365 days of gratitude

March 27, 2018

At JP training tonight the discussion about payment of service came up.

JPs are not permitted to take payment (except when asked by a returning Officer to assist with an election process).

Community service, by JPs and many other people whether in official roles or not,  is voluntary and unpaid and I’m grateful that there are still plenty of people willing and able to do it.

 

 


Word of the day

March 27, 2018

Cludgie – lavatory, loo, toilet.


Rural round-up

March 27, 2018

MPI cattle cull “the right thing” – Jono Edwards:

The  farming industry is viewing a Mycoplasma bovis cull of more than 22,000 cattle as a tragic necessity.

The Ministry for Primary Industries announced yesterday it would begin a cull of 22,332 cattle today on all infected sites after scientific testing and tracing confirmed the disease was not endemic.

It was working immediately with farmers to kill the stock on the 22 active infected properties which still contained cattle, it said.

The disease can cause pneumonia, abortions, lameness and mastitis and can result in the deaths of infected cows. . . 

Sheep goes for $8k at first NZ auction of Beltex ram lambs – Maja Burry:

About 300 people attended the first ever sale of Beltex ram lambs in New Zealand on Friday.

The Beltex, whose name combines Belgium and Texel, are a breed of muscle heavy sheep that have higher meat yield.

Beltex breeder Blair Gallagher said the interest around the inaugural sale, which was held at his mid-Canterbury farm was very positive.

On offer was 16 purebred Beltexes, 20 Beltex-Poll Dorsets, 18 Beltex-Suffolks and 10 Beltex Perendales. . .

Farmers given food for thought – Sally Rae:

Hakataramea Valley farmers have been given some food for thought with the suggestion they could market their products directly to consumers.

The idea was raised by Prof Keith Woodford during a field day at Waikora Station last week organised by the Hakataramea Sustainability Collective.

The collective, set up in 2016, comprises a group of farmers whose aim is to assist and encourage the protection and enhancement of the valley’s environment and promote profitable and sustainable farming practices for future generations. It has been working closely with the New Zealand Landcare Trust, Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation, Fish and Game, local iwi and the Waimate District Council to ensure a collaborative and cohesive approach. . . 

Thermal imaging reveal Tekapo pests predator – Kathy Guthrie:

When Sam Staley went to the Defence Force’s Tekapo Military Training Area back in 1996 to run the Military Camp and Training Area for a three year stint, one of the tasks at the time was pest control. Today, 22 years later, he’s still there, and so are some of the rabbits, but after two decades of the comprehensive rabbit control operation which Sam initiated, the rabbits are nothing like the problem they used to be on the 19,000 hectare military site.

“The training area is unique,” Sam says. “It’s a very special bit of dirt! It’s probably the most intensively managed, non-grazed piece of high country land in Canterbury. It includes unique and nationally threatened plants and native fauna like alpine weta, rare butterflies and moths and many endangered vertebrates such as the Mackenzie Basin skink.” . . 

Robots are trying to pick strawberries. So far they’re not very good at it – Dan Charles:

Robots have taken over many of America’s factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

“You kind of learn, when you get into this — it’s really hard to match what humans can do,” says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)

Any 4-year old can pick a strawberry, but machines, for all their artificial intelligence, can’t seem to figure it out. Pitzer says the hardest thing for them is just finding the fruit. The berries hide behind leaves in unpredictable places. . . 

Dairy farmers plea for help after Dean Foods ends milk contracts –  Sarah Gisriel:

Sixteen percent of the nation’s dairy farms are in Pennsylvania, but that industry is in crisis.

Two weeks ago, life changed for 26 farmers in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

“I went to the mail, and in it was a certified letter from Dean Foods,” said Alisha Risser, the owner and operator of an 80-cow farm.

The letter told farmers that Dean Foods was ending its contract by June 1, due to a market surplus of milk.

“It’s the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to do in our lifetimes. To get that notice, and your world is absolutely rocked,” said Kirby Horst, of Lynncrest Holsteins. . . 


Cull all cattle on M bovis farms – MPI

March 27, 2018

The Ministry of Primary Industries has called for all cattle on properties infected with the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis to be culled.

“The depopulation of entire herds on all 28 Infected Properties (IPs) in New Zealand is a critical measure to control the spread of the disease and we will be working closely with those farmers to plan how this will happen,” says MPI’s response director Geoff Gwyn.

“This will be a big job and won’t happen overnight, but we’ll be meeting with the affected farmers in the coming days to discuss the operation, develop the plans and talk through compensation.”

All IP farmers will be compensated for their verifiable losses. MPI continues to build its compensation team to make sure farmers are compensated as quickly as possible. Once farms are de-populated and cleaned, these farmers can start re-building a disease-free herd from scratch.

“We understand this has been an incredibly difficult time for farmers while they wait for critical decisions to be made about managing and controlling this disease,” says Mr Gwyn.

“This cull will give those farmers back some certainty and control over the future of their farms, their animals and their livelihoods.

“We are able to take this decision now because we are confident Mycoplasma bovis is not well established in New Zealand.

“The testing of milk from every dairy farm in New Zealand is very well advanced and to date has only identified one new infected property.

“This, combined with MPI’s extensive surveillance work tracing every possible movement of animals from infected farms, gives us the confidence to say the disease is not widespread, but is limited to a network of farms connected by animal movements. Culling these animals is now the appropriate action.”

Non-infected farms that are under Restricted Places Notices (RPN) or Notices of Direction (NoDs) are not being asked to cull their herds at this point because infection has not yet been confirmed on those properties. Confirmation relies on the defining genetic test which provides complete confidence that animals on a farm are positive.

Mr Gwyn says MPI will work with farmers to develop individual management plans for each of these properties – until a decision on whether to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis or move to long-term management is made.

“We all want to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis – but it has to be technically possible, practically achievable and affordable for everyone.  Our focus is on the resilience of our dairy and beef industries which are such significant contributors to our economy, and on farmer well-being and the welfare of animals.

“Whatever option is taken, we will need to see some big changes in on-farm biosecurity and NAIT compliance. There remains a big job to do around this disease, and there is no quick exit from this situation.”

Some farmers have been very slack about record keeping. One reason for that is problems with the NAIT system.

Both the system and compliance must improve.

Mycoplasma bovis only affects cattle, it is not harmful to other animals or humans. Up to date, and 100% correct, record keeping is essential for tracing stock if, or when, there is another outbreak of this or any other disease – many of which would have more serious consequences for animal health, farmers and the economy than M. bovis.

While MPI with industry partners will continue to focus on surveillance and tracking the spread of the disease, there is critical work being done to model the potential spread of Mycoplasma bovis under different scenarios and in understanding the costs and benefits of decisions around eradication.

“People will say ‘why haven’t you done this already’.  In fact we have been working on this since the disease was detected and we depopulated 7 farms in December.  We halted further culling until we better understood the spread of the disease. We are now at that point where we have that understanding and can complete this work with confidence,” says Mr Gwyn.

“We now believe the disease is not endemic and we can complete this analysis and planning, but we will take care and time to get it right because decisions about the future management of this disease are too important to rush.”

The Ministry says cattle on 28 properties have been actively identified as having the disease,  22 have cattle remaining on them that will need to be culled.

This will be a huge and expensive undertaking but it is the only way there will be any chance of eradicating the disease.

The cull will be devastating for the affected farmers who will have spent years building up their herds but it has to be done and they must be properly compensated for the loss of their stock and income.

 


Who do you believe?

March 27, 2018

National MP Mark Mitchell says New Zealand First has been trying to buy National MPs’ silence.

Labour’s coalition partner NZ First has threatened to withhold regional development funding for an important economic development project in Rodney unless local National MP Mark Mitchell ends his advocacy for it and stops criticising NZ First ministers.

In an extraordinary request over the weekend, NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft – who said she was under instruction from a Minister – also requested that National pledge to not ask Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones questions about the project, should it go ahead.

“Ms Marcroft said she had been sent to tell me that the Mahurangi River Restoration Project would be considered for funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, but for that to happen I would have to end my involvement with it as a local MP.

“Ms Marcroft told me this was because the Government was unhappy with me revealing the illegitimate use of Defence Force aircraft by Defence Minister Ron Mark.

“She also said if I ended my involvement and the money was granted, that they did not want National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith asking Shane Jones questions about it in Parliament.

“Finally, she implied my work as an Opposition MP would be a factor in funding any projects in my electorate I was involved in.

“I immediately told Ms Marcroft this behaviour was unacceptable, and that she had been put in a very compromised position by her colleague. She refused to name them so I said she had two hours to have the Minister call me before I took the matter further.

“She sent a text message an hour later asking me to forget the conversation.

“But this is rotten politics. It goes to the core of our democratic processes and the National Party will not let such behaviour stand.

“This billion dollar Provincial Growth Fund is taxpayer money and should be used to benefit New Zealanders, not buy an easy ride for the Government nor to try and convince local MPs to stop supporting local projects, because they have annoyed the Government.

“The Prime Minister needs to find out which of her Ministers is attempting to use public money for political gain and she needs to quickly explain what she intends to do about it.”

That’s one side of the story.

Here’s the other:

New Zealand First MP Jenny Marcroft was instructed to apologise to the National Party, after being accused of threatening to use taxpayer cash for political gain.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said National MP Mark Mitchell had misunderstood Ms Marcroft in a conversation which “got out of hand” over the weekend.

And Mr Peters rejected claims Ms Marcroft was following the instructions of any NZ First ministers.

“New Zealand First does not seek to constrain opposition MPs from criticism of the government,” he said.

This from the man who has so little trust in his own MPs that he sought to constrain them by making the waka-jumping bill part of the coalition agreement.

But Mr Mitchell told RNZ he did not believe that “for one minute” and denied ever receiving an apology.

“I have not received any apology from Jenny or from anyone from New Zealand First at all. All I’ve received is a text message saying please disregard our conservation.”

Who do you believe?

It’s a local MP’s job to advocate for his constituents and projects that would benefit them.

It sounds like Mitchell has been doing his job too well for the comfort of the government.

 

 


Quote of the day

March 27, 2018

 Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble. – Sir Henry Royce who was born on this day in 1863.


March 27 in history

March 27, 2018

196 BC  Ptolemy V ascended to the throne of Egypt.

1306 Robert The Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone.

1309  Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice and all its population.

1329  Pope John XXII issued his In Agro Dominico condemning some writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical.

1613  The first English child born in Canada at Cuper’s Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy.

1625  Charles I became King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as claiming the title King of France.

1724 – Jane Colden, American botanist and author, was born (d. 1766).

1734 – Lady Diana Beauclerk, English painter and illustrator (d. 1808)

1745 – Lindley Murray, American-English Quaker and grammarian (d. 1826)

1782 Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1794 The United States Government established a permanent navy and authorized the building of six frigates.

1794 Denmark and Sweden formed a neutrality compact.

1814 War of 1812: Forces under General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

1814 – Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist, anthologist, and author, was born(d. 1889)

1820 – Edward Augustus Inglefield, English admiral and explorer, was born (d. 1894)

1836 Texas Revolution: Goliad massacre – Antonio López de Santa Anna ordered the Mexican army to kill about 400 Texans at Goliad, Texas.

1836 Kirtland Temple in Ohio was dedicated in an 8 hour long service led by Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sidney Rigdon.

1839 – John Ballance, Irish-New Zealand journalist and politician, 14th Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 1893)

1846  Mexican-American War: Siege of Fort Texas.

1851 – First reported sighting of the Yosemite Valley by Europeans.

1852 – Jan van Beers, Belgian painter and illustrator, was born (d. 1927).

1854 Crimean War: The United Kingdom declared war on Russia.

1863 Sir Henry Royce, English automobile pioneer, was born (d. 1933).

1871 The first international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, was played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.

1878 – Kathleen Scott, British sculptor, was born (d. 1947).

1879 – Sándor Garbai, Hungarian politician, 19th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born (d. 1947)

1883 English Salvation Army officers, Captain George Pollard and Lieutenant Edward Wright, arrived at Port Chalmers on a mission to establish a New Zealand branch of the quasi-military Christian evangelical movement, which had been founded in the slums of London’s East End in 1865.

The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

1883 – Dimitrios Semsis, Greek violinist, was born (d. 1950).

1885  – Julio Lozano Díaz, Honduran accountant and politician, 40th President of Honduras, was born (d. 1957).

1886 Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrendered to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.

1890 – Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton, Scottish admiral, was born (d. 1974).

1892 – Thorne Smith, American author, was born (d. 1934).

1899 Gloria Swanson, American actress, was born  (d. 1983).

1901 – Eisaku Satō, Japanese politician, 61st Prime Minister of Japan, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1975)

1901 – Kenneth Slessor, Australian journalist and poet, was born (d. 1971)

1906 The Alpine Club of Canada was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1910 A fire during a barn-dance in Ököritófülpös, Hungary, killed 312.

1912 James Callaghan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 2005).

1917  Cyrus Vance, American politician, was born (d. 2002).

1918 Moldova and Bessarabia joined Romania.

1922 – Dick King-Smith, English author, was born (d. 2011).

1924 Sarah Vaughan, American singer, was born (d. 1990).

1931 David Janssen, American actor, was born (d. 1980).

1938  The Battle of Taierzhuang.

1941 Yugoslavian Air Force officers toppled the pro-axis government in a bloodless coup.

1943  Battle of the Komandorski Islands – In the Aleutian Islands battle started when United States Navy forces intercepted Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.

1944 – Alan C. Gilmore, New Zealand astronomer and academic, was born.

1945 Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways began.

1950 Tony Banks, English musician (Genesis), was born.

1955 – Mariano Rajoy, Spanish lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1958  Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union.

1959 Andrew Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born.

1963  Beeching axe: Dr. Richard Beeching issued a report calling for huge cuts to the United Kingdom’s rail network.

1964  The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2 struck South Central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.

1969 Mariner 7 was launched.

1970 Concorde made its first supersonic flight.

1970  – Mariah Carey, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress, was born.

1975 – Andrew Blowers, New Zealand rugby player, All Black, was born.

1975 Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began.

1975  Fergie, American pop singer (The Black Eyed Peas), was born.

1976 The first 4.6 miles of the Washington Metro subway system opened.

1977 Tenerife disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collided on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). 61 survived on the Pan Am flight.

1980 The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapsed in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.

1980 Silver Thursday: A steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.

1984 Ernie Abbott, the caretaker at Wellington’s Trades Hall, was killed instantly when he moved a booby-trapped suitcase.

Trades Hall bombing

1984 – Ben Franks, Australian-born New Zealand rugby player, All Black, was born.

1986 A car bomb exploded at Russell Street Police HQ in Melbourne, killing 1 police officer and injuring 21 people.

1990 The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba in an effort to bridge the information blackout imposed by the Castro regime.

1993  Jiang Zemin was appointed President of the People’s Republic of China.

1993 – Italian former minister and Christian Democracy leader Giulio Andreotti was accused of mafia allegiance by the tribunal of Palermo.

1994 – The Eurofighter took its first flight in Manching, Germany.

1998 The Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence.

1999 An F-117 Nighthawk was shot down during the Kosovo War.

2002 – Passover massacre: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 29 people partaking of the Passover meal in Netanya, Israel.

2004 HMS Scylla (F71), a decommissioned Leander class frigate, was sunk as an artificial reef off Cornwall, the first of its kind in Europe.

2009 – Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, failed killing at least 99 people.

2009 – A suicide bomber killed at least 48 at a mosque in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan.

2013 – A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Taipei, Taiwan, injuring 97 people.

2013 – Canada became the first country to announce its intention to withdraw from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

2014 – Philippines signed a peace accord with the largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, ending decades of conflict.

2015 – Al-Shabab militants attacked and temporarily occupied a Mogadishu hotel leaving at least 20 people dead.

2016 – A suicide blast in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, Lahore claimed more than 70 lives and left almost 300 others injured. The target of the bombing were Christians celebrating Easter.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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