Word of the day

August 24, 2017

Clint – a block forming part of a natural limestone pavement, separated from others by fissures; a crevice or gully in limestone rocks; a hard or flinty rock; a rocky cliff; a projecting rock or ledge; any small surface exposure of hard or flinty rock, as on a hillside or in a stream bed.


Thursday’s quiz

August 24, 2017

This is your opportunity to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual bunch of daffodils.


Rural round-up

August 24, 2017

Shortened calving proves its worth for Manawatu farmers – Gerard Hutching:

Manawatu dairy farmer Peter Bailey has discovered the merits of shortening his calving period in a trial that is believed to be a New Zealand first.

DairyNZ said farmers with an average sized herd could add about $20,000 extra income to the business through the system.

Peter and his wife Merrin, who farm at Newbury on the outskirts of Palmerston North, synchronised their herd at mating to try and get as many as possible to calve down in one day. It was an experiment he had been thinking about for a while.

“Our vets were keen to trial herd synchrony and I had been talking the talk so it was time to walk the walk.” . . 

Ingham’s posts 2.5% gain in FY earnings in NZ, cites improved trading from second half  –  Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Ingham’s Group, which is the number two poultry producer in New Zealand behind Tegel Group, reported a 2.5 percent gain in New Zealand earnings, saying trading improved in the second half after a weak first half and the trend has continued into the 2018 year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at the company’s New Zealand unit rose to A$36.2 million in the 53 weeks ended June 30, from A$35.3 million a year earlier, according to the Sydney-based company’s annual results. New Zealand revenue climbed to A$361 million from A$353.5 million. . . 

Bobby calves: the game changers within NZ’s supply chain – Andrew Jolly:

Executive Summary:

There is significant potential for New Zealand to increase its ability to utilise more bobby calves therefore making them a more valued product. It is important that we have a sustainable, viable, ethical and PR friendly value chain. It is also important that NZ Inc. gets this right to maintain farmers/producers’ ‘social licence’ to farm and maintain our positive worldwide perception.

While difficult to calculate, it is estimated that more than $1 billion is on offer, if we can capture the full value of underutilised bobby calves. . . 

Become a political snowflake – voting’s a big responsibility – Joyce Wyllie:

Making two small marks on a paper is simple. Freely turning up at a polling booth to place ticks in a box is a big responsibility, an enormous privilege and not something we should ever take for granted.

Low voter turn out at elections amazes me. No snow flake blames itself for an avalanche, but every one of those beautiful uniquely created flakes contributes to the resulting winter scene. Just as every one of our precious individual votes contributes to the resulting political “landscape” .

My vote is always cast seriously after carefully considering party policies and electorate issues. I detest the influence so much media exerts by focussing on drama, negativity and rehashed irrelevant issues. . . 

Dispatch from NZ. No.1 covenants and the QE II Trust – Jonathan Baker:

There is a lot to say about my time in New Zealand but, I’m not yet sure or how to say it. So to start it off here is something relatively straightforward and interesting – the work of the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust (QE2 Trust).

The QE2 Trust was set up in 1977 by kiwi farmer, Gordon Stephenson and other farmers who were increasingly concerned that pro-production subsidies were destroying much of the remaining natural habitat of New Zealand. They saw that as bush was cleared and wetlands drained there were few options available to kiwi farmers and landowners who wanted to hold the tide back. . .


No need for new or higher taxes

August 24, 2017

The PREFU yesterday showed a bigger surplus and slightly softer growth than expected.

A slightly softer growth forecast is the main feature of largely unchanged Pre-election Fiscal Update compared to the Budget forecasts three months ago, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

“The softer growth New Zealand has experienced in the six months to March flows through to a lower starting point in the 2017/2018 year,” Mr Joyce says.

“The net effect is that growth is slightly lower through the forecast period – averaging 3.0 per cent over the next four years rather than the 3.1 per cent predicted in the Budget.

“The other notable change is that Treasury expects the labour market to be tighter over the next four years, with lower unemployment and stronger nominal and real wage growth.

“Treasury forecasts unemployment to drop to 4.3 per cent by June 2020 and for the average annual wage to increase from $58,900 at March 2017 to $65,700 by 2021, a $1300 per annum improvement on the Budget forecast.”

This is getting down to where only the unemployable – those who can’t or won’t work –  aren’t in work. If we don’t have enough locals willing and able to work we will need more migrants.

Other changes to the forecasts include:

A smaller balance of payments deficit across the forecast horizon
Lower CPI inflation, especially in the 2017/18 year
Net government debt falling below 20 per cent of GDP in the 2020/21 year. New Zealand Superannuation Fund contributions remain scheduled to resume in that year.
Most other elements of the forecast remain very similar to budget predictions, with nominal GDP, migration levels and budget surpluses largely unchanged, although the timing of budget surpluses has changed.

“The Budget surplus is expected to be $2.1 billion higher in the year just finished,” Mr Joyce says. “However Treasury expects the lower growth forecast to result in surpluses that are $1.8 billion lower over the next four years. The net effect is about even.

“The Government’s strong fiscal management means that New Zealand is one of the few OECD countries to be posting fiscal surpluses. This hard-won position is underpinning the Government’s strong economic plan which is delivering jobs and steady real wage growth for New Zealanders.”

Continuing surpluses mean there is no need for new or higher taxes.

The large infrastructure spend committed to in Budget 2017 means that residual cash remains broadly in balance until the 2019/20 financial year.

There is limited room for any additional expenditure beyond what is already proposed in these forecasts until the 2020 financial year when there is expected to be a $1.7 billion cash surplus. Anything significant in the meantime would involve more borrowing or raising additional tax revenues,” Mr Joyce says.

More borrowing would be irresponsible.

Natural and financial disasters in the last few years show the necessity for reducing debt when possible to provide headroom for more borrowing when it’s needed.

More or higher taxes would also be irresponsible, showing politicians have a higher regard for their own spending then the right or people to keep more of what they earn.

The PREFU forecasts include the following budget spending commitments:

• $7 billion in additional operating expenditure over four years in Budget 2017 which commenced on 1 July 2017.

• $1.7 billion per annum ($6.8 billion over four years) operating allowance to be allocated for Budget 2018, increasing by 2 per cent each subsequent budget.

• $32.5 billion in total capital infrastructure investment between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2021.

• $6.5 billion over four years ($2 billion per annum in out years) for the Government’s Family Incomes package commencing on 1 April 2018.

“Government annual operating expenditure in these forecasts increases from $77 billion to $90 billion over the next four years, which is sufficient for significant ongoing improvement in the provision of public services,” Mr Joyce says.

Careful management and a focus on the quality of spending rather than the quantity has given National the ability to pay for improved services while offering modest tax cuts.

Labour has been forced to say it won’t increase income tax but it wouldn’t deliver the tax cuts. That ignores the needs of middle income people who have moved into the 30% tax rate by bracket creep, effectively facing a tax increase when they earn a pay rise.

Labour and the other opposition parties are also considering new taxes with no plans to compensate with a decrease in existing taxes.

For three terms National has demonstrated that more spending isn’t the same as better spending, that better results can be achieved by more careful spending and that they understand every dollar a government spends is a dollar someone else has earned.

Everything Labour and other opposition parties say shows they would turn their back on that responsible approach and take New Zealand back to the bad old ways of tax and spend, tax and spend.


Quote of the day

August 24, 2017

So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. –  Jorges Luis Borges who was born on this day in 1899.

From the Poem You Learn.


August 24 in history

August 24, 2017

79   Mount Vesuvius erupted. The cities of PompeiiHerculaneum, andStabiae were buried in volcanic ash.

1198 King Alexander II of Scotland, was born (d. 1249).

1200  King John of England married Isabella of Angouleme in Bordeaux Cathedral.

1215  Pope Innocent III declared Magna Carta invalid.

1349 Six thousand Jews were killed in Mainz  after being blamed for thebubonic plague.

1391  Jews  massacred in Palma de Mallorca.

1456  The printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed.

1511 Afonso de Albuquerque of Portugal conquered Malacca, the capital of the Sultanate of Malacca.

1556  – Sophia Brahe, Danish horticulturalist and astronomer, was born (d. 1643).

1561 Willem of Orange married duchess Anna of Saxony.

1591 Robert Herrick, English poet, was born  (d. 1674).

1662 Act of Uniformity required England to accept the Book of Common Prayer.

1759 William Wilberforce, English abolitionist, was born (d. 1833).

1814  British troops invade Washington, D.C. and burned down the White House and several other buildings.

1815 The modern Constitution of the Netherlands was signed.

1821 The Treaty of Córdoba is signed Mexico, concluding the Mexican War of Independence.

1857  The Panic of 1857 began.

1870  The Wolseley Expedition reaches Manitoba to end the Red River Rebellion.

1875 Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel.

1878  The Governor, the Marquess of Normanby, formally openedWellington’s steam tram service, which was reportedly the first to operate in the Southern Hemisphere.

Wellington steam-tram service opened

1891  Thomas Edison patented the motion picture camera.

1898 – Count Muravyov, Foreign Minister of Russia presented a rescript that convoked the First Hague Peace Conference.

1899  Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine writer, was born (d. 1986).

1904 – Mary Burchell (Ida Cook), English activist and author, was born (d. 1986).

1924 Jimmy Gardner , British actor, was born (d. 2010).

1927 David Ireland, Australian author, was born.

1929 Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader, was born (d. 2004).

1929  Betty Dodson, American feminist and sex educator, was born.

1931 – Resignation of the United Kingdom’s Second Labour Government. Formation of the UK National Government.

1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).

1936 A. S. Byatt, English novelist, was born.

1936  The Australian Antarctic Territory was created.

1937  In the Spanish Civil War, the Basque Army surrendered to the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie following the Santoña Agreement.

1938  – David Freiberg, American bassist (Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jefferson Starship), was born.

1942 : The Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Japanese aircraft carrierRyūjōwas sunk and US carrier Enterprise heavily damaged.

1945 – Molly Duncan, Scottish saxophonist (Average White Band), was born.

1945  Ken Hensley, English musician (Uriah Heep), was born.

1949  The treaty creating NATO went into effect.

1950  Edith Sampson became the first black U.S. delegate to the UN.

1954  The Communist Control Act went into effect. The American Communist Party was outlawed.

1954 Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, president of Brazil, committed suicide and was succeeded by João Café Filho.

1963  The 200-metre freestyle was swum in less than 2 minutes for the first time by Don Schollander (1:58).

1967  A group of hippies led by Abbie Hoffman temporarily disrupted trading at the NYSE by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing a cease in trading as the brokers scramble to grab them up.

1991 Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1991  Ukraine declared itself independent from the Soviet Union.

1992 – Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida as a Category 5 Hurricane.

1995 Computer software developer Microsoft released their Windows 95operating system.

1998 – First RFID human implantation tested in the United Kingdom.

2000  Argon fluorohydride, the first Argon compound ever known, was discovered at the University of Helsinki by Finnish scientists.

2001 – Air Transat Flight 236 ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean and made an emergency landing in the Azores.

2004  89 passengers died when two airliners exploded after flying out of Domodedovo International Airport. The explosions were caused by suicide bombers.

2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” so that Pluto is considered a Dwarf Planet.

2010 – In San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, 72 illegal immigrants were killed by Los Zetas.

2014 – A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Napa, California, in the northern San Francisco Bay area, It was the largest earthquake to strike northern California since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

2016  – An earthquake struck Central Italy with a magnitude of 6.2, with aftershocks felt as far as Rome and Florence.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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