Group took it up.

Mr Cameron’s latest role is as marketing manager premium products at Alliance Group, overseeing not only Silere but also Te Mana lamb, and other yet-to-be launched products, including a beef label due to be rolled out soon. . . 

NZ sheep numbers decline at a slower annual pace as farmers rebuild flocks –  Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – The steady decline in New Zealand’s sheep numbers continued at a slower pace over the past year as farmers in some areas rebuilt their flocks following drought, natural disasters and the impact of facial eczema.

Sheep numbers reduced to an estimated 27.34 million as at June 30 from 27.58 million a year earlier, according to the latest survey from the Economic Service of farmer-owned industry organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand. The annual 0.9 percent decline compares with last year’s 5.3 percent drop, and marks the fifth consecutive fall since 2012 when sheep numbers rose 0.4 percent. . . 

Farmers taking a hammering with One Plan, gorge closure :

“We won’t survive,” was Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis’ reaction to the Environment Court directed One Plan presented to Horizons Regional Council’s strategy and policy committee yesterday.

“The report is really scary,” Mrs Collis, an Eketahuna dairy farmer, said.

“We’ve seen the damage a loss of 30 per cent of business has meant to Woodville, with the close of State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge. A drop in dairy farmer’s profit will be felt throughout our community,” she said. . . 

Otematata wetland project gets funding boost – Elena McPhee:

Volunteers are fencing, clearing willows, and planting 2200 native plants before spring for a wetlands restoration project at the head of Lake Aviemore. 

Another $15,000 has been granted for the conservation project as part of an ongoing Environment Canterbury initiative to fund biodiversity projects around the district. 

The Otematata Ratepayers Association received the grant from the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee to enhance another section of the 50 hectare Otematata Wetlands at the head of Lake Aviemore. 

The wetlands site is a popular recreation area, and is being restored by the community-led group.  . . 

Draft Report on Fonterra’s Base Milk Price Calculation:

The Commerce Commission has today released its draft report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2016/17 dairy season.

The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays farmers for raw milk, which is set at $6.15 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2016/17 season just ended. The report does not cover the forecast 2017/18 price of $6.75 that Fonterra announced in July.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation at the end of each dairy season under the milk price monitoring regime in the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA).

Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said with the exception of the asset beta component of the cost of capital estimate, Fonterra’s calculation of the 2016/17 base milk price is consistent with both the efficiency and contestability purposes of DIRA. . . 

Teacher resources bring primary industries into the classroom:

A new set of online resources will provide teachers with the information they need to help their students learn about New Zealand’s animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems, says Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston.

“The curriculum-linked resources are being rolled out so that teachers can help students to learn key knowledge and skills while also discovering how these key systems underpin the primary industries and play an important role in our economy, our environment and our way of life,” Ms Upston says. . . 

First female president of Agcarm:

Agcarm, the industry association which represents crop protection, animal health and rural supplier businesses, has appointed its first female president.

Dr Pauline Calvert heads the production animal business for MSD Animal Heath in New Zealand and was elected president at Agcarm’s annual meeting on July 27.

Under her presidency, Agcarm will continue to focus on promoting the responsible use of products, sustainable agriculture, environmental preservation, and sensible science-based regulation of crop protection and animal health products. . . 

Interesting Facts And Figures About The 2017 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final:

With the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 National Final looming closer (29th August 2017 at Villa Maria) the contestants are well into study mode, researching their projects, writing budgets, revising a wide range of subjects such as pests & diseases, soil nutrition, pruning, trellising and tractor skills to name but a few. Each of them is very determined to be this year’s winner.

Here are some interesting facts about the competition:

• 2017 will be the largest national final to date with SIX contestants . . 


Labour policy protects big multinational hits small locals

August 15, 2017

Water bottlers fear they’ll be put out of business if Labour’s water tax is applied:

Charging water exporters a per litre levy will penalise a small, struggling New Zealand industry and lead to company closures and job losses, say two Putaruru water bottlers. Aquasplash and NZ Quality Waters are united in their opposition to Labour’s proposed water policy and say it is unfair to cherry pick by industry.

“You should charge everyone who uses water for commercial purposes, or no one. As it stands, this policy would hit small exporters like us but wouldn’t affect the big multi-nationals who are using the same resources. At a time when people are upset about the lack of tax paid by companies such as Google and Apple, is this really a wise position to take?” says Aquasplash chief executive Mark Manson.

Labour has been a vocal critic of multinationals not paying enough tax yet they’re going to tax small local companies but not Coca Cola.

He and NZ Quality Waters General Manager Bruce Sherman agree, if the policy became law, many of the 27 water bottlers around the country could close. “It would hit the livelihood of the 370 people who work directly in the industry, plus a similar number indirectly. The majority of those 750 people work and live in rural economically depressed parts of the country. A lot of those jobs could disappear,” says Manson.

That’s a lot of jobs that would be lost from regions where alternative employment opportunities will be scarce.

Sherman adds: “Of the 213 billion litres of water consented for bottling, only 0.5% of that is used. A mere 26 million litres were exported in 2016, equivalent to just two minutes’ flow over the Huka Falls or one and a half hours’ consumption of water in Auckland.And why is so little water exported? Because there’s virtually no money in it. It’s a hugely competitive global industry and the offshore markets are swamped by the giants like Evian and Perrier. Our margins are already extremely low so an additional levy would see companies shut down.”

Manson adds: “Given a 10c per litre levy, and assuming everyone managed to stay in business, we’re talking about an extra $2.6 million a year into Government coffers. Is that worth it for a potential loss of 750 jobs and the extra WINZ benefits those people would then require?” He says Aquasplash’s contract with the South Waikato District Council allows it to take up to 200,000 litres per day from the Blue Spring. Currently it uses 35,000 litres per day. That equates to 0.4 litres per second, compared to the minimum flow through the Blue Spring of 700 litres per second. “Clearly, this is a very sustainable, well-monitored and well-controlled water supply.”

Manson and Sherman say, should Labour become the Government, they would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue in-depth and help devise a fair and equitable system that protects New Zealand companies and jobs and does not let the multi-nationals off the hook. “For instance, we are interested in exploring the system used in Canada, where they charge a levy based on the number of litres you have consent for, rather than the actual amount of water taken. This encourages users to only ask for what they need, thus ensuring there is plenty available for other consents for other users. It also avoids anyone “stockpiling” consent volumes for commercial gain.”

Both Aquasplash and NZ Quality Waters are members of the New Zealand Beverage Council Water Bottlers’ Sub-committee, which is also opposed to Labour’s policy.

Rodney Hide is another to point out the inconsistencies and unfairness of Labour’s water tax:

Farmers are right to be worried about Labour’s plan to tax water.

The power to tax is the power to destroy and such a tax has the potential to tip a farm from profitability to bust. . . 

Of even more concern is a complete lack of any detail of how much the tax will be, how it will be applied, and what Labour is expecting to raise.

It’s hard to imagine a party heading into election promising, say, to tax cars without declaring what the tax will be or how much is expected to be taken.

The bare-bones announcement shows just how little farmers count in an election. They still drive the economy but matter little in politics.

Sad but true.

But even a small tax should be worrying. All taxes start out small. The principle is established and then the tax is ramped up. Whenever government is a bit short, up goes the tax. . .

A little bit of tax is like a little bit pregnant.

Of course, water should not be free. It’s a scarce and valuable resource. It’s also nonsense that its use is often subsidised. That’s bad both from an economic and an environmental viewpoint.

Rather than applying a blunt and damaging tax, it’d be better to allow tradeable water rights.

It’s not without precedent. A system operated excellently for the most valuable water in the country in central Otago for well over 100 years.

The Resource Management Act abolished these old rights in favour of government control and regulation. It was a huge loss.

Today’s system doesn’t provide any certainty and doesn’t confront users with the cost of their use.

It would be better to convert all existing water rights to perpetual rights and allow them to trade. That would get farmers onside – and it would price a valuable resource. It’d also keep environmentalists happy, if done right.

The only ones missing out would be politicians and bureaucrats who would not have the tax dollars to spend.

And there’s the issue: taxes are good for Wellington and bad for everyone else.

When there is room in projected surpluses for tax cuts, there is no need for new taxes, especially not ones as ill considered, inconsistent and unfair as Labour’s water tax.


Quote of the day

August 15, 2017

If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped. –  Melinda Gates who celebrates her 53rd birthday today.


August 15 in history

August 15, 2017

778 The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland was killed.

927 The Saracens conquered and destroy Taranto.

982  Holy Roman Emperor Otto II was defeated by the Saracens in the battle of Capo Colonna.

1018 Byzantine general Eustathios Daphnomeles blinded and capturedIbatzes of Bulgaria by a ruse, ending Bulgarian resistance against Emperor Basil II’s conquest of Bulgaria.

1040  King Duncan I was killed in battle against his first cousin and rivalMacbeth.

1057  King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada.

1185  The cave city of Vardzia was consecrated by Queen Tamar of Georgia.

1248  The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, was laid.

1261 Michael VIII Palaeologus was crowned Byzantine emperor.

1309  The city of Rhodes surrendered to the forces of the Knights of St. John, completing their conquest of Rhodes. The knights establish their headquarters on the island and renamed themselves the Knights of Rhodes.

1461 The Empire of Trebizond surrendered to the forces of Sultan Mehmet II – regarded by some historians as the real end of the Byzantine Empire. Emperor David was exiled.

1534 Saint Ignatius of Loyola and six classmates took initial vows, leading to the creation of the Society of Jesus in September 1540.

1599  Nine Years War: Battle of Curlew Pass – Irish forces led by Hugh Roe O’Donnell successfully ambushed English forces, led by Sir Conyers Clifford, sent to relieve Collooney Castle.

1717  – Blind Jack, (John Metcalf ), English engineer, was born (d. 1810).

1760  Seven Years’ War: Battle of Liegnitz – Frederick the Great’s victory over the Austrians under Ernst von Laudon.

1769  Napoléon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was born (d. 1821).

1771  Sir Walter Scott, Scottish novelist and poet, was born (d. 1832).

1807 – Jules Grévy, French lawyer and politician, 4th President of the French Republic, was born (d. 1891).

1824 Freed American slaves founded Liberia.

1843  The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii was dedicated.

1843  Tivoli Gardens amusement park  opened in Copenhagen.

1858 – E. Nesbit, English author and poet was born (d. 1924).

1869  Henrietta Vinton Davis, American elocutionist, was born (d. 1941).

1863 The Anglo-Satsuma War began between the Satsuma Domain of Japan and the United Kingdom.

1875 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor , English composer, was born (d. 1912).

1893 Leslie Comrie, New Zealand astronomer and computing pioneer, was born (d. 1950).

1907 Ordination in Constantinople of Fr. Raphael Morgan, first African-American Orthodox priest, “Priest-Apostolic” to America and the West Indies.

1909  A group of mid-level Greek Army officers launched the Goudi coup, seeking wide-ranging reforms.

1912  Julia Child, American cook (d. 2004)

1912 – Dame Wendy Hiller, English actress (d. 2003).

1914  Julian Carlton, servant of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, set fire to the living quarters of the architect’s home, Taliesin, and  murdered seven people.

1914 The Panama Canal opened to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship Ancon.

1917 – Jack Lynch, Irish footballer and politician, 5th Taoiseach of Ireland, was born (d. 1999).

1924 Robert Bolt, English playwright and screenwriter, was born (d. 1995).

1935 Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed after their aircraft develops engine problems during takeoff.

1939  13 Stukas dived into the ground during a disastrous air-practice at Neuhammer.

1940  An Italian submarine torpedoed and sank the Greek cruiser Elli at Tinos harbour, marking the most serious Italian provocation prior to the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War in October.

1941  Corporal Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad at the Tower of London making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason.

1942  Operation Pedestal – The SS Ohio reached the island of Malta barely afloat carrying vital fuel supplies for the island’s defenses.

1944 : Operation Dragoon – Allied forces landed in southern France.

1945  Victory over Japan Day – Japan surrendered.

In New Zealand VJ Day was celebrated. Sirens immediately sounded, a national ceremony was held, and the local celebrations followed.

The war is over! VJ Day

1945 – World War II: Korean Liberation Day.

1947  India gained independence from the United Kingdom and becomes an independent nation within the Commonwealth.

1947 – Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as first Governor General of Pakistan at Karachi.

1948 The Republic of Korea was established south of the 38th parallel north.

1950 Princess Anne, Princess Royal, was born.

1951 The troop ship Wahine  was wrecked en route to the Korean War.

Troop ship Wahine wrecked en route to Korean War

1952 – A flash flood  in Lynmouth,Devon, killed 34 people.

1954 Stieg Larsson, Swedish writer, was born (d. 2004).

1954 Alfredo Stroessner began his dictatorship in Paraguay.

1958 – Simon Baron-Cohen, English-Canadian psychiatrist and author, was born.

1960  Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) became independent from France.

1961 – Conrad Schumann fled from East Germany while on duty guarding the construction of the Berlin Wall.

1962  James Joseph Dresnok defected to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after running across the Korean DMZ.

1963 Execution of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland.

1963  President Fulbert Youlou was overthrown in the Republic of Congo, after a three-day uprising in the capital.

1964  – Melinda Gates, American businesswoman and philanthropist, co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was born.

1965 – The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, in an event later seen as marking the birth of stadium rock.

1969 The Woodstock Music and Art Festival opened.

1971  President Richard Nixon completed the break from the gold standardby ending convertibility of the United States dollar into gold by foreign investors.

1972 Ben Affleck, American actor, was born.

1973  – Vietnam War: The United States bombing of Cambodia ended.

1974  Yuk Young-soo, First Lady of South Korea, was killed during an apparent assassination attempt on President Park Chung-hee.

1975  Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and most members of his family were killed during a military coup.

1975 Miki Takeo made the first official pilgrimage to Yasukuni Shrine by an incumbent prime minister on the anniversary of the end of World War II.

1977  The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University received a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.

1984– The Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey started a campaign of armed attacks upon the Turkish military with an attack on police and gendarmerie bases in Şemdinli and Eruh

1998  Omagh bomb in Northern Ireland, the worst terrorist incident of The Troubles.

1999 – Beni Ounif massacre ; some 29 people were killed at a false roadblock near the Moroccan border.

2007  An 8.0-magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast devastated Ica and various regions of Peru killing 514 and injuring 1,090.

2013 – At least 27 people were killed and 226 injured in an explosion in southern Beirut near a complex used by Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. A previously unknown Syrian Sunni group claimed responsibility in an online video.

2013 – The Smithsonian announced the discovery of the olinguito, the first new carnivoran species found in the Americas in 35 years.

2015 – North Korea moved its clock back half an hour to introduce Pyongyang Time, 8½ hours ahead of UTC.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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