Word of the day

January 31, 2018

Erudite – characterised by, having or showing great knowledge or learning; earned or scholarly; possessing or displaying erudition.


Pat Booth OBE

January 31, 2018

Pat Booth, one of New Zealand’s great investigative journalists, has died.

Booth spent nearly 40 years at the now defunct Auckland Star, becoming editor, and is most renowned for his tireless work on the Arthur Allan Thomas miscarriage of justice case and the Mr Asia Crime syndicate.

The stories were scandalous and horrifying and were reported by Booth and a team of his reporters in a depth rarely achieved.

As part of the campaign for a pardon for Thomas, Booth wrote a book, Trial by Ambush. . . 

Booth’s eight-year crusade resulted in Thomas, wrongly jailed for double murder, receiving a full royal pardon.

Booth also helped reveal an international drug ring during the notorious Mr Asia investigations. He wrote a book on the international drug smuggling ring, The Mr Asia File: The Life and Death of Marty Johnstone. . . 

The Mr Asia File was compulsory reading at Canterbury University’s journalism school. The author was one whose example we were urged to emulate.

Journalism has lost a star and the loss will be even greater for his family and friends to whom I offer my sympathy.


Rural round-up

January 31, 2018

Southern farmers feel the heat as crops fail – Simon Hartley:

Rural Otago and Southland continues to bear the brunt of the heatwave and farmers are facing hard decisions on destocking and replanting failed winter feed crops.

A smattering of rain across the North Island and upper South Island was allowing farmers there to consider holding on to stock for further fattening.

But in Otago and Southland meat processors are working to capacity as stock is sold off, according to Federated Farmers Otago province president Phill Hunt of Wanaka.

“The pasture has taken a hiding, dying in places. That will have to be replaced over the next two years, at a significant cost,” he said when contacted yesterday. . .

Southern drought meeting requested with minister – Rachael Kelly:

Southland and Otago Rural Advisory groups have written to Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor requesting him to declare a drought for both provinces.

Sweltering temperatures and little rainfall have put pressure on farmers as dry conditions have reached levels not usually seen in January.

Both Southland and Otago have formed drought committees with rural stakeholders including Rural Support Trusts, Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, Fonterra, regional councils and MPI, and they are asking the Minister to declare a medium-scale adverse event classification.

Regions get drought  classification  – Sally Rae:

Drought in Southland and parts of Otago has been classified as a medium-scale adverse event following a request from drought committees and rural communities.

Yesterday, Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor announced the classification – already in place in parts of the North Island and the Grey and Buller districts – had been extended to all of Southland, plus the Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts.

That triggered additional funding of up to $130,000 for rural support trusts and industry groups to co-ordinate recovery support. . .

Two more farms found with Mycoplasma bovis in the South Island:

Mycoplasma bovis has been found on on two more farms, lifting the total number of infected properties from 18 to 20, the Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed.

One of the new farms is in the Waimate district and the other is in Gore, Southland.

M bovis causes illness in cattle including mastitis, abortion, pneumonia, and arthritis. This illness is hard to treat and clear from an animal. Once infected animals may carry and shed the bacterium for long periods of time with no obvious signs of illness.

There are 11 infected properties in South Canterbury (Waitaki and Waimate Districts), six in Southland, two in Mid-Canterbury and one in Hawke’s Bay. . . 

A straight talking farmer with an appetite for risk – John King:

“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it,” said late comedian Jonathan Winters.

North Cantabrian James Costello has a similar attitude farming sheep on 300ha of alluvial flats at Hawarden next to the Hurunui River.

His business remained profitable during three years of drought while many in his district did not.

James has a reputation for being an innovator and is active in the Hurunui/Waiau Water Zone committee and Landcare group. He knows you cannot be passive when faced with overwhelming odds. . .

The future of farming – Grant Leigh:

Younger generations are growing up surrounded by technology and the advancement of these technologies is ferocious.

Along with being frightening and daunting to most of us, it is also exciting, challenging and now more than ever necessary.

The biggest hurdle will not be the appetite for young farmers and supporting industries to do the job, it will be capital and viability. . . 

Federated Farmers’ Katie Milne opens up about the changing times – Michelle Hewitson:

After breaking a 118-year history of male leadership of Federated Farmers, Katie Milne wants to convince townies that rural folk are the same at heart.

When you take the head of Federated Farmers, Katie Milne, out for lunch, it’s redundant to ask if we’re going to eat meat.

“Ha! Yeah. You know what I saw on there,” she says, gesturing at the menu, “and wanted to have a go at and share? That crackling.” Have a go at! She’s a West Coast sheila through and through. I ordered the crackling. She had the beef and bacon burger and chips; I had black pudding and spuds. We were having a health lunch. “We are. We are,” she says. “It’s Friday. It’s a mental health day when you’re eating great stuff like this, isn’t it?” We cracked into the crackling. . . 

Soil health comes first then grass and livestock – Burke Teichert :

In recent columns, I’ve touched on the following topics:

• Empowered people, because everything in our businesses happens because of and through people – usually those closest to the business, land and livestock.

• Sustainability, because it’s such a buzz word and people outside of our business will have an impact, whether we like it or not. Also, ranchers don’t know all we should about the environment, particularly the ecosystem – its complexity and interconnectedness, and how it reacts to our management actions.

• Planning strategically first, and then developing tactics and operational schedules and methods to accomplish the strategic objectives. Too often, we do it backwards – starting with operations, then tactics, letting strategy be determined by default – with tactics defining our strategy. . . 

 


365 days of gratitude

January 31, 2018

It was 36 degrees when I drove into town this afternoon.

On the long list of things I didn’t want to do in that heat was cook dinner and I didn’t have to.

We went to Cucina with friends, where we’re always assured of delicious dinner.

Someone else did the cooking, did it superbly and I”m very grateful for that.


Empathy no substitute for effectiveness

January 31, 2018

The child poverty legislation introduced by Jacinda Ardern yesterday is long on intention and very short on substance:

The Government’s proposed child poverty legislation is predictably full of positive intentions but contains no substance to address the drivers of deprivation, National Party leader Bill English says.

“The Prime Minister has announced plans to introduce legislation that requires Ministers to report publicly on the number of children in poverty, to set targets, and to develop a strategy.

“National shares the Government’s goal of reducing child poverty. But you don’t need new legislation for any of this. In fact, the public service is already reporting publicly on the exact measures the Government is proposing.

Thanks to National’s economic stewardship, the Government has had the luxury of being able to allocate surplus cash to lift family incomes, picking up National’s Family Incomes package, with some additions.

“But what is much harder is changing the lives of our most vulnerable families trapped in deprivation by long term benefit dependence, low educational achievement and recidivist crime. Poverty isn’t just about lifting incomes.

The causes of poverty are complex and solving the problem takes a lot more than giving families more money.

Inexplicably, the Government last week announced it will abolish the Better Public Services targets we designed to tackle these issues, seemingly for no other reason than they were National’s initiatives.

“The targets we designed focused the public service on reducing benefit dependence, increasing educational achievement and reducing crime, to name just a few.

These measures addressed the causes rather than just treating symptoms.

“During our tenure we found the ability to eyeball the specific Minister or public servant responsible for delivering a particular target drove significant change. I’m enormously proud to say we reduced the number of children living in material hardship by 85,000 over the last five years by taking that approach.

“By getting rid of these targets, the Government has thrown away the very tools to attack these drivers of poverty.

“But the Government’s new proposals are so high level and general that they refer to no one in particular, and no one will be held responsible for any lack of progress.

“A plan that will really, truly tackle child poverty must address the drivers of social dysfunction and hold the public service accountable, not just rely on the Government’s good intentions.

“The National Party is committed to reducing child poverty, achieving tangible results and promoting evidence-based policies that actually work. . .

The Taxpayers’ Union says the Bill will deliver socialism rather than better lives for children:

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “Tying poverty measures to the median income is simply a target for socialism. It means that as long everyone is equally poor, Labour will have met their goal.” . . .

“The saddest thing about these proposals is they suggest Labour’s claimed concern for kids in hardship was fake all along. This is leftist ideology with no mention of economic growth, getting people of welfare, productivity, employment, and entrepreneurship.”

David Farrar pointed out that when she was in opposition Jacinda Ardern had two members bills, neither of which got anywhere for very good reason:

. . .Her first bill on adoption was a press release pretending to be a bill. It merely instructed the Law Commission to go write the real bill and have the Government introduce it. The bill was so bad even the Greens voted against it. It actually undermined the real work done cross party by Kevin Hague and Nikki Kaye who met with all the stakeholders, with law professors, adoption groups and wrote a detailed law reform bill.

Her latest bill is much the same. It is labelled the Child Poverty Reduction and Eradication Bill. It basically sets up a a Child Poverty Reduction Board! That’s it. It’s a sound bite not a serious law.

In no way do I think Jacinda doesn’t care about gay adoption and child poverty. She does. But the consistent pattern in her career has been that she prioritises empathy over effectiveness. . . 

With all the resources available now she’s Prime Minister, she ought to have done much better with the child poverty bill.

Instead it looks like she is continuing to prioritise empathy over effectiveness in government.

 

 


Quote of the day

January 31, 2018

Love of man for woman – love of woman for man. That’s the nature, the meaning, the best of life itself. – Zane Grey who was born on this day in 1872


January 31 in history

January 31, 2018

1606  Guy Fawkes was executed for his plotting against Parliament.

1673 Louis de Montfort, French catholic priest and saint, was born (d. 1716).

1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opened at London Lock Hospital.

1797 Franz Schubert, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1828).

1814 Gervasio Antonio de Posadas became Supreme Director of Argentina.

1849 Corn Laws were abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).

1862 Alvan Graham Clark discovered the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an eighteen inch telescope at Northwestern University.

1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee became general-in-chief.

1865  Henri Desgrange, Founder of the Tour-de-France, was born (d. 1940).

1872 Zane Grey, American Western writer, was born.(1939)

1876 The United States ordered all Native Americans to move into reservations.

1881  Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina was born  (d. 1931).

1884 Theodor Heuss, 1st President of Germany (Bundespräsident), was born (d. 1963).

1918 A series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night led to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships.

1919 The Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow.

1919  Jackie Robinson, American baseball player,  first black player in Major League Baseball, was born (d. 1972).

1921 New Zealand’s first regular air mail service began with a flight by the Canterbury Aviation Company from Christchurch to Ashburton and Timaru.

NZ’s first regular airmail service begins

1921 Carol Channing, American actress and singer, was born.

1921 Mario Lanza, American singer was born (d. 1959).

1923 Norman Mailer, American writer and journalist, was born  (d. 2007).

1929 The Soviet Union exiled Leon Trotsky.

1930 3M began marketing Scotch Tape.

1938 – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was born.

1943 German Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus surrendered to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of World War II’s fiercest battles.

1944 – Connie Booth, American-English actress and psychotherapist, was born.

1945 US Army private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion, the first such execution of a US soldier since the Civil War.

1946 Terry Kath, American musician (Chicago), was born (d. 1978).

1946 Yugoslavia‘s new constitution, modelling the Soviet Union, established six constituent republics (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).

1950 President Harry S. Truman announced a programme to develop the hydrogen bomb.

1951 Harry Wayne Casey, American singer and musician (KC and the Sunshine Band), was born.

1953 A North Sea flood caused over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands.

1956 John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, English singer (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd.), was born.

1958  Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.

1958  James Van Allen discovered the Van Allen radiation belt.

1960 – Željko Šturanović, Montenegrin politician, 31st Prime Minister of Montenegro, was born (d. 2014).

1961 Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travelled into outer space.

1966 The Soviet Union launched the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna programme.

1968 – Nauru became independent from Australia.

1971 Apollo 14 Mission – Astronauts Alan ShepardStuart Roosa, andEdgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lifted off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

1971 – The Winter Soldier Investigation, organised by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicise war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, began in Detroit.

1990 The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.

1996 An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.

2000 Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.

2001 In the Netherlands a Scottish court convicted a Libyan and acquitted another for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed into Lockerbie in 1988.

2003 The Waterfall rail accident near Waterfall, New South Wales.

2009 – At least 113 people were killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, Kenya.

2010 – Avatar became the first film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide.

2011 – A winter storm hit North America for the second time in the same month, causing $1.8 billion in damages across the United States and Canada and killing 24 people.

2013 – An explosion at the Pemex Executive Tower in Mexico City killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


365 days of gratitude

January 30, 2018

In the normal course of events I prefer water at ambient temperature rather than chilled.

But this week as temperatures climb to 30 degrees and beyond, I’m very grateful for chilled water that helps to cool from the inside out.


Word of the day

January 30, 2018

Blurp – a misfortune brought on by lack of foresight.


Rural round-up

January 30, 2018

Maui Milk develop world first in sheep milking genetics – Gerald Piddock:

A new crossbred sheep being developed for the ovine milking industry by Maui Milk is thought to be a world first for sheep genetics.

Called Southern Cross, it is a mix of east friesian, awassi and lacaune – all prominent Northern Hemisphere sheep milking breeds – and is built off a coopworth base.

Maui Milk general manager Peter Gatley​ said the breed would provide hybrid vigour and, over time, would hopefully become the sheep equivalent of the kiwicross cow, which was now the most popular choice of cow used in the dairy industry. . . 

From casual to full-time – hard work pays off for Southland farmer – Brittany Pickett:

Brooke Bryson always knew she wanted to be a farmer.

When an opportunity to work as a casual employee at AgResearch’s Woodlands Research Farm came up she joined the team and eight years later she’s running the show.

Bryson, 29, is the farm manager for the 240-hectare farm just outside the Woodlands township, which among other research is the home to the Woodlands Central Progeny Test and the genetically-linked Woodlands Coopworth Progeny Test facilities. “My family farms. All my family farms.” . . 

Study probes clothing and carpet choices and effects on our oceans:

As global concern grows about pollution of our oceans and effects on marine life and seafood, AgResearch is studying how different materials break down in the water to help keep consumers informed.

Studies indicate that microfibres (up to 5mm in size) are entering the oceans in large quantities – particularly from clothing and other materials in washing machines, where the tiny fibres can come loose and travel with the water into the drain, and ultimately to ocean outfalls. More evidence is also required for microfibres from interior textiles like carpets, bedding and other products that are cleaned less often. . . 

Fashion foods:

For the past 30 years orchardists Bill and Erica Lynch of Fashion Foods have been searching for the ‘missing link’ in their apple breeding program. Finally they have found the variety they’re looking for, and it has a sister!

While the past two decades have been spent passionately looking for an apple with the commercial appeal of Royal Gala but with the flavour profile of its ancestor Heritage Gala, Bill admits that they really only became orchardists by accident.

“Both Erica and I started our careers in the corporate world around Wellington and Taranaki but after having our three children we set our minds to pursuing sheep farming in the Nelson/Tasman region,” Bill said. “We found it difficult to secure an appropriate ‘pathway’ property so in 1979 we ended up purchasing an apple orchard with the intention to develop it and run breeding ewes. . . 

NAFTA is our lifeline – Terry Wanzek:

“NAFTA is a bad joke,” wrote President Trump last week on Twitter.

For me and countless other farmers, however, the possible death of NAFTA is no laughing matter.

Instead, NAFTA is our lifeline.

Here in rural North Dakota—in what we might call “Trump Country”—our livelihoods depend on our ability to sell what we grow to customers in Canada and Mexico.

So as the president’s trade diplomats continue their NAFTA negotiations in Montreal this week—in what the Wall Street Journal says “could be a make-or-break round of talks”—I hope they have a proper understanding of how much we count on this trade agreement. . . 

 

Bill Gates is funding genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – Alexandra Ma:

  • Bill Gates wants to create the perfect cow.
  • This cow would produce as much milk as a European cow but withstand heat as well as an African one.
  • He has invested $US40 million into a British nonprofit that researches animal vaccinations and genetics.

Bill Gates has funded genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – one that will produce more milk and be able to withstand temperatures beyond that of the average cow.

The Microsoft founder has invested $US40 million (£28 million) in the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, or GALVmed, a nonprofit organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that conducts research into livestock vaccinations and genetics, the BBC reported.

Gates wants to help create the perfect cow that will produce as much milk as a European cow but be able to withstand heat as well as an African cow, according to the Times newspaper. . . 


No corruption in NZ?

January 30, 2018

We were in Paraguay a few days before last election and the campaign came up in discussion with a local.

She listened to some of the policy pledges we described and said, “And you try to tell me there’s no corruption in New Zealand?”

In the past two weeks there have been two examples which would support her query.

The first was industrial legislation which is payback for union support of Labour.

Changes include the axing of the 90-day trial period for businesses with 20 or more employees and:

Employers will once again have a duty to conclude collective bargaining unless there is a “good reason” not to.

Prospective employees will be provided with information about unions in the workplace, and employers will have to pay union delegates for time spent reasonably representing other workers.

Collective agreements will be required to include pay rates or ranges for various levels of staff.

Unions will be able to access workplaces without gaining prior consent from an employer, but will still need to come at reasonable times and not unduly interrupt business continuity.

New employees will again be required to be employed under terms consistent with any collective agreement for the first 30 days of their tenure.

This will increase the cost and risk of employing staff which will threaten jobs, and businesses.

Unions make large donations of money and people-power to Labour and this is their reward for which workers and employers will pay the cost.

Then there’s the all-weather racing track.

Racing Minister Winston Peters announced the government’s intention to build the $10m track after several races throughout the country had to be abandoned due to weather.

The track could be in Waikato to boost the region and be closer to some of the breeders, with Mr Peters saying Waikato would be “a good option”. . . 

At least two of the race cancellations this summer were in Otago. An all-weather track in the Waikato will be of no use for these courses.

Mr Peters is also promising tax relief for owners who are breeding horses for racing. He says the current legislation, which he delivered last time he was Racing Minister, isn’t working like it should.

Act leader David Seymour points out:

Winston Peters’ promise of tax relief for the racing industry risks creating the perception of US-style corruption”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Mr Peters and NZ First have taken large donations from the racing industry in the past.

“For example, in 2008, the Dominion Post reported that a number of donations totalling at least $150,000 had been made to NZ First from accounts linked to the Vela family.

“This policy risks looking like a quid pro quo for the industry. . .

Lindsay Mitchell says:

. . .If tax breaks can make one industry stronger, then they can make any industry stronger.

Government picking winners is a recipe for corruption and injustice. We cannot expect New Zealanders who have not a skerrick of interest in the racing industry to disproportionately pay taxes to advance it.

Tax breaks are not subsidies if they are applied universally. Reduce tax period.

You are a guardian of public money Winston. Not a private investor. . . 

There’s no danger of policy which addresses specific problems, treats everyone equally or on the basis of need, and/or  helps the whole country being regarded as payback to donors.

But a direct link between donations and the legislation or taxpayer funded projects which reward donors as there is with the unions and Labour’s workplace law changes and past donations to New Zealand First and the assistance to the racing industry, at the very least gives grounds for the perception of corruption.

New Zealand has been at or near the top of global ranking for lack of corruption for years.

That means we’re better than most, and sometimes all, other countries.

It doesn’t mean there’s no corruption at all and it’s links between donations and policies like these which justify our Paraguayan friend’s query.


Quote of the day

January 30, 2018

At first, there is something you expect of life. Later, there is what life expects of you. By the time you realize these are the same, it can be too late for expectations. What we are being, not what we are to be. They are the same thingShirley Hazzard    who was born on this day in 1931.


January 30 in history

January 30, 2018

1018 – The Peace of Bautzen was signed between Poland and Germany.

1648 Eighty Years’ War: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück was signed, ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain.

1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded.

1661 Oliver Cromwell, was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.

1790  The first boat specializing as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne.

1806 The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), was opened.

1820 Edward Bransfield sighted the Trinity Peninsula and claimed the discovery of Antarctica.

1826 The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, opened.

1835 In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but failed and was subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen.

1841 A fire destroyed two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

1847 Yerba Buena, California was renamed San Francisco.

1858 The first Hallé concert was given in Manchester marking the official founding of the Hallé Orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

1862 The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.

1882  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, was born (d. 1945).

1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetserain Mayerling.

1911 An amendment to the Gaming Act at the end of 1910 banned bookmakers from racecourses in New Zealand. Bookies were officially farewelled at the now defunct Takapuna racecourse.

Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

1911 The destroyer USS Terry (DD-25) made the first airplane rescue at sea saving the life of James McCurdy 10 miles from Havana.

1911 – The Canadian Naval Service became the Royal Canadian Navy.

1913 The House of Lords rejected the Irish Home Rule Bill.

1925 The Government of Turkey threw Patriarch Constantine VI out of Istanbul.

1929 Lucille Teasdale-Corti, Canadian surgeon and international aid worker, was born (d. 1945).

1930 Gene Hackman, American actor, was born.

1930 – The Politburo of the Soviet Union ordered the extermination of the Kulaks.

1931 Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author, was born (d. 2016).

1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1937 Vanessa Redgrave, English actress, was born.

1941 – Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1945  World War II: The Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sunk in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, leading to the deadliest known maritime disaster, killing approximately 9,000 people.

1945  Raid at Cabanatuan: 126 American Rangers and Filipino resistance liberated 500 prisoners from the Cabanatuan POW camp.

1947 Steve Marriott, English musician (Humble Pie, The Small Faces), was born  (d. 1991).

1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.

1951 Phil Collins, English musician, was born.

1956 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s home was bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1960 The African National Party was founded in Chad through the merger of traditionalist parties.

1960 Lily Potter, (fictional character) Mother of Harry J. Potter and Member of The Order of the Phoenix, was born.

1962 King Abdullah II of Jordan, was born.

1964  Ranger 6 was launched.

1968 Prince Felipe of Spain, was born.

1969 The Beatles‘ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

1971 Carole King’s Tapestry album was released, it became the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sold 24 million copies worldwide.

1972 Bloody Sunday: British Paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civil rights/anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.

1972 Pakistan withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

1979 Varig 707-323C freighter,  disappeared over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

1982 Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code, which was 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot programme called “Elk Cloner”.

1989 The American embassy in Kabul, closed.

1994 Péter Lékó became the youngest chess grand master.

1995 Workers from the National Institutes of Health announced the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.

1996 Gino Gallagher, the suspected leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, was killed while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit.

1996 – Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.

2000 Off the coast of Ivory Coast, Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed into the Atlantic  killing 169.

2003 – The Kingdom of Belgium officially recognised same-sex marriages.

2013 – Naro-1 became the first carrier rocket launched by South Korea.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


365 days of gratitude

January 29, 2018

My farmer and I did a road trip to Waipukurau and back last week.

We enjoyed the scenery, appreciated the work which went in to reopening the road that had been closed by the 2016 earthquakes, and called on friends.

We had a wonderful time and returned home safe and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

January 29, 2018

Betwattled – surprised; addled, befuddled, bewildered, confused; confounded; to be in a distressed state of mind; foggy-headed; too sleepy to think straight; drunk.

Thanks to the reader who pointed me at this on Twitter.


Rural round-up

January 29, 2018

Raising profile of farm careers – Sally Rae:

Brought up in a Southland farming family, Olivia Ross grew up living and breathing  the red meat sector.

From raising pet lambs to seeing processing chains process the property’s lambs each year, her exposure to the industry was unlimited.

After leaving Takitimu Primary School in the rural township of Nightcaps, she headed to boarding school in Invercargill and that was when her association with, and understanding of, the urban population began. . . 

Strong sales show venison, velvet booming:

Confidence in the future profitability of venison and velvet production has flowed through to the market for sire stags, with strong sales reported throughout the country, Deer Industry New Zealand says.

Breeders reported a marked improvement on last year’s results. Although no stags broke the $100,000 mark, average prices were up strongly for most sales, several by more than 50%. The overall clearance rate was  94%, compared with 83% last year.

Venison schedule prices to farmers normally peak  each year in October before the last chilled shipments leave for Europe for the annual game meat season. This season, prices  continued to rise into January, with the published average now around a record $10.30kg for a carcass in the preferred weight range, DINZ chief executive Dan Coup said. . . 

Better dialogue needed to help bridge divide with farming’s critics – Andrew McGivern:

The weather certainly plays on people’s minds in different ways at this time of year.

Those planning a holiday at the beach naturally have a different perspective to those estimating pasture growth to determine if there will be a feed surplus or deficit for their animals.

Until last year, I would have never said that you can’t get too much rain over that late summer/early autumn period, but the Tasman Tempest closely followed by two cyclones made a liar out of me.

And with the early hot and dry start to summer we had in December, the immediate future for farmers in the Waikato was looking bleak. But we had that rain in early January and have now had a bit of a follow up, so once again the grass is growing, and things are starting to look up.

The decline in milk production has stirred the overseas markets up with GlobalDairyTrade prices improving. That also buoys farmers’ morale, knowing that it is strengthening the milk price. . . 

Synlait’s 2017 / 2018 Forecast Milk Price Remains Steady at $6.50:

Synlait Milk has reaffirmed its milk price forecast of $6.50 kgMS for the 2017 / 2018 season.

However the company has signalled that this forecast is dependent on commodity prices continuing to firm for the rest of the season.

“Our price of $6.50 kgMS has remained in place since May 2017, but global pricing remains unpredictable,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO. . . 

No regrets after going robotic – Mark Daniel:

While robotic (voluntary) milking systems appear to be gaining in popularity, the Fisher Farm, between Cambridge and Te Awamutu, has a head start on today’s converts.

Now well into its sixth season, the operation milks 300 cows over 80ha, and lays claim to the title of being the first farm in Waikato to install a DeLaval VMS.

When owner John Fisher first looked at the concept, the farm had a traditional herringbone milking shed without a feed pad, and was operated by two full-time staff and a relief milker.  . . 

 

Booming horticulture exports forecast to soon rise to $5.6b – Jamie Gray:

Horticulture is fast becoming agriculture’s “fourth engine” and will soon rival the meat industry in export receipts, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries, in its latest update, said horticulture’s strong growth is forecast to continue, with exports expected to reach $5.4 billion for the year ending June before rising to $5.6b in the next year.

Meat and wool export revenue is forecast to increase 4.2 per cent to $8.7b in the year, supported by strong red meat prices and increasing exports of value-added products, then to $8.8b the following year. . . 

Hort’s performance worth watching as avocados smash records – Andrew Marshall:

Supercharged activity in several horticulture categories in recent years has prompted Rural Bank to tag the sector as one to watch closely in 2018.

In particular, a couple of notable movers smashing records in domestic and export markets are avocados and oranges.

In the vegetable industry, crops with increasing export market traction and likely price growth in the year ahead include asparagus, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, according to Rural Bank’s Ag Answers research team. . . 


Alas there are rules

January 29, 2018

Another quote of the day:

Let me start this by saying that I love Central Otago as much as anyone, and that, if I could, I would employ someone with a high powered slug gun and a decent scope to take aim at the bare backside of anyone seen defecating in the open and I would put people who dump litter in our beautiful places in public stocks. Alas, there are rules against such things. . . Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan.


Basics before bright lights

January 29, 2018

The Auckland Harbour Bridge has became a multimedia stage for a massive light and sound show:

Ninety thousand LED lights and 100 floodlights beamed and flashed from the Harbour Bridge in time with original music, delighting thousands who packed viewing points around the city to watch.

Every visible beam, arch, pile, girder, strut and pylon lit up for a six-minute show which was repeated at 9.30pm, then every half hour until midnight. . . 

Vector has committed $10 million to the project for installation and maintenance costs over the next 10 years.

Bridge authorities New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council have also committed funding. . . 

The show may well be spectacular but if I was a ratepayer I’d be asking why the council was spending money on bright lights when it’s basic infrastructure is failing:

Four homes have been evacuated in the Auckland suburb of Milford after a burst sewage pipe spilt waste through local properties.

A fire service spokeswoman said they were called to the scene on Shakespeare Rd at 2.40am on Sunday after receiving reports of a water leak.

Upon arrival, the water leak was found to be a burst sewage pipe and Auckland Council was notified. . . 

Safeswim has issued a long-term no-swimming warning near the Wairau Creek outlet due to its “high risk” and has further advised people not to swim on Milford Beach. . . 

There is constant bad publicity about the impact of dairy farming on rivers in spite of the fact that farmers have collectively spent millions of dollars ensuring they are not polluting watersway and most problems now are due to the lag-effect from poor practices in the past.

Farmers have responded to the pressure to clean up their acts but councils are being far too slow to sort out urban water issues.

Queenstown Lakes District Council has been fined $37,500 for discharging raw sewage into the protected Kawarau River and criticised for systems that allowed it to happen.

The judge’s written decision said the Queenstown Lakes District Council pleaded guilty to discharging contaminants to land that then entered water.

It said a jetboat driver on the Kawarau River, near Frankton, smelt the sewage on February 20, 2017.

He smelt it again the next day, investigated and found discoloured water entering the river.

“There were solids and paper particles floating in the water,” the judge said.

The material was found to be entering the river through a blocked district council stormwater drain.

“It appears that the wastewater system had been deliberately designed and constructed by the district council so that any overflow of wastewater would go into the stormwater system,” Judge Dwyer said. . . 

It would be better for councils to spend money on the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure than fines for breaches.

That is a far higher priority than light and sound shows.


Quote of the day

January 29, 2018

When you’re thirsty and it seems that you could drink the entire ocean that’s faith; when you start to drink and finish only a glass or two that’s science. – Anton Chekhov who was born on this day in 1860.


January 29 in history

January 29, 2018

661 – The Rashidun Caliphate ended with the death of Ali.

757 – An Lushan, leader of a revolt against the Tang dynasty and emperor of Yan, was murdered by his own son, An Qingxu.

904 – Sergius III came out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.

1676 – Feodor III became Tsar of Russia.

1814 – France defeated Russia and Prussia in the Battle of Brienne.

1834– US President Andrew Jackson ordered first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labour dispute.

1842 Auckland’s first Anniversary Day regatta was held.

Auckland's first Anniversary Day Regatta

1845 “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe  was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.

1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian writer, was born (d. 1904).

1863 Bear River Massacre.

1874 John D. Rockefeller Jr., American entrepreneur, was born (d. 1960).

1880 W.C. Fields, American actor and writer was born  (d. 1946).

1886 Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

1916  Paris was first bombed by German zeppelins.

1939 Germaine Greer, Australian writer and feminist, was born.

1940 Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka collided and exploded while approaching Ajikawaguchi station. 181 people were killed.

1944  USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy was launched.

1944 Approximately 38 men, women, and children died in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 In Bologna the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio was destroyed in an air-raid.

1945 Tom Selleck, American actor, screenwriter and film producer, was born.

1949 Tommy Ramone, Hungarian-born musician and record producer (The Ramones), was born.

1954  Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and actress, was born.

1996 President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

1996 – La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, was destroyed by fire.

2001 Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 In his State of the Union Address, United States President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil.

2005 The first direct commercial flights from the mainland China(from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines carrier landed in Beijing.

2006 – India’s Irfan Pathan became the first bowler to take a Test cricket hat-trick in the opening over of a match.

2009 – The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt ruled that people who do not adhere to one of the three government-recognised religions, while not allowed to list any belief outside of those three, were still eligible to receive government identity documents.

2009 – Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was convicted of several corruption charges, including the alleged solicitation of personal benefit in exchange for an appointment to the United States Senate as a replacement for then-U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

2013  – SCAT Airlines Flight 760 crashed near the Kazakh city of Almaty, killing 21 people.

2015 – Malaysia officially declared the disappearance of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident and its passengers and crew presumed dead.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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