365 days of gratitude

June 14, 2018

Is it my imagination or have car parks got smaller?

Whether or not they have, this afternoon I had to reverse Into a park with another vehicle taking up more than its share of space on the left and a wall on the right.

Today I’m grateful for a backing camera and the beeps that warn me when I’m getting too close to something.


Word of the day

June 14, 2018

Lune – a crescent-shaped figure formed on a sphere or plane by two arcs intersecting at two points; the part of a plane surface bounded by two intersecting arcs or of a spherical surface bounded by two great circles.


Rural round-up

June 14, 2018

Fieldays 2018: NZ farming ‘boxes above its weight’

Nearly 25,000 people attended day one of the 50th New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation opened this year’s event on Wednesday speaking of the changes the agricultural industry has seen over the last 50 years and introduced this year’s theme of the future of farming.

“New Zealand and our agricultural industry is vastly different to what it was in 1969 largely driven by our hunger and desire to be leaders in our special industry,” he said. . .

Time for strugglers to sell?

Heavily indebted farmers may be under pressure from their banks to sell up on the rising farm market to get out of their debt.

“Reading between the lines, it might be a case of the banks suggesting to the perennial strugglers that it is time to sell up,” said Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard.

Banks may have been waiting “until things are looking rosy” on farm prices before encouraging customers to look at their options.

Hoggard was commenting on the May 2018 Federated Farmers’ Banking Survey, which showed that more farmers are feeling under financial pressure, and are less satisfied with their banks. . . 

Cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis threatens to put a dampener on children’s calf day – Gerard Hutching:

Girls at Hiwinui School in Manawatu have already started choosing names for the calves they are eagerly anticipating arriving in a few weeks’ time.

But this year the bogey of Mycoplasma bovis might be the party pooper that diminishes the fun for thousands of children who enjoy the traditional lamb and calf day at their local schools.

Each spring children attending rural schools bring in the animals they have raised since birth to show their classmates, and Hiwinui with a roll of 143 is no exception. . .

Farmers deserve answers – Steve Cranston:

Most farmers would be surprised to learn there is no evidence that New Zealand agriculture is warming the planet.

All that farmers have heard from scientists, the Government and at times their own companies is that agriculture is a major contributor to NZ’s emissions.

However, what everyone forgot to tell the farmers is that no direct correlation exists between methane emissions and global warming. The problem is that the accounting method used fails to acknowledge the fact methane is constantly degrading back to CO2, and it is only when emissions exceed degradation that warming will occur. . .

Bachelors and bachelorettes go head-to-head for Rural Catch of the Year – Ruby Nyika:

There’s no rose ceremony, but the love-catch competition might just be fiercer than ever. 

The Rural Bachelor – a 13-year-running Fieldays favourite – has been revamped to the Rural Catch of the Year. 

For the first time rural women join the men vying to be crowned the most eligible rural singleton.  . .

Waikato’s Te Poi farm changes hands after 103 years with Bell family – Kelly Tantau:

A farm in rural Waikato has history seeping into its soil.

For 103 years, one bloodline resided on the 56 hectare plot in Te Poi, living through two World Wars, economic changes, births and deaths.

The family was the Bells; pioneers of their trade and strong-willed labourers well-known in the small town 9km from Matamata.

Allan Bell, the grandson of the farm’s first owners John and Minnie Bell, said the family broke new ground. . .

 60 years of milk – Co-op farmer celebrates diamond supply anniversary:

When 88-year-old Raglan farmer Jim Bardsley first started supplying Fonterra, he remembers separating his own milk.

Always  the inventor, Jim’s flying fox was one of many memories shared by friends and family at his retirement lunch. Shareholders’ Councillor Ross Wallis and Raglan Area Manager Brendan Arnet were also on hand to congratulate Jim on six decades of supply. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

June 14, 2018

You’re all welcome to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual trip to the Fieldays.


Mike Petersen Ag Comunicator of Year

June 14, 2018

The New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists announces:

The current New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, is the 2018 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year. This was announced at a dinner in Hamilton last night, when he was presented with a trophy and a cash prize.

This is the thirty-second year the Agricultural Communicator of the Year title has been awarded, and is the second year of involvement by sponsor Ravensdown.  This year there were six people nominated and the decision was reached by a panel of 10 judges from around the country.

Mike has been described as a superb communicator and always able to deliver his messages in tune with his audience in any location anywhere in the world.

Mike has been involved in leadership positions within the agri-food sector for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has been elected to positions on industry organisations representing farmers such as chair of Beef + Lamb, and the ability to communicate effectively has been a core component of these positions.

He has travelled the length of the country speaking to hundreds of meetings over the years, providing the opportunity for farmers to engage with their organisation and discuss opportunities for the sector.

Over the past five years he has spent a considerable amount of his time in the role of New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy. This is a ministerial appointment to advocate for the dairy, sheep, beef, horticulture and wine industries in their efforts to improve market access and trading environment.

In this role, he travels offshore about six times per year to all markets of the world where New Zealand is looking to improve market access and market reputation. He speaks to numerous conferences and meets with the complete range of stakeholders from farmers, industry groups, corporates, officials, ministers and Prime Ministers dispelling myths and promoting the New Zealand agri-food sector.

As New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, he also presents to numerous conferences and events in New Zealand, reports back to industry following his travels and responds to many media requests for interviews and commentary on all issues relating to trade.

The Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year award is administered by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, and recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues, events or information.    Guild president Elaine Fisher said the Guild is delighted to partner with Ravensdown in offering this long-standing award, which recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues events or information.

“This year’s winner, Mike Petersen, epitomises all that it is to be a highly effective communicator for our primary industries. He has advocated on behalf of sheep and beef farmers, promoted Māori agribusiness, and effectively represents New Zealand’s primary industries on the international stage, all underpinned by his background as an award-winning Hawke’s Bay farmer.

Taking communications even further, Mike also shares his knowledge and skills with the next generation of leaders through working with Young Farmers, university students, Nuffield and Kellogg scholars. The Guild is pleased to join with Ravensdown in honouring Mike as the 2018 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year,” Elaine said.

Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year is also the most valuable prize the Guild offers. Ravensdown provides a prize of $2,500 for the winner, part of a sponsorship package of nearly $6,000 for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs for the award, including the awards dinner in Hamilton.


Business not Minister’s business

June 14, 2018

NZ First MP Shane Jones has stomped with his clod hoppers where he has no business to be again:

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has climbed into the leadership of dairy giant Fonterra, calling for chairman John Wilson to follow chief executive Theo Spierings out the door.

Jones said he told the company it should stop being political and instead focus on its business.

Says the Minister who uses personal attacks instead of polite discourse and ought to be focusing on politics not meddling in business.

They should focus less on interfering in politics and more on justifying the money they’ve lost overseas. I believe that they have become disconnected from the farming community.”

Jones said he had suggested to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor whether it was time to restructure the dairy co-op, and singled out Wilson for special mention.

Doesn’t he know that the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), under which Fonterra was created, is under review already?

The leadership of Fonterra, I believe, starting with the chairman, is full of its own importance and has become disconnected.”

He said there was an absolute absence of accountability for the “enormous amounts of dough” that the current chairman had presided over.

This sounds very like a minister full of his own importance presiding over a billion dollar slush fund with little accountability.

The CEO has gone, well that’s only one party of the double-Dutch we’ve had to put up with in Fonterra over the last nine years. I thoroughly believe this … that as the CEO leaves Fonterra, the chairman should in quick order catch the next cab out of town.

Double-Dutch? Is this a xenophobic reference to the retiring CEO Theo Spierings and past chair Sir Henry van der Heyden who stepped down nearly a decade ago?

“I’ve been bloody disappointed that Fonterra, in my view, the leadership has not accepted that there’s a new Government and there is a new narrative and I’ve had a gutsful of them believing they are bigger then what they really are.” . .

Believing they’re bigger than they are? That’s rich coming from the party with far more power – and voter money – than its voter support at the election entitle it to.

This sort of tirade does nothing to reassure  businesses which are already very wary of the policies and directions of the government.:

The time has come for the Prime Minister to step in and discipline her Regional Economic Development Minister who repeatedly seeks publicity by attacking business leaders, National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said today.

“Business confidence in New Zealand is plummeting and the reasons for that are mounting.

“The Government’s low growth policies like higher taxes and stronger unions are causing businesses to hire fewer people and invest less in growth and it has them concerned about the future of New Zealand and who can blame them?

“Because on top of that you have a loudmouth Regional Economic Development Minister who’s putting his own ego and need for publicity ahead of the interests of New Zealand.

“Shane Jones’ attacks on Fonterra’s leadership are the latest burp from a man who is fast losing any respect he once had.

“He says Fonterra’s leadership is ‘full of their own importance’.  That sounds like a more apt description of himself.

“He even added he’s ‘worried about the absolute absence of accountability for the enormous amounts of dough that the current Fonterrra chairman has presided over’.

“This is startling hypocrisy from the same man who defended his own region getting the lion’s share of funding from his billion-dollar Provincial Growth Fund by stating ‘to the winner goes the booty’.

“Well it’s not his booty and it’s clear Shane Jones has no idea what accountability means.

“This Government has decided to spend $3 billion over the next three years on regional economic development, including roundabouts and church restorations. It’s critical the responsible is up to the job and focused on doing his job well.

“At the moment, all he seems good for is attacking business leaders whenever a few days have gone by without some of the media coverage for which he craves.

A friend who was at the KPMG breakfast at which Jones launched his tirade said it was entirely inappropriate, and a very poor reflection on the MP and the government.

Fonterra is a co-operative. The performance of the company and its chair are the business of its shareholders not an MP.

There is some dissatisfaction and there are concerns but this season’s  milk price is the third highest since the company was formed.

Shareholders could well be more concerned about the MP who has no business interfering in their business than the chair’s performance.

So Jones’s loose lips could well strengthen the position of Wilson who is up for re-election this year.


Quote of the day

June 14, 2018

Perhaps it is impossible for a person who does no good to do no harm. Harriet Beecher Stowe who was born on this day in 1811.


June 14 in history

June 14, 2018

1158 – Munich was founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.

1216 – First Barons’ War: Prince Louis of France captured the city of Winchester and soon conquered over half of the Kingdom of England.

1276 – While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court held the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making himEmperor Duanzong of Song.

1287 Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1381 Richard II met leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London was stormed by rebels who entered without resistance.

1645 English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces were beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777 The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Bounty mutiny survivors including CaptainWilliam Bligh and 18 others reached Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize was first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It was named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

1807 Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeated the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author, was born (d. 1896).

1821 Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822 Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1839 Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley staged its first Regatta.

1846 Bear Flag Revolt began – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, started a rebellion against Mexico and proclaimed the California Republic.

1863 American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison was defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia.

1863 Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudsonduring the American Civil War.

1864 Alois Alzheimer, German physician, was born (d. 1915).

1872 Trade unions were legalised in Canada.

1900 Hawaii became a United States territory.

1900 The Reichstag approved a second law that allowed the expansion of the German navy.

1907 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, was born (d. 1978).

1907 Norway gave women the  right to vote.

1909 Burl Ives, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight

1928 Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary, was born (d. 1967).

1929 Cy Coleman, American composer, was born (d. 2004).

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

1936 Renaldo “Obie” Benson, singer (The Four Tops), was born (d. 2005).

1938 Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

1940 World War II: Paris fell under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence

1940 A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began.

1942 Anne Frank began to keep a diary.

1946 Donald Trump, American businessman and entrepreneur, was born.

1949 – Alan White, British drummer (Yes), was born.

1950 Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born.

1951 UNIVAC I was dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.

1952 The keel was laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance.

1959 A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposingRafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. All but four were killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army

1961 Boy George, British singer (Culture Club), was born,

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation was established in Paris.

1966 The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.

1967 Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.

1976 The trial began at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.

1982 The Falklands War ended: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrendered to British forces.

1984 Robert Muldoon called a snap election.

Muldoon calls snap election

1985 TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens.

1990 Miners from Jiu Valley were called to Bucharest by President Ion Iliescu to quell demonstrations in University Square by anti-government protesters.

2001 China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

2002 – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN missed the Earth by 75,000 miles (121,000 km), about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

2014 – A Ukraine military Ilyushin Il-76 airlifter was shot down, killing all 49 people on board.

2015 – A wildfire near Willow, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough burned over 6,500 acres.

2017 – : A fire in a high-rise apartment building in North Kensington left at least 80 people dead and another 74 injured.

2017 -Republican member of Congress and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot while practicing for charity baseball.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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