Word of the day

December 12, 2017

Schmick – excellent; elegant; smart; stylish.


How much?

December 12, 2017

Conversations today all began with how much did you get?

We were talking about welcome rain and answers varied from 10mls at Enfield through 15mls at Five Forks, Kakanui and Hakataramea to 23mls at Waianakarua.

The longest dry spell in Christchurch 46 days –  is forecast to end which might be causing a little discombobulation.


Rural round-up

December 12, 2017

Family focussed on top quality – Sally Rae:

Think of the Armidale farming operation in the Maniototo and the word “quality”  springs to mind.

It is a family operation in every sense of the word and the Paterson family is justifiably proud of what they have achieved. Young Hugo (5) and Bede (3) Paterson — already keen  farmers — are  the sixth generation on the Gimmerburn property.

Last week, the Paterson family hosted a field day, as winners of the New Zealand ewe hogget competition, an accolade adding to their  considerable list of accomplishments.Armidale is farmed by Allan and Eris Paterson in partnership with their son Simon and his wife Sarah.

The family has had a presence at Armidale since the early 1880s, when a small block of land was first drawn. . . 

From Mediterranean to Maniototo farm – Sally Rae:

For the 26 years that Janine Smith lived in Greece, she always knew she would one day return home to the Maniototo — she just did not know how or when it would happen.

Managing a sailing company was a serious job that came with a lot of responsibility and, for her to leave it, it had to be ‘‘a monstrous change’’.‘‘It had to be a big contrast for me to leave Greece behind and embrace New Zealand. It had to be a steep learning curve and something I could really get hold of. So far, so good,’’ she said.

Last December, she and  partner Simon Norwick made that monumental change and traded life in the Mediterranean for farming in the Maniototo.‘‘I grew up on a farm and I’m starting from the beginning,’’ the 50-year-old said. Ms Smith, who has taken over her father Ian’s Romney and Dorset Down sheep studs, had considerable success at last month’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch, winning supreme champion Romney and champion strong-woolled sheep with a Romney ram hogget. . . 

Old wool knocks prices back – Alan Williams:

Prices disappointed again at the Napier and Christchurch wool sales last Thursday.

There was strong interest in 27 to 29 micron fine lambs’ wool at Napier and other new-season lambs’ wool was also in good demand but otherwise the market was back on the previous sale, PGG Wrightson North Island auctioneer Steve Fussell said.

There were 17,000 bales split between the two venues, with 11,000 in Napier, of which 14% were passed in, not meeting the vendor reserve. The smaller Christchurch offering had a 25% pass-in rate but some second shear crossbred wools were sold higher.

The volumes included more wool from last season coming out of storage as growers decided to try to cash in on it but the clearance rate was not as good as other recent sales. . . 

Spring sheep NZ bringing sheep milk to the masses:

Spring Sheep New Zealand, a joint venture between Landcorp & a boutique food marketing company, aims to produce & market the very best sheep milk in the world.

Spring Sheep New Zealand chief operating officer Nick Hammond joins Rural Exchange about the journey of the company from its inception.

“We are fantastic at dairy. We are fantastic at sheep,” he says. “But we have no sheep milking industry.”

That’s exactly what Spring Sheep NZ aims to address, with co-funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries. . . 

Vegans are the new vegetarians – Amy Williams:

Veganism is no longer just the domain of animal rights activists and hippies but everyday people concerned about their health, animal welfare and the environment.

There’s no doubt plant-based eating is becoming more mainstream – just look at Instagram and the big money being injected into lab-made meat.

Let’s be clear, I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian but a term exists for people jlike me. We’re reducetarians.

We aspire to eat less meat and for me it’s mainly for health and environmental reasons.

I like to eat good quality meat, knowing its provenance. . . 

 

Image may contain: cloud, sky, text, outdoor and nature

“I plant GM crops so I can spray more pesticide, destroy the environment and poison my friends, family and neighbours” said no farmer ever, in the history of farming.

Sweet success in manuka honey – Peter Burke:

Manuka honey could long term earn more money for a central North Island Maori trust than its sheep and beef farming operation.

Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, whose large land holdings range from the central North Island to the Whanganui River, is planting manuka on steep country largely unsuitable, or less productive, for sheep and beef.

Chief executive Andrew Beijeman says they are also letting land, which is naturally reverting back to manuka. . . 


How much to change whole Ministry?

December 12, 2017

The Taxpayers’ Union says government name calling doesn’t help vulnerable kids.

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Government for wasting $418,000 of taxpayers’ money, meant to help the country’s most vulnerable kids, on a ‘rebranding’ of the Ministry of Vulnerable Children to Oranga Tamariki.

“This is a shameful waste of money and precisely the sort of Wellington nonsense which gets up the nose of taxpayers,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.

“No one resents paying taxes to help those most in need, but wasting nearly half a million dollars of money earmarked for helping vulnerable kids on marketing experts, logo designers, and sign writers, is disgraceful.”

Changing the name might widen the scope of the Ministry. If it does it will take the focus off those who need help.

If it doesn’t then it’s a name change for change’s sake and an expensive one at that.

If it costs $480,000 to change the name, It will be eye-wateringly more to change not just the name of the Ministry for Primary Industries but create, set up and staff the separate ministries which will replace it.

It’s little wonder the Minister, Damien O’Connor, is refusing to disclose just how much it will cost.


Let’s not need bread deciders

December 12, 2017

Eric Crampton writes on why clean GST is better:

. . . Just imagine the conversations the bread deciders might have at cocktail parties.

“Oh, what do you do for a living?”
“Well, I’m a bread decider.”
“A what?”
“A bread decider. I decide whether or not things are bread.”
“But doesn’t everybody know what’s bread and what isn’t?”
“Ah, but think about a mini ciabatta, which is an interesting borderline case.”
“But why would anybody care?”
“Well, taxes …”
“And you’ve not shot yourself yet?”
“Well, I also have a side-gig as a pizza decider …”

We do not know how lucky we are in New Zealand. We have no need of bread-deciders. So far. . .

Anyone who thinks complicating New Zealand’s GST is a good idea should think again.

New Zealand’s GST is uniquely, and admirably, clean. It applies broadly. Every producer has an incentive to report honestly because they also report the GST they paid to their suppliers on every item when claiming GST on their inputs.

That’s a very important point, keeping the system simple incentivises honesty.

Were New Zealand to exempt healthy foods from GST, we would well be on the slippery slope. It is one of those things that sounds really easy, but would be an utter disaster in practice.

What counts as healthy? Not only does the medical evidence keep changing, but there would also be a string of boundary cases needing adjudication. If beans are healthy, what about frozen beans? Beans in a can? Beans in a can with pork fat and sauce? How much pork fat and sauce before it is taxable? What if we use Jamie Oliver’s recipe and fly him in to say it’s good?

Even worse, think through the consequences of tax exemption.

Under the current beautiful broad-base, low-rate system, companies gather all their receipts for everything they purchased when making things and claim the GST on them. They then charge GST on the full value of their final product. Their net GST is on the value they added to their inputs along the way, since they netted out the GST from the inputs. Nice, clean and easy.

If some goods were exempt from GST, we would have problems. Imagine you were a food manufacturer making two products. One attracts GST and one does not. It is possible to charge GST on one product and not the other, but all the point-of-sale terminals would need to be reprogrammed – feasible but expensive. But how do you start thinking about claiming the GST on your inputs if you are selling an exempt product. You will need to justify how you apportion all your plant’s shared costs across the different product lines. And Internal Revenue would worry you were loading costs onto the taxable line to claim GST where you shouldn’t. The auditors would be kept busy.

And an industry would quickly emerge to make everything seem easier – and to prevent it all from ever really being easier. The political case for exemptions is dangerously tantalising. And when you’ve granted one, it is almost impossible to resist granting others. . . 

A little exemption is like a little bit pregnant, it doesn’t stop there. You become more pregnant then you have a baby and the baby grows  . . .

Any exemptions to taxes add complications which add compliance costs and incentives for avoidance all of which is a handbrake on productivity.

Let’s not get on the slippery slope to bread deciders and beyond.

Simple taxes are better taxes.

New Zealand GST is simple and it should stay that way.


Quote of the day

December 12, 2017

Stupidity is something unshakable; nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it; it is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant. –  Gustave Flaubert who was born on this day in 1821.


December 12 in history

December 12, 2017

627 Battle of Nineveh: A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeated Emperor Khosrau II‘s Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh.

1769 French explorer Jean François Marie de Surville  first sighted New Zealand near Hokianga.

De Surville first sights NZ near Hokianga

1779 Madeleine Sophie Barat, French saint was born (d. 1865).

1805  Henry Wells, Founder of American Express, was born (d. 1878).

1812 The French invasion of Russia ended.

1821 Gustave Flaubert, French writer, was born  (d. 1880).

1862 USS Cairo sank on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.

1863  Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter, was born (d. 1944).

1893 Edward G. Robinson, American actor, was born  (d. 1973).

1870  Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black U.S. congressman.

1881 – Harry Warner, Polish-American businessman, co-founded Warner Bros. was born (d. 1958).

1900 Sammy Davis, Sr., American dancer, was born (d. 1988).

1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland.

1911 – Boun Oum, Laotian politician, 5th Prime Minister of Laos, was born(d. 1980).

1911 Delhi replaced Calcutta as the capital of India.

1915  Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor, was born (d. 1998).

1927  Robert Noyce, American inventor of the microchip, was born (d. 1990) .

1929 John Osborne, English dramatist, was born (d. 1994).

1935  Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction programme, was founded by Heinrich Himmler.

1936  Xi’an Incident: The Generalissimo of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek was kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang.

1937 – Michael Jeffery, Australian general and politician, 24th Governor-General of Australia, was born.

1938  Connie Francis, American singer, was born .

1940 – Dionne Warwick, American singer, was born.

1941  Adolf Hitler announced the extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery.

1948 Batang Kali Massacre – 14 members of the Scots Guards stationed in Malaysia allegedly massacred 24 unarmed civilians and set fire to the village.

1949 – Bill Nighy, English actor, was born.

1950  Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, led the congregation in her first services.

1956 Irish Republican Army‘s “Border Campaign” began.

1961 The first Golden Kiwi draw took place.

First Golden Kiwi lottery draw

1963 Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1964 Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.

1965 Will Carling, English rugby union footballer, was born.

1969 – Sophie Kinsella, English author and educator, was born.

1979  Rhodesia changed its name to Zimbabwe.

1982 Women’s peace protest at Greenham Common – 30,000 women held hands and formed a human chain around the 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) perimeter fence.

1985 Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashed after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland killing 256, including 248 members of the United States Army‘s 101st Airborne Division.

1988 The Clapham Junction rail crash killed thirty-five and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains.

1991  Russian Federation gained independence from the USSR.

2000 – The United States Supreme Court released its decision in Bush v. Gore.

2006 Peugeot produced its last car at the Ryton Plant signalling the end of mass car production in Coventry, formerly a major centre of the British motor industry.

2012 – North Korea successfully launched its first satellite,Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using a Unha-3 carrier rocket.

2012 – 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief took place at Madison Square Garden and was broadcast on 20 international television networks to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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