365 days of gratitude

May 14, 2018

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer

Today I’m grateful for people whose spark sparks mine.


Word of the day

May 14, 2018

Echt – authentic, genuine, real; typical.


Rural round-up

May 14, 2018

Fewer cows no easy task – ODT editorial:

Environment Minister David Parker is continuing his campaign to clean up New Zealand’s waterways.

It is not as though New Zealand has not had plenty of warning. In June last year, Mr Parker made the point of saying Labour would make it tougher for farms to intensify operations under a 12-point freshwater policy.

The party’s policy sought to crack down harder on polluters, make all rivers and lakes swimmable, and extend freshwater quality standards.

At the weekend, Mr Parker indicated he wants fewer cows per hectare because the number now is higher than the environment can sustain. . . 

Budget day the benchmark for judging Government’s C+ performance in regions- Gerald Piddock:

 Six months have passed since the new Government has taken office and made a vast array of decisions negatively impacting on provincial New Zealand and in turn, farmers.

The list is depressingly long: The ban on offshore oil and gas exploration in Taranaki, the end of government money for irrigation, the loss of air ambulances in Rotorua, Taupo and Te Anau, the refusal to give $600,000 funding to the Rural Health Alliance, regional fuel taxes and just recently David Parker talking up the prospect of nutrient limits – effectively a cap on stock numbers.

The devil will be in the detail on the latter, but on the surface, Parker’s aims appear similar to what most regional councils are putting in place around the country anyway.

Topping it all off are the ballooning costs of biosecurity issues and the likelihood of agriculture coming into the Emissions Trading Scheme.  Labour will also almost certainly be campaigning for a water tax in the 2020 election . . 

Farmers are spooked – Sudesh Kissun:

Dairy farmers are spooked and they have every right to be.

We have a Prime Minister describing climate change as “my generation’s nuclear free moment”; and a Climate Change Minister who not only happens to co-lead the Greens but who sees climate change “as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent parts of our economy and society for the better”.

And this new Labour-Greens-NZ First Government is forthright in its green-leaning tendencies and policies.

Last month, in a historic move, it announced that no new exploration permits for offshore oil and gas fields will be issued, in support of its commitment to action on climate change. . . 

Inaugural Winners of New National Dairy Award Announced:

The inaugural winners of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award are considered leaders within the dairy industry, in all areas of sustainability, business and farm management, as well as in the way they give back to the industry and community.

Edward (Wynn) and Tracy Brown own a 320ha 700-cow farm near Matamata, with a further 30ha leased from their neighbour. Their property bears the name “Tiroroa”, which means ‘extensive view’ or ‘view to the future’.

“Our aim is to run an economically and environmentally sustainable dairy farming business maximising production while minimizing footprint,” say the couple. “We like to take the meaning of Tiroroa into consideration with all our decision-making. . . 

Daily milk urea readings could help tackle N in urine:

New Zealand’s 4.8 million milking cows excrete 1000 tonnes of nitrogen a day in their urine, and 200 tonnes of this end up in groundwater, says CRV Ambreed.

The company says it calculated the daily numbers using existing data related to milk urea concentration in daily bulk milk reports.

Farmers could be using the milk urea concentration (MU) value on their daily bulk milk reports to calculate the amount of nitrogen their herd is excreting in urine and take steps to address that, says Phil Beatson, the company’s head of R&D. . .

‘Wool Shed’ about inspiring – Nicole Sharp:

Teenagers will be encouraged to come up with ways to use wool creatively in a bid to have them take up the torch as ”Generation Wool”.

Campaign for Wool board member and former chairman Craig Smith officially opened the South Island’s new ”wool shed” in Riverton recently, but it is no normal wool shed.

Accompanied by Wool in Schools project manager Vicki Linstrom and PGG Wrightson Wool general manager Grant Edwards, the ”wool shed,” an education resource, initiated by the Campaign for Wool, was delivered to its first stop at Aparima College . . 

Southern goat group formed – Yvonne O’Hara:

Whitestone Boer Goat Stud owners Owen and Annette Booth formed the goat farmers and breeders’ Southern Goat Group following a wet field day on their Milton property on April 28.

Mr Booth is the chairman and Kaaren Wilkes, of Chatto Creek, is the secretary.

Mr Booth said the heavy rain contributed to lower than expected numbers attending.

”We had about 12 people there,” he said.

”They came from Duntroon, Alexandra, Peninsula and Brighton.

”We formed the group and got things under way.” . . 

No kidding! Newborns blamed for shortage of goat milk – Belle Puri:

The herd of goats on a Fraser Valley farm is kidding, but the farmer isn’t when it comes to a recent shortage of certified organic goat milk.

An explosion of newborn goats or “kids” has put a dent in the production line at Farm House Natural Cheeses in Agassiz, B.C.

The kids get first access to doe milk before any of it can be used to make products for human consumption, said Farm House office manager Dana Dinn. . .


Some businesses won’t survive

May 14, 2018

Government changes to employment law will undermine flexibility and goodwill, Federated Farmers says.

Feds Dairy chair Chris Lewis said the 90-day trial provisions are highly valued by farmers as a means of giving them confidence to take on staff when the potential applicant has no experience, or a history of anti-social behaviour or poor job performance.

“Anyone can turn over a new leaf but without the security of the 90-day trial business owners can end up paying the cost of giving someone a chance.”

Recruiting, inducting and training new staff is an expensive and time-consuming business.

Employers want to get it right the first time but try as they might, that doesn’t always happen. The 90-day trial period reduces the risk should a new employee be the wrong choice.


Most farmers employ only a handful of staff but the Federation’s submission said it would be “unfortunate” if this option is removed for larger companies “because it is exactly those businesses that can afford to put resources into extra training and support for those who need it”.

The Federation’s farmer members do not have a hire/fire mentality, Chris told the committee. Many find it hard to attract staff to remote areas, and work hard to bring along employees who have the right attitude.

The Federation’s employment contracts are industry-leading, and farmers make use of an 0800 service and peer-to-peer advice, as they strive to be fair employers moving staff along a career pathway.

When a businesses get good employees it’s in everyone’s interest to do everything possible to keep them and keep them happy.

But if they can’t, or won’t, do their jobs or are simply a bad fit for the business and other employees, it’s better for everyone if they go.

The Federation’s submission said too many clauses in the Bill pit employer and employee against one another rather than facilitating an environment for negotiation and agreement.

 For example, farmers had no quibble that employees are entitled to paid rest and meal breaks but proposed amendments say that unless employer and employee agree an alternative in advance, such breaks must be taken at times set out in the Bill.

This is “unduly restrictive,” Chris said, because unexpected situations can arise on the farm.

 “If a cow requires attention during calving, or there is an urgency to finish harvest before rain sets in, it is reasonable for an employer to ask that an employee works on for a reasonable amount of time, and recoups their entitlement elsewhere.”

Tired and hungry staff don’t work well and can be dangerous, but in farming, and many other businesses, it is not always practical to stop work at prescribed times.

Farmers have no objection to employees joining a union or any other association, but current provisions in the Act requiring union representatives to obtain the permission of the business owner before entering the workplace should be kept.

“These farm properties are our homes,” Chris said.

The proposed law would allow union officials to wander into farmhouses without notice.

This is an abuse of private property.

On top of that farmers are being bombarded with messages to treat their property as a fortress because of biosecurity risks – most recently the devastating cow disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Health and Safety is another reason why visitors should be briefed and escorted into work areas. “Given the hazards on farm, the presence of an individual who is in what could be a very large area without the knowledge or permission of anyone else on the farm is extremely dangerous.”

It’s not only businesses which benefit from flexibility in the workplace, workers do too.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope also has serious concerns about the proposals, which might be good for unions but not workers:

Here’s a simple example. If you are a working parent who needs to leave work at 3pm to pick up the kids, and the collective agreement says your hours of work must be 9-5, and if you haven’t opted out, you will need to negotiate with both the union and your employer to be able to pick up your kids. This is onerous and unnecessary.

Fourth, the legislation would compel employers to provide personal information about a new employee to a union. Given the recent furore around Facebook’s use of personal information for marketing purposes, I doubt if many would see it as fair and reasonable for legislation to compel your employer to provide your information to any third party, no matter who they are.

These are only a few of the issues. Currently unionisation in the private sector is around 12 per cent. As with any other business, adaptation and innovation is important for unions’ survival. Legislating to protect a marketing base for membership won’t help unions to adapt, innovate and survive.  

What the legislation will do is undermine trust by testing the boundaries of what most New Zealanders think as fair.

Business concerns won’t be allayed by the interview with Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway on Q&A yesterday when he said  that some businesses would not be able to operate under  the government’s plans.

It’s not just business owners who suffer if their businesses collapse, it’s also the workers, who Labour purports to support.


Quote of the day

May 14, 2018

Whenever someone, usually standing on a jetty in the pleasant morning sunshine, looks down into my cockpit, and, after greetings and gossip about this and that, says that he envies me because I don’t have any cares or worries and can just take off into the setting sun without a problem in the world, I always smile to myself. What does this person know of the intricate preparation, the minute attention to the smallest details that goes into getting a small craft ready for the ocean? Overlooking even one significant point could very well result in disaster or even death. What does that person know of that careful, cautious attention paid to storing the boat with every possible item for any foreseeable accident or occurrence? What does he know of studying how to take out one’s own teeth, or, if necessary, one’s own appendix? The long-distance sailor is his own lawyer, doctor, engineer, plumber, carpenter, dentist and diplomat. – Chay Blyth who celebrates his 78th birthday today.


May 14 in history

May 14, 2018

1264  Battle of Lewes: Henry III was captured and forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, making Simon de Montfort the de facto ruler of England.

1483  Coronation of Charles VIII of France (Charles l’Affable).

1509 Battle of Agnadello: French forces defeated the Venetians.

1608  The Protestant Union was founded in Auhausen.

1610 Henry IV of France was assassinated bringing Louis XIII to the throne.

1643  Four-year-old Louis XIV became King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII.

1727 Thomas Gainsborough, English artist ,was born (d. 1788).

1747  A British fleet under Admiral George Anson defeated the French at first battle of Cape Finisterre.

1796  Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccination.

1804 The Lewis and Clark Expedition departed from Camp Dubois and began its journey by traveling up the Missouri River.

1811 Paraguay gained independence from Spain.

1836 The Treaties of Velasco were signed.

1861 The Canellas meteorite, an 859-gram chondrite type meteorite, struck  the earth near Barcelona.

1863 American Civil War: The Battle of Jackson.

1866 – The General Grant, sailing from Melbourne to London, hit cliffs on the west coast of the main island in the subantarctic Auckland  Islands.

Wreck of the <em>General Grant</em>

1868 Japanese Boshin War: end of the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle.

1870 The first game of rugby in New Zealand was played in Nelson between Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club.

First game of rugby played in NZ

1879  The first group of 463 Indian indentured labourers arrives in Fiji aboard the  Leonidas.

1889  The children’s charity the NSPCC was launched in London.

1907 The Plunket Society was formed.

Plunket Society formed

1908  – Betty Jeffrey, Australian nurse and author was born (d. 2000).

1913   New York Governor William Sulzer approved the charter for theRockefeller Foundation, which began operations with a $100 million donation from John D. Rockefeller.

1925  Virginia Woolf‘s novel Mrs Dalloway was published.

1926 Eric Morecambe, British comedian, was born  (d. 1984).

1927 Cap Arcona was launched at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg.

1929 Barbara Branden, Canadian writer and lecturer, was born.

1929 – Wilfred Rhodes took his 4000th first-class wicket during a performance of 9 for 39 at Leyton.

1931  Ådalen shootings: five people were killed in Ådalen, Sweden, as soldiers open fired on an unarmed trade union demonstration.

1935 The Philippines ratified an independence agreement.

1939 Lina Medina became  the world’s youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.

1940  – Chay Blyth, Scottish sailor and rower, was born.

1940 ‘H’.  (Herbert) Jones, British Soldier (VC recipient), was born (d. 1982).

1940  World War II: Rotterdam was bombed by the German Luftwaffe.

1940  World War II: The Netherlands surrendered to Germany.

1940  The Yermolayev Yer-2, a long-range Soviet medium bomber, has its first flight.

1941 – The minesweeper HMS Puriri was the second victim of mines laid off the Northland coast by the German raider Orion.
NZ minesweeper sunk off Bream Head

1943  A Japanese submarine sank  AHS Centaur off the coast of Queensland.

1948  Israel was declared to be an independent state and a provisional government established.

1955 Cold War: Eight communist bloc countries signed a mutual defense treaty -the Warsaw Pact.

1960 – Frank Nobilo, New Zealand golfer was born.

Frank Nobilo 1998.jpg

1960 – Ronan Tynan, Irish tenor, was born.

1961  American civil rights movement: The Freedom Riders bus was fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama, and the civil rights protesters were beaten by an angry mob.

1966 Fabrice Morvan, French music artist (Milli Vanilli), was born.

1970  The Red Army Faction was established in Germany.

1973 Human Space Flight: Skylab, the United States’ first space stationwas launched.

1975 Carlos Spencer, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

Carlos Spencer.jpg

1984 – Mark Zuckerberg, American computer programmer and businessman, co-founded Facebook, was born.

1986 Pride of Baltimore was lost at sea.

1988 Carrollton bus collision: a drunk driver travelling the wrong way hit a converted school bus carrying a church youth group killing  27.

2004 The Constitutional Court of South Korea overturned the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun.

2005  The former USS America, a decommissioned supercarrier was deliberately sunk in the Atlantic Ocean after four weeks of live-fire exercises.

2012 – Agni Air Flight CHT crashed near Jomsom Airport in Jomsom, Nepal, after a failed go-around, killing 15 people.

2013 – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa due to the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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