365 days of gratitude

April 10, 2018

Weather forecasts warned us it would be cold, and it is outside.

But, apart from my morning walk, today was a day when I could mostly stay inside where double glazing, insulation and underfloor heating keep the cold at bay and I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 10, 2018

Plenipotentiary – a person, especially a diplomat, invested with the full power of independent action on behalf of their government, typically in a foreign country; having full power to take independent action; invested with or conferring full powers.

Hat Tip: Liam Hehir


Let’s (not) tax this

April 10, 2018

The National Party has updated its election tax advertisement as it works to counter the government’s fuel tax grab.

The National Party is highlighting Labour’s double whammy of national and regional fuel tax increases by launching an advertisement to illustrate the costs faced by consumers and a petition to encourage people to voice their opposition, National’s Transport Spokesman Jami-Lee Ross says.

“These taxes will hurt consumers in the pocket. As well as the direct impact on what you pay at the pump, they have an effect on most other products you buy, and that really adds up,” Mr Ross says.

“The Government’s plan is to hit consumers twice, firstly in Auckland but also around the country.

“The net result is motorists paying up to a massive 25 cents a litre in more tax – that’s $15 every time you fill up the car.

“And the regional fuel tax legislation makes it clear that other regions are expected to be paying for regional fuel taxes even though Labour said they wouldn’t be able to.

“People will end up paying more and getting less. This is particularly so in regional New Zealand where the nationwide petrol tax increase is paired with a big decline in state highway investment.

“Regional New Zealanders are being made to shell out for new trams down Auckland’s Dominion Road.

“People are angry on this one. The Government needs to rethink its approach and ease up on the cost increases on Kiwis.

“They claim they are worried about people’s incomes and then they hit them with this.”

The three parties in government claim to be determined to help the poor.

Any increase in fuel tax will hit the poorest hardest and more than counter any gains they might have made through increases to the minimum wage or government payments.

You can sign a petition against the tax here.


Rural round-up

April 10, 2018

Water essential to feed New Zealand – Mike Chapman:

Reality: plants need water to grow, and that water supply needs to be consistent and reliable.

In the past two years, there have been extreme climatic events, alternating between intense periods of rain and drought. Last winter, heavy rain made vegetable growing difficult in the North Island. Supply was short and prices went up. Supply had to be supplemented from parts of New Zealand that rely on irrigation to sustain fruit and vegetable growing.

In December, the country went into drought. After having had too much water for months, then there was none. In Waimea, growers were forced to make decisions about which trees would not fruit and would have water supply reduced to root stock survival levels only. This is a highly productive area for horticulture and water supply during dry periods is vital. In fact, to maintain production and produce high quality vegetables and fruit a consistent supply of water is needed throughout the main growing areas in New Zealand.

Water storage and irrigation are key for sustainable growth of horticulture to feed New Zealanders. Water storage helps keep river flows at the right level during heavy rain, to use during drought. . . 

B+LNZ finalising brand mark and strategy for Red Meat Story:

Michael Wan, B+LNZ’s Global Manager Red Meat Story, provided farmers with an update on the progress of the Red Meat Story at our recent Annual Meeting in Gisborne.

As you may be aware, B+LNZ is currently finalising the proposed brand mark, story and Go-to-Market Strategy for the Red Meat Story.

Subject to discussions with the sector, these are expected to be shared with farmers later this year, before being rolled out to global markets, in partnership with processors.

“What is clear from the work we have done so far is that the New Zealand’s red meat story is more than a brand, story and activation plan,” says Michael. . . 

No more NZ lamb for French Canadian restaurateur – Eric Frykberg:

A French Canadian woman has stopped buying New Zealand lamb for her restaurant.

Marie Boudreau used to happily purchase frozen, prepared New Zealand meat to serve customers at her restaurant.

She said the New Zealand product was fine, but she later found a far better way to stock her kitchen.

She began to raise her own lambs for her restaurant. And she would give them love, attention and special treatment while they were growing. She would even cuddle them while they were being slaughtered.

“I stay with them right to the end, and I pass them to the butcher myself,” Madame Boudreau said. . .

Finalists compete for prestigious dairying awards:

The 33 finalists in the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards didn’t have long to celebrate their respective regional wins, as their attention quickly turned to preparing for the final round of judging which gets underway on 30th April.

The finalists represent 11 regions and will compete for prizes worth more than $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2018 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2018 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

General Manager Chris Keeping says the 33 finalists are the cream of the crop from the 374 entries received, and it was a hard-fought battle. . . 

Open day to help farmers recycle:

A field day is being held in Geraldine next week to inform farmers on options to deal with farm waste.

The field day is taking place on the Orari Estate on Wednesday 18 April at 2pm, and will help farmers find out how to participate in current rural recycling schemes.

This will be focused on some products that require specific handling including plastic agri-chemical containers, chemicals, silage and balage wrap as well as waste oil & its containers. . . 

Syndex announces first of its kind Diversified Agri Fund:

Innovative investment platform Syndex today announced the listing of its first diversified agriculture fund.

The “Natural Farm Food Limited Partnership” fund* (NFFLP) is being launched in conjunction with Farm Venture, a farm property and operations management business based in Taranaki.

The new funds targeted a total capital raise of NZ$150 million, with a first close of NZ$50 million. There is a minimum capital investment of NZ$25 million for ownership of an initial three dairy farms and livestock, plus capex and the proportional purchase of Fonterra shares. . . 

Dove River Peonies gets game-changing boost in venture capital from New Zealand’s first SheEO allocation:

Nelson’s Dove River Peonies will receive a game-changing boost from New Zealand’s inaugural SheEO allocation of venture capital, announced in Auckland today (9 April, 2018).

“It’s absolutely huge for us,” says co-owner of Dove River Peonies, Dot Kettle. “It’s a real honour. We feel that we’re benefiting from New Zealand women investing in women and we’re excited to use this investment in us to benefit many, many people of all ages with skin conditions, both around New Zealand and overseas.”

SheEO is a global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace started by Canadian Vicki Saunders in 2015. . . 

Canterbury and Marlborough students heading to Invercargill grand final:

A talented due from St Bede’s College has taken top honours at the Tasman TeenAg Regional Final in Christchurch.

Nick O’Connor and Angus Grant won the hotly-contested TeenAg event in Templeton on Saturday.

The event saw 44 teams clash at Innovation Park.

Tomos Blunt and Finn Taylor, who’re also from St Bede’s College in Christchurch, took out second place. . . 


Windblown timber should be recovered

April 10, 2018

The government denied National Party List MP Maureen Pugh support for her Private Members’ Bill which would enable the harvesting of windblown trees on conservation land following adverse weather events.

“Today I moved a motion in Parliament, seeking support from Government MPs to have my bill adopted and set down for first reading next week. My bill would allow the Director General of DOC to authorise the removal of specified windblown trees on Conservation Land following a significant weather event,” Ms Pugh says.

“This a practical bill which embraces environmental responsibility and supports regional economic development.”

The proposed Adverse Weather Timber Recovery on Conservation Lands Bill follows on from the legislation implemented following tropical Cyclone Ita in 2014, which saw a number of native forests in the West Coast and Tasman severely impacted.

“This 2014 legislation was supported right through the process by local MP Damien O’Connor and his Labour colleague Rino Tirikatene. These two MPs saw the need for this legislation at the time, but it is disappointing the Government didn’t take a similar pragmatic approach today when they denied my motion to introduce the bill.

“Removing and processing these windblown trees which would otherwise lie decomposing on the West Coast forest floor would provide jobs for region along with clearing space for native regeneration – two areas which NZ First claims to be passionate about.

“Recent Cyclones Gita and Fehi have made this bill necessary, as large quantities of trees were felled. We need to be prepared by implementing legislation to deal with significant events like this in the future.”

The West Coast lost a lot of jobs when the previous Labour-led government axed the sustainable logging of native trees.

The National-led government introduced legislation to allow wind blown timber to be recovered after a big storm in 2014.

Pugh’s Bill seeks to allow that to continue.

If the government is serious about regional development, it should support this bill.

Removing and processing windblown trees would be much for employment, the environment and the West Coast and wider economy than the waste to energy project which experts advised should not be funded.


Quote of the day

April 10, 2018

What a newspaper needs in its news, in its headlines, and on its editorial page is terseness, humor, descriptive power, satire, originality, good literary style, clever condensation, and accuracy, accuracy, accuracy! – Joseph Pulitzer who was born on this day in 1847.


April 10 in history

April 10, 2018

879  Louis III became King of the Western Franks.

1407 The lama Deshin Shekpa visited the Ming Dynasty capital at Nanjing where he was awarded with the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma.

1500 Ludovico Sforza was captured by the Swiss troops at Novara and handed over to the French.

1606 The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was established by royal charter by James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1710 The first law regulating copyright was issued in Great Britain.

1741 War of the Austrian Succession: Prussia defeated Austria in theBattle of Mollwitz.

1794 Matthew C. Perry, American commodore, was born  (d. 1858).

1815 The Mount Tambora volcano begins its peak eruption period that lasted until July 15.

1816 The United States Government approved the creation of the Second Bank of the United States.

1821 Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople was hanged by the Turks from the main gate of the Patriarchate and his body was thrown into the Bosphorus.

1826 The 10,500 inhabitants of the Greek town Messolonghi start leaving the town after a year’s siege by Turkish forces. Very few of them survive.

1829 William Booth, English founder of the Salvation Army, was born (d. 1912).

1847 Joseph Pulitzer, American journalist and publisher, was born  (d. 1911).

1858  The original Big Ben, a 14.5 tonne bell for the Palace of Westminster was cast in Stockton-on-Tees by Warner’s of Cripplegate. It cracked during testing and was recast into the 13.76 tonne bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry and is still in use to date.

1864 Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg was elected emperor of Mexico.

1865 American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addressed his troops for the last time.

1866 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA) wass founded in New York City by Henry Bergh.

1868 At Arogee in Abyssinia, British and Indian forces defeated an army of Emperor Theodore. While 700 Ethiopians were killed and many more injured, only two of the British/Indian troops died.

1874 The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska.

1887 On Easter Sunday, Pope Leo XIII authorised the establishment of The Catholic University of America.

1912 The RMS Titanic left port in Southampton for her first and only voyage.

1916 The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created in New York City.

1919 – Soldiers votes defeated prohibition in New Zealand.

New Zealand votes for prohibition – until soldiers’ votes are counted

1919  Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos.

1925  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

1932 Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor, was born.

1933  New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps was created.

1941 Paul Theroux, American author, was born.

1941 World War II: The Axis Powers in Europe established the Independent State of Croatia from occupied Yugoslavia with Ante Pavelić‘s Ustaše fascist insurgents in power.

1944  Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from the Birkenau death camp.

1947 Bunny Wailer, Jamaican musician, was born.

1953 Warner Brothers premiered the first 3-D film, entitled House of Wax.

1959 Akihito, future Emperor of Japan, married Michiko.

1963 – 129 people died when the submarine USS Thresher sank at sea.

1968 The ferry Wahine sank with the loss of 52 lives (plus a 53rd victim who died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck), this was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster..

Sinking of the <em>Wahine</em>

1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy: In an attempt to thaw relations with the United States, the People’s Republic of China hosted the U.S. table tennis team for a weeklong visit.

1972  Oberdan Sallustro was executed by communist guerrillas 20 days after he was kidnapped in Buenos Aires.

1973 – The NZ government postponed a Spingbok tour.

1973 A British Vanguard turboprop crashed during a snowstorm at Basel, Switzerland killing 104.

1975  – Matthew Phillips, New Zealand-Italian rugby player, was born.

1979 Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak: A tornado landed in Wichita Falls, Texas killing 42 people.

1987 Hayley Westenra, New Zealand soprano, was born.

1991 Italian ferry Moby Prince collided with an oil tanker in dense fog off Livorno, Italy killing 140.

1991 – A rare tropical storm developed in the Southern Hemisphere near Angola; the first to be documented by satellites.

1998 The Belfast Agreement was signed.

2009 – Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo announced the abrogation of the constitution and assumed all governance in the country, creating a constitutional crisis.

2010 – Polish Air Force Tu-154M crashed near Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board including President Lech Kaczyński.

2016 – Paravur temple accident in which a devastating fire caused by explosion of firecrackers stored for Vishu, killed more than hundred people out of the thousands gathered for seventh day of Bhadrakali worship.\

2016 – 2016 Afghanistan earthquake, of 6.6 magnitude, 39 km west-southwest of Ashkasham, shook India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Srinagar and Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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