365 days of gratitude

June 27, 2018

Oamaru used to have two Rotary clubs, both of which were in decline.

They amalgamated but the attrition of members continued.

This isn’t peculiar to this club or organisation. Service and sports clubs, political and religious organisations and a variety of other volunteer groups are finding it harder to recruit and retain members.

But it’s not all downhill.

In the last couple of years the Rotary Club of Oamaru has had a renaissance with an influx of new members who have increased the membership and decreased the average age.

The club is reinvigorated and it showed at tonight’s meeting.

The outgoing president handed over the chains of office to the incoming one then everyone participated with enthusiasm and generosity to the auction which followed.

Service and fellowship are the guiding principles of Rotary. Both of which were on display this evening with a third – fun – and I”m grateful for all of that.


Word of the day

June 27, 2018

Asafoetida – a fetid resinous gum obtained from the roots of a herbaceous plant, used in herbal medicine and Indian cooking; the dried fetid gum resin of the root of several west Asian plants (genus Ferula) of the carrot family used as a flavoring especially in Indian cooking and formerly used in medicine especially as an antispasmodic and in folk medicine as a general prophylactic against disease; Eurasian plant of the parsley family, from which asafoetida gum is obtained.


Rural round-up

June 27, 2018

Chinese demand for NZ crossbred wool lifts; auction price rises – Sally Rae:

There are “just a few hints” of upside potential for crossbred wool prices over the next two years, an industry report says.

Auction prices had lifted slightly in recent months and demand from China was just starting to return, the Ministry for Primary Industries latest Situation and Outlook report said.

The wool market had been struggling for the past 18 months or more. The main reasons were a lack of crossbred wool demand from China and increased competition from cheaper synthetic fibres. That had led to a build-up of inventory on farms and throughout the supply chain, which was slowly being worked through. . .

Tom Mulholland to speak at ‘Safetree’ workshops – Yvonne O’Hara:

Media personality and emergency department doctor Tom Mulholland will be speaking at Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) workshops in July.

Dr Mulholland will be talking to forestry workers about their physical and mental health and wellbeing as part of the FISC ‘‘Safetree’’ programme, which will include topics such as diabetes, smoking, cancer and dealing with depression. . .

The milk that can change the world:

New study seeks to understand more about milk variant – and the huge changes it potentially brings.

Somewhere in Auckland, 20 men and 20 women are drinking lots of milk and eating lots of cheese – and they could help change not only the digestive comfort of 65 per cent of the world’s population but the make-up of our dairy herd and the direction of the dairy industry.

The reason is A2 milk, the genetic variant supposed to aid digestion for people who find dairy products a difficult assignment to eat or drink. . .

Deer milk about taking ‘industry forward’

Deer milk is the sort of innovation the agriculture sector needs to invest in to make sure it remains competitive, Pamu chief executive Steve Carden says.

Pamu deer milk won the Grassroots Innovation award at the national field days at Mystery Creek earlier this month.

“As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand.

“Pamu deer milk is one of the ways that Pamu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward,” Mr Carden said.

With its high fat content and protein levels, it was ideal for food service, cosmetics and other uses that were being explored, he said. . . 

Live export halt: WA farmers tell of sheep in limbo – Bethany Hiatt:

The fate of tens of thousands of sheep is in limbo after the sudden halt to WA’s live sheep exports, farmers have warned.

The Federal Government suspended the export licence of the State’s biggest shipper, Emanuel Exports, on Friday, just days after the industry’s second-biggest exporter, Livestock Shopping Services, announced it would suspend shipments for the northern summer.

WAFarmers president Tony York said no one knew what would happen to 60,000 sheep being held in a quarantined feed lot in Baldivis, ahead of their scheduled departure on a livestock carrier this week. . .

Trump’s trade war shuts cheesemakers out of foreign markets – Ana Swanson:

It’s a common observation here that you can’t turn off the cows — not for Christmas, and not for a trade war.

So as President Trump’s aggressive trade measures prompt other countries to retaliate with barriers to American goods, dairy farmers and cheesemakers in the rolling, bright green hills of Wisconsin are growing anxious about what will happen to all of the milk and cheese they churn out and typically sell overseas.

“If export markets get shut off, I could see us getting to the point where we’re dumping our milk in the fields,” said Jeff Schwager, the president of Sartori Company, which has produced cheese in a nearby town for generations with milk it purchases from more than 100 dairy farms throughout Wisconsin. “It’ll be a big ripple effect through the state.” . . 


How much more will you pay for food?

June 27, 2018

The fuel tax legislation the government has just passed to allow Auckland Council to compensate for the mayor Phil Goff’s inability to rein in costs will hit us all.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

“Aucklanders will get a rude awakening at the pump from Sunday, thanks to a big-taxing government bailing out a big-spending mayor.”
 
“The Government’s rhetoric about funding transport infrastructure is just a distraction from Phil Goff’s failure to deliver the Council savings that he promised. He’s saved around 0.3% in operational spending, when he promised to save three to six percent.”
 
“This fuel tax will hit the poorest hardest, especially those who live in outer suburbs and drive older vehicles.” . . 

It won’t just hit Aucklanders, it will hit us all because it will add to the cost of transport on all goods and every service.

But wait, there’s more bad news that will directly impact on the cost of food:

Confusion reigns after Labour passed its Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) law yesterday, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.

“This tax comes into force in Auckland on Sunday, yet there is no system in place for off-road ‘behind the farm gate’ vehicles and machinery used by the 441 fruit and vegetable growers in Auckland that we represent,” Chapman says. “Growers should not have to pay the RFT for vehicles and machinery that are supposed to be excluded from this tax, yet on Sunday they will have to. We are talking about considerable numbers of vehicles and machinery used to produce healthy food for New Zealanders, both in Auckland and beyond.

“Having paid this tax that doesn’t apply to off-road use, because there is no exemption process, they will then have to go through a complicated and costly process to get a rebate on that tax. This is just not logical. The Government has spent seven figures developing a rebate system without ever talking to future users, or considering that they shouldn’t have to pay the tax in the first place.

“It makes no sense, nor is it fair, that this money will sit in a government bank account earning interest for at least three months, when it has been unreasonably collected before possibly being eligible for rebate. This tax is designed to improve Auckland’s transport system, and therefore must exclude vehicles not used on those roads. Food production also uses a lot of diesel-fuelled machinery that gets captured by this tax unnecessarily.

It’s not just fruit and vegetable growers that will be hit.  All farmers and fishers in the Auckland region will be hit by this and cost increases will spread beyond the region and that will inevitably lead to increases in the price of all food – fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, fish, poultry, eggs, bacon, ham, pork, beef, lamb and milk.

“This process has been so rushed to meet Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s announced 1 July deadline, that we feel that we have not been listened to and the full democratic process has been unnecessarily truncated – to the point Labour suggested the committee stage of the Bill did not even need to be debated, in the interests of time.

“This will affect growers’ businesses and costs considerably, to the point of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Those costs will be passed on to consumers, making healthy food more expensive at a time when many households are already struggling.

“We are not at all consoled by New Zealand First’s Shane Jones’ comments in the third reading debate of this Bill yesterday:

“That’s why we thoroughly endorse what the Minister said during the second stage when the House considered this bill. He is bringing forward, in short order, a body of work that will enable the inefficiencies and the areas that have to be refined in terms of a broad rebate system. It will deal not only to the challenges of implementing this particular impost, but also the entirety of the country.

So I say to the potato-growers, onion-growers, not only will I look forward to defending your elite soils, destroyed by Nick Smith under the last regime, but there will be an efficient process to ensure that people who feel that too much of the fuel that they’re purchasing with this impost they cannot claim back through a robust rebate system. So the bill does deal with that, and the Minister is going to go on to make further announcements.” – From Hansard.

“This will not happen by Sunday,” Chapman says. “We are very disappointed in this process. We can only hope that the ‘inefficiencies and the areas that have to be refined in terms of a broad rebate system’ will be dealt with using the same speed that was used to force this ill-conceived Bill into law.

“We do not want a rebate system, we want proper exemption. We do not believe growers should have to pay the tax in the first place and lose this money for a full three months before they can claim it back. It is ridiculous double handling, cost, and extra jobs for the public service to have to pay a tax and then claim it back. There is no logic, efficiency, or fairness in that.” 

Fine words don’t feed families and this tax, rushed through parliament will make it harder still for those already struggling to put healthy food on their tables.

The government is crowing about the help it’s giving with its Families Package and winter fuel payment but that will be no compensation for the increased costs of everything because of the fuel tax.

Increased costs will fuel inflation which in turn will put pressure on interest rates which will put more pressure on prices . . .

The fuel tax will fuel a vicious cycle of cost increases which will hit the poor hardest, all because Goff and his council can’t control their spending.


Shouldn’t smoke anything in other people’s houses

June 27, 2018

Chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman has found there is no evidence that contamination from smoking meth poses a risk to health.

• Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant used illicitly in New Zealand and around the world. It is obtained either through smuggling into the country, or by being manufactured locally in clandestine laboratories (meth labs). These meth labs may be found in residential dwellings, commercial accommodation, and even vehicles. 

• A dwelling can become contaminated with methamphetamine residues if the drug is manufactured or smoked within it. Smoking usually results in much lower residue levels compared with manufacture. . . 

• Passive, third-hand exposure to methamphetamine can arise through residing in a dwelling previously used as a clandestine meth lab, or where a significant amount of methamphetamine has been smoked. Former meth labs generally have relatively high levels of methamphetamine residue on sampled surfaces (levels greater than 30 μg of methamphetamine per 100 cm2 surface area are thought to be indicative of manufacturing activity). There is some evidence for adverse physiological and behavioural symptoms associated with third-hand exposure to former meth labs that used solvent-based production methods, but these symptoms mostly relate to the other toxic chemicals in the environment released during the manufacturing process, rather than to methamphetamine itself.

• However, there are no published (or robust, unpublished) data relating to health risks of residing in a dwelling formerly used only for smoking methamphetamine. Yet, given the relatively low number of confirmed meth labs found, and the very low average levels of methamphetamine found in most houses that test positive for the drug, most New Zealanders will only ever encounter very low levels of residue that are the result of methamphetamine use. . . 

In the past meth users were evicted from state houses, now Housing NZ will let meth users stay in their houses and try to get them help.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said Housing New Zealand is a landlord for some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

He said if the agency discovers a tenant is smoking meth, it will try to help them. . . 

He said the response from Housing NZ now was to treat people using meth as a health issue.

“Under the old government the policy was to make that person homeless – the worst possible thing that you could do.

“If someone’s got a drug addiction problem, you couldn’t do anything more calculated than to make them vulnerable to greater risk in their health, and in fact incurring greater expense to the taxpayer than throwing them out of their home and making them homeless.

“Housing New Zealand is a landlord … they’re not the police.

There is merit in treating drug use as a health issue and  trying to find help for addicts.

But I am concerned that this policy sends a message it’s fine to smoke in other people’s houses.

All landlords have the right to tell tenants they can’t smoke anything – legal or illegal – in their houses.

We have a strict no smoking rule in all our farm houses. One of our sharemilkers goes further, telling his staff the whole farm is smoke-free.

Property owners and employers have a right to do that.

Another thing to remember is that no evidence of harm is not the same as proof of no harm.

Science is rarely settled and regardless of what the research has found, I wouldn’t want to live in a house where people had been smoking meth.


Quote of the day

June 27, 2018

The extent to which all people in our society are made to count, and believe that they count, is not just a measure of decency; it makes sound economic sense. Mary McAleese who celebrates her 67th birthday today.


June 27 in history

June 27, 2018

1358  Republic of Dubrovnik was founded.

1709  Peter the Great defeated Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava.

1743  War of the Austrian Succession: Battle of Dettingen: On the battlefield in Bavaria, George II personally led troops into battle. The last time that a British monarch would command troops in the field.

1759  General James Wolfe began the siege of Quebec.

1838 Paul von Mauser, German weapon designer, was born (d. 1914)

1844  Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his brother Hyrum Smith, were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.

1846 Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish independence fighter, was born (d. 1891).

1850 Jørgen Pedersen Gram, Danish mathematician, was born (d. 1919).

1865 Sir John Monash, Australian military commander, was born (d. 1931).

1869 Emma Goldman, Lithuanian/American anarchist and feminist, was born (d. 1940).

1880 Helen Keller, American deaf and blind activist, was born (d. 1968).

1895  The inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Bluefrom Washington, D.C., to New York City, the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.

1898  The first solo circumnavigation of the globe was completed byJoshua Slocum.

1905  (June 14 according to the Julian calendar): Battleship Potemkin uprising: sailors started a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.

1923  Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane.

1936 – An estimated crowd of 1200 Māori and Pākehā from around the country converged on Manukorihi Pā in Waitara, Taranaki, to attend theunveiling of a memorial to ‘one of New Zealand’s greatest men’, Sir Māui Pōmare.

Māui Pōmare memorial unveiled

1941  Romanian governmental forces, allies of Nazi Germany, launched one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history in the city of Iaşi, resulting in the murder of at least 13,266 Jews.

1941  German troops captured the city of Białystok during Operation Barbarossa.

1942 Bruce Johnston, American musician (The Beach Boys) was born.

1950  The United States decided to send troops to fight in the Korean War.

1951 Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, was born.

1954  The world’s first nuclear power station opened in Obninsk, near Moscow.

1967 The world’s first ATM was installed in Enfield, London.

1970 John Eales, Australian Rugby Player, was born.

1973  The President of Uruguay, Juan María Bordaberry,  dissolved Parliament and headed a coup d’état.

1974  U.S president Richard Nixon visited the U.S.S.R..

1975 Mark Williams reached No 1 with Yesterday Was Just The Beginning of  My Life.

Mark Williams hits No. 1

1976 Air France Flight 139  was hijacked en route to Paris by the PLO and redirected to Entebbe, Uganda.

1977  France granted independence to Djibouti.

1982  Space Shuttle Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on the final research and development flight mission, STS-4.

1989 The current international treaty defending indigenous peoples, ILO 169 convention, was adopted.

1991  Slovenia  was invaded by Yugoslav troops, tanks, and aircraft, starting the Ten-Day War.

2007 The Brazilian Military Police invaded the favelas (slums)of Complexo do Alemão in an episode which is remembered as the Complexo do Alemão massacre.

2008 – In a highly-scrutinised election President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is re-elected in a landslide after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn a week earlier, citing violence against his party’s supporters.

2013 – NASA launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a space probe to observe the Sun.

2014 – At least fourteen people were killed when a Gas Authority of India Limited pipeline exploded in the East Godavari district ofAndhra Pradesh, India.

2015 – A midair explosion from flammable powder at a recreational water park in Taiwan injured at least 510 people with about 183 in serious condition in intensive care.

Sourced from NZ HIstory Online & Wikipedia


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