365 days of gratitude

March 29, 2018

A knock on the door preceded the entry of a friend.

A few minutes later another knock was followed by the entry of two more friends.

Tonight I”m grateful for casual visits and entertaining conversation.


Word of the day

March 29, 2018

Lunt – a match; the flame used to light a fire;  smoke or steam, especially smoke from a tobacco pipe; to emit or produce smoke or steam; to smoke a pipe; to kindle a fire.


Rural round-up

March 29, 2018

Free trade trumps protectionism, we hope – Allan Barber:

It’s ironical the same week the CPTPP agreement was signed President Trump proudly announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium which threaten to undermine the World Trade Organisation’s function as the global regulator of international trade. The jury is still out on whether Trump can get the tariffs signed off by Congress and he has already created exemptions, at the time of writing for Australia, Canada and Mexico. But it’s an uneasy period, particularly for a country as dependent on trade for its economic survival as New Zealand, because we might well get caught in the crossfire from a trade war.

Meanwhile supporters of free trade can celebrate the signing of the CCTPP which I admit I didn’t rate as a certainty in my tips for 2018 in January. There has been a lot of noise from those against the agreement, either because it doesn’t differ markedly from the original TPP since rejected by Trump or because 22 clauses negotiated by the USA, including Investor State Settlement Disputes provisions, have only been suspended rather than removed altogether. But I suspect the antis would have objected regardless, wanting neither the original nor current agreement to be signed under any circumstances. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand urges farmers to comply with NAIT:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is urging all farmers to comply with the National Animal Identification Tracing (NAIT) scheme requirements following the announcement of a programme to track cattle movements as part of the Mycoplasma bovis response.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will stop trucks in the upper South Island to check that farmers moving cattle from the South to the North Island are complying with their legal obligations under the NAIT Act.. . . 

Technical advice and pathway tracing reports released following compliance searches:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released reports by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to its Mycoplasma bovis response and an internal report examining potential entry routes (pathways) to New Zealand for the disease.

The TAG report contains a reference to possible legal breaches in relation to how the disease entered the country.  While these have largely been redacted from the report, MPI has been unable to release it until those matters were sufficiently examined by compliance investigators.

Note: Redactions have been made to the TAG and pathways reports consistent with provisions of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). Where required, the Ministry for Primary Industries has considered the public interest when making decisions on the information being withheld. . . 

Environment under the spotlight at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting:

The sheep and beef sector is well-placed to turn the challenges into opportunities and reap the rewards, farmers were told at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting in Gisborne today.

James Parsons, outgoing Chair at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said strong prices and recent trade gains such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will undoubtedly help lift the profitability of sheep and beef farming. . . 

First Tauranga kiwifruit for 2018 sailing tomorrow

As chocolate eggs are being dispensed this weekend, New Zealand kiwifruit growers are shipping a much healthier alternative to Chinese consumers.

The Klipper Stream will carry New Zealand’s first load of Zespri Kiwifruit from the Port of Tauranga to China for the year, marking the start of what looks like another record-breaking season. Loading began this morning and the ship is scheduled to pass through the harbour entrance on Good Friday. . . .

Nigel Woodhead to put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland:

One of the country’s most recognisable young farmers will put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland next month.

Nigel Woodhead has been invited to compete at the New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Thornbury on April 14th-15th.

The 30-year-old is a sheep and beef farmer at Milton and was named the FMG Young Farmer of the Year last July. . . 

Go for 5G, but bring rural NZ along too:

New Zealand’s ambitions to get on with the roll-out of 5G technology should be applauded but don’t put dealing with woeful rural coverage on the back-burner, Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says.

Tests of 5G mobile technology were carried out on the streets of downtown Wellington this week and industry players are talking about putting this next generation of digital communications infrastructure in place from 2020. Meanwhile plenty of towns and provincial hinterland limp on without broadband, and patchy or non-existent mobile coverage.

“Primary producers play a dominant role in earning the nation’s living and technology is pervading every aspect of agriculture. With poor or no access to ultra-fast broadband and mobile, faming businesses – and family life – suffers,” Andrew says. . . 

2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards Winners Announced:

The major winners in the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards are relatively new to the dairy industry and believe their success is due to their full involvement in their business.

Daniel and Paula McAtamney were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Addington Raceway and Events Centre last night. The other big winners were Will Green, who was named the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Salem Christian, the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Second time lucky for 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards winners:

A Hokitika couple have been announced as major winners in the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards.

Carl Wilmshurst and Anna Boulton were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held in Nelson last night. The other big winners were Anthony Lamborn, who was named the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year, and Sam Goffriller, the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .  

Inventors and innovators wanted for the 2018 Fieldays Innovation Awards:

Calling all agricultural inventors and innovators: entries are now open for the 2018 National Agricultural Fieldays Innovation Awards.

The Innovation Awards showcases innovation across several industry areas: dairy and drystock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading research. . . 

Fewer weeds, more wheat:

A herbicide to control problematic weeds in wheat crops and so increase crop yield, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

An application from Bayer New Zealand Limited to import Sakura 850 WG was considered by a decision-making committee convened by the EPA. This product contains pyroxasulfone, an active ingredient not used before in New Zealand. It will be imported ready-packaged for sale, and is intended for use by commercial growers and contractors, not home-gardeners.

“The EPA has concluded that this product offers considerable benefits to wheat growers,” said General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

March 29, 2018

You are invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual batch of hot cross buns.


Casually wasting diplomatic capital

March 29, 2018

Is the government deliberately setting out to upset international friends?

It started with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s repeatedly sticking her nose into Australia’s affairs over Manus Island refugees.

She followed up by making the mistake of telling a story about Donald Trump mistaking her for Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s wife which she ought not to have shared.

Then came the reluctance by her and Foreign Minister Winston Peters to condemn Russia for the nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

And now New Zealand is an international laughing stock over the PM’s claim we have no undeclared Russian spies here.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and foreign affairs minister, Winston Peters, say they would expel Russian spies from the country, if there were any.

More than 100 Russian diplomats alleged to be spies in western countries have been told to return to Moscow, in response to the use of a chemical weapon in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a former Russia/UK double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England on 4 March.

The New Zealand government has condemned the attack and supports the international action, but says there are no such “Russian intelligence agents” in the country. . . 

The ABC explains the difference between declared and undeclared spies:

. . . Spy is the conventional term for someone who gathers intelligence overseas, without letting their host country know what they are doing.

They often present themselves as diplomats and work out of embassies, alongside declared intelligence officers.

The difference between declared and undeclared intelligence officers is that the legitimate ones present their credentials to their host country and make it known they are there to make contact and to formally share mutually beneficial information.

Spies appear on an embassy’s list of diplomats, but they are involved in gathering other intelligence.

According to Ian Lincoln, a former diplomat who is now president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (New South Wales), spies have the same objectives as intelligence officers but use different methods, such as gathering intelligence through unofficial contacts, sometimes by finding a weakness in an individual.

John Blaxland, a professor of international security and intelligence studies, says undeclared intelligence officers pretend to comply with regular protocols, appearing at events and doing other things that make them look like regular diplomats, but on the side, they are carrying out a range of other activities. . . 

Richard Harman’s Politik morning e-newsletter says:

There has been no comment on whether any of the 16 staff with diplomatic status at the Russian Embassy [ in Wellington] may be undeclared intelligence officers — but it is a comparatively  large staff for a country which would seem to have only peripheral interests here..
In comparison’ Australia has 13; China 23 and the USA, 48. 

David Lange’s government burned off friends with its anti-nuclear policy but that was a matter of principle.

This government’s stand doesn’t look to be done on principle:

Whether or not we are seeing the emergence of a new Peters Doctrine is moot. We shall have to wait to see. But it’s curious that Labour has been dragged into this line of thinking.

It may be that Ardern & Co have an instinctive willingness to not necessarily fall in behind the great powers of the West. But is this really the time? Given the personalities in charge of what can be loosely called the West – especially President Donald Trump – there may well be a time quite soon when we want to play an independent hand. There may soon be issues where we want to stand apart from the US and other Western (or Five Eyes) allies on issues of real importance.

So why waste your card playing it now? Why raise the eyebrows – and perhaps the ire – of our traditional friends over this case? New Zealand bases its foreign policy on the international rule of law, so when there is a global consensus that Russia has blatantly and murderously broken those rules, why would we not rush to stand alongside those protesting such an action? Surely this is an opportunity to earn show some solidarity with Britain, the US and others, given that down the track we may want to spend some diplomatic capital distancing ourselves from them.

It seems a careless, overly casual and unnecessary waste of diplomatic capital; one I suspect this government will soon regret.

If the government was acting on principle its words and actions might be understood.

But rather than principle, it looks like it’s fooling round with foreign policy, carelessly and casually wasting hard-won diplomatic capital.

In doing so it’s dangerously out of step with both security and trading partners in a time when the foreign and trading environments are anything but benign.


Quote of the day

March 29, 2018

Childbirth takes place at the intersection of time; in all cultures it links past, present and future. In traditional cultures birth unites the world of ‘now’ with the world of the ancestors, and is part of the great tree of life extending in time and eternity. – Sheila Kitzinger who was born on this day in 1929.


March 29 in history

March 29, 2018

1461 Battle of Towton – Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England.

1549 Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, was founded.

1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629.

1638 Swedish colonists established the first settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.

1790 John Tyler, 10th President of the United States, was born  (d. 1862).

1792 King Gustav III of Sweden died after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball 13 days earlier.

1799 Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1869).

1806 Construction was authorised of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, the first United States federal highway.

1809 King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicated after a coup d’état.

1809 At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledged allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden.

1831 Great Bosnian uprising: Bosniak rebel against Turkey.

1847 Mexican-American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott took Veracruz after a siege.

1849 The United Kingdom annexed the Punjab.

1857 Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry revolted against the British rule in India and inspired a long-drawn War of Independence of 1857 also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Appomattox Court House began.

1867 Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Actwhich established the Dominion of Canada on July 1.

1870 Pavlos Melas, Greek officer who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, was born  (d. 1904).

1871 The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.

1879 Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeated 20,000 Zulus.

1882 The Knights of Columbus were established.

1886 Dr John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.

1900 John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born  (d. 1980).

1901 Skipppers Bridge over the Shotover River opened.

Skippers Bridge opened

1902 William Walton, English composer, was born  (d. 1983).

1911 The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.

1916 Eugene McCarthy, American politician, was born (d. 2005).

1929  – Sheila Kitzinger, English activist, author, and academic (d. 2015).

1930 Heinrich Brüning was appointed German Reichskanzler.

1936 In Germany, Adolf Hitler received 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany’s illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

1937 – Smarck Michel, Haitian businessman and politician, 6th Prime Minister of Haiti, was born (d. 2012).

1941 World War II: British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces defeated those of the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesus coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax – career criminal Sydney Ross met the minister of national service, Robert Semple, in Wellington and claimed he had been approached by a German agent to join a sabotage cell and that Nazi agents had landed by submarine and were living at Ngongotaha, Rotorua. Ross was taken to see Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who referred the matter to Major Kenneth Folkes, a British intelligence officer brought to New Zealand to set up the Security Intelligence Bureau.

Nazi sabotage hoax

 

1942 The Bombing of Lübeck was the first major success for the RAF Bomber Command against Germany and a German city.

1943 Eric Idle, English actor, writer, and composer, was born.

1943 Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1943 Vangelis, Greek musician and composer, was born .

1945  Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England.

1957 The New York, Ontario and Western Railway made its final run.

1959 – Evangelist Billy Graham arrived in New Zealand for an 11-day crusade.

1961 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.

1963 Elle Macpherson, Australian model, was born.

1968 Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress and singer, was born.

1971 – A Los Angeles, California jury recommended the death penalty forCharles Manson and three female followers.

1973 Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers left South Vietnam.

1974 NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury.

1982 The Telegu Desam Party (India’s regional political party) was established by N. T. Rama Rao.

1982 – The Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) received the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim theConstitution Act, 1982.

1987 WrestleMania III set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans.

1993 Catherine Callbeck became premier of Prince Edward Island and Canada’s first female to be elected in a general election as a premier.

1999 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time ever, during the height of the internet boom.

2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO as full members.

2004 The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants.

2008-  35 Countries & more 370 cities joined Earth Hour for the first time.

2010 – Two female suicide bombers hit the Moscow Metro system at the peak of the morning rush hour, killing 40.

2013 – At least 36 people were killed when a 16-floor building collapsedin the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2013 – A landslide killed 66 people in China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region near Lhasa.

2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales were performed.

2017 – The United Kingdom invoked Article 50, beginning the formal process of Brexit.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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