365 days of gratitude

August 4, 2018

Driving home on our road we round a corner and get a view straight into our farm with the downlands as a back drop tumbling down from the Kakanui mountains.

When ours was the only irrigated property in the district it would stand out in dry weather.

Today, thanks to irrigation and enough rain over autumn and winter, all the farms looked green with the promise of spring growth.

Regardless of the weather and season, it’s always a view that speaks to my heart and I’m grateful for the sense of homecoming that comes with it.


Word of the day

August 4, 2018

Hedonic – relating to, characterised by, or considered in terms of pleasant (or unpleasant) sensations; of, relating to, or characterised by hedonism; of or relating to hedonists.


Saturday’s smiles

August 4, 2018

A blonde started a new job as a teacher.

He noticed a girl in the playing field standing alone, while all the other kids were running around having fun.

He took pity on her and went up to speak to her.

‘You ok?’ he said.

‘Yes,” the girl replied.

‘You can go and play with the other kids you know,’ he said

‘It’s best I stay here,’ she replied

‘Why?’ the blonde asked.

The girl replied ‘Because, I’m the goalie’


Rural round-up

August 4, 2018

Property rights are being forgotten – Gerry Eckhoff:

William Pitt the elder (1708-78) got it right with a famous speech in which he said – in part – ”The poorest man in his cottage may bid defiance to the Crown. It may be frail. The roof may shake, the wind may enter, the rain and storm may enter but the king of England may not – nor all his forces dare cross the threshold of that ruined tenement”.

While Hunter Valley Station hardly qualifies as a ”ruined tenement”, the principle of security of tenure and the right to exclude the Crown and by association, the public, holds as true today as it did in the 18th century

And so the debate begins, yet again, 240-odd years later. There are those who seek access to every corner of this fair country but who choose to ignore the common courtesy of seeking permission of the owner. During the last tenure of the previous Labour government, Helen Clark sought to pass legislation to force a right of entry to all rural land which included freehold, Maori, and leasehold land, but especially pastoral lease land. . .

Kiwifruit Industry ‘New Zealand labour just not there’ – Kate Gutsell:

The kiwifruit industry is facing a shortfall of 7000 workers as it predicts it will double in value in the next ten years.

The industry body, Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, has released a report which estimates the $2.1 billion industry will generate $4b of revenue by 2027.

Kiwifruit is already New Zealand’s largest horticulture export and the report is forecasting production will jump by 54 percent, from 123 million trays to 190 million by 2027. . .

Westland Milk to review ownership as it strives to boost returns – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, whose payments to its cooperative shareholders have lagged behind rivals, may change its ownership structure as it looks at ways to improve returns.

Hokitika-based Westland said today it has appointed Macquarie Capital and DG Advisory to consider potential capital and ownership options that will create a more sustainable capital structure and support a higher potential payout. All options will be explored in the process expected to run for several months, it said. . .

Economic outlook the sour note in farm confidence survey:

Pessimism about the economic outlook is a sour note among the otherwise generally positive indicators in the Federated Farmers July Farm Confidence Survey.

This is the 19th time the twice-yearly survey has been conducted and for the first time farmer optimism has increased in all areas except their continuing negative perceptions of the economy, Feds Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says. . .

Farmers worried as Government increases costs:

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor confirmed in Parliament’s Question Time today that farmers will face ‘additional costs’ under his Government, National’s Agriculture Spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“Mr O’Connor has previously signalled a climate tax for farmers, slashed the Primary Growth Partnership fund and won’t fund any new water storage projects,” Mr Guy says. . .

The European Union rejected genome edited crops – Matt Ridley:

The European Court of Justice has just delivered a scientifically absurd ruling, in defiance of advice from its advocate general, but egged on by Jean-Claude Juncker’s allies. It will ensure that more pesticides are used in Britain, our farmers will be less competitive and researchers will leave for North America. Thanks a bunch, your honours. 

By saying that genome-edited crops must be treated to expensive and uncertain regulation, it has pandered to the views of a handful of misguided extremists, who no longer have popular support in this country. . . 

Tell your story by entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Farmers and growers are being encouraged to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for 2018/19. The awards are organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, a charity set up to promote sustainable farming and growing.

The Chair of the Trust is Joannne van Polanen, who farms in Mid-Canterbury. Joanne says “There’s a lot of discussion about the need for the primary sector to tell our stories. The awards provide an opportunity for farmers and growers to share the positive actions they are involved in with their local community and a wider audience.” . . 

Pact Group launch first rPET bottles for NZ milk producer:

Pact Group subsidiary Alto Packaging has announced the launch of the new 750ml and 1.5litre milk bottles made from 100% recycled plastic polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) for Lewis Road.

Malcolm Bundey Managing Director and CEO of Pact Group says “Pact is proud to have designed and manufactured these bottles. We are excited to be in partnership with Lewis Road and part of their journey to become New Zealand’s first milk producer to switch to using entirely recycled materials for these two products.” . . 


When tax goes too far

August 4, 2018

The theory of higher taxes to discourage and lower taxes to encourage is a good one.

Thus higher taxes on consumption and lower taxes on income and investments are generally to be encouraged.

However, taxing the bad can go too far and it has with tobacco.

I am anti smoking to a point just short of bigotry and don’t have a problem with taxing tobacco per se.

Price increases do generally push some smokers to quit and act as a disincentive to starting which is positive.

But tobacco tax has got so high it’s incentivising crime. That doesn’t justify the thefts but the benefits of the higher price are being outweighed by the rewards of the black market and the dangers which come from that.

The campaign for a smoke-free country needs to come up with another strategy than yet another tax increase.

More help for those who want to give up including easing restrictions on vaping would be a good start.

It should also take another tack by making smoking even more difficult.

It’s already not permitted in enclosed public spaces. That could be extended to outdoor venues such as pavement cafes, parks  and beaches.

It doesn’t have to look like Nanny-statism. It could be done not to persecute smokers but simply to safeguard the right to clean air and water for the rest of us.

Environmentalists are rightly concerned about the problems of air pollution and plastic in oceans, surely cigarette smoke in the air we breathe and butts that end up in lakes, rivers and the sea are at least as much a problem.

The government won’t be altogether keen on holding or reducing the tax because the it generates a lot more revenue than smokers cost in smoking-related health problems.

But if it is really serious about the smoke-free target it has to look beyond higher taxes.


Saturday soapbox

August 4, 2018

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.  – Mark Twain.


August 4 in history

August 4, 2018

1265 Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham – the army of Prince Edward defeated the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.

1532 the Duchy of Brittany was annexed to the Kingdom of France.

1578 Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir – the Moroccans defeated the Portuguese. King Sebastian of Portugal was killed leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir which initiated a succession crisis in Portugal.

1693 Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention ofChampagne.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Gibraltar was captured by an English and Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke and allied withArchduke Charles.

1789 In France members of the National Constituent Assembly took an oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges.

1790 A newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).

1791 The Treaty of Sistova was signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.

1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet, was born (d. 1822).

1821  Atkinson & Alexander published the Saturday Evening Post for the first time.

1821 Louis Vuitton, French designer, was born (d. 1892).

1824 Battle of Kos  between Turks and Greeks.

1834  John Venn, English mathematician, was born (d. 1923).

1854 The Hinomaru was established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships.

1870 Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer, was born (d. 1950).

1873  The United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashed for the first time with the Sioux, one man on each side was killed.

1900 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother), was born (d. 2002)

1901 Louis Armstrong, American jazz musician, was born (d. 1971).

1902 The Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opened.

1906  Central Railway Station, Sydney opened.

1906 – Marie José of Belgium, was born (d. 2001).

1914   – World War I: Germany invaded Belgium. In response, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The United States declared its neutrality.

1916  Liberia declared war on Germany.

1920 – Helen Thomas, American journalist and author, was born (d. 2013).

1923 – The 8.5-km Ōtira tunnel, which pierced the Southern Alps and linked Christchurch with Greymouth, was formally opened by Prime Minister William Massey.

1923 – Reg Grundy, Australian television mogul, was born (d. 2016).

1936  Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas suspended parliament and the Constitution and established the 4th of August Regime.

1940 – Larry Knechtel, American bass player and pianist (Bread and The Wrecking Crew), was born (d. 2009).

1942 David Lange,  former New Zealand Prime Minister, was born (d. 2005).

David Lange Posts a Letter.jpg

1943 Vicente Alberto Álvarez Areces, President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, was born.

1944 A tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they found  Anne Frank and her family.

1946 Dominican Republic earthquake of magnitude 8.0;  100  killed and 20,000 left homeless.

1947 The Supreme Court of Japan was established.

1952 Moya Brennan, Irish singer, was born.

1954  The Government of Pakistan approved Qaumi Tarana, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla, as the national anthem.

1958  The Billboard Hot 100 was founded.

1960 – Tim Winton, Australian author, was born.

1960 Paul Henry,  New Zealand broadcaster, was born.

1960 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1961  Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born.

1964  Civil rights workers Michael SchwernerAndrew GoodmanandJames Chaney were found dead after disappearing on June 21.

1964  Gulf of Tonkin Incident: United States destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1965  The Cook Islands gained Self Government.

Cook Islands achieve self-government

1965 Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, was born.

1969 Vietnam War: at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy began secret peace negotiations.

1974  A bomb  exploded in the Italicus Express train at San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Italy, killing 12 people and wounding 22.

1975  The Japanese Red Army took more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

1984  The African republic Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso.

1987 The Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.

1991  The Greek cruise ship MTS Oceanos sank off the Wild Coast of South Africa.

1995 Operation Storm began in Croatia.

2002 Soham murders: 10 year old school girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells went missing from Soham, Cambridgeshire.

2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaëlle Jean would be Canada’s 27th — and first black — Governor General.

2006 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers by Sri Lankan government forces, killing 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF).

2007 NASA’s Phoenix spaceship was launched.

2007 – Airport police officer María del Luján Telpuk discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared amount of US$800,000 as it went through an x-ray machine in Buenos Aires’ Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, sparking an international scandal involving Venezuela and Argentina known as “Maletinazo“.

2010 – California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage passed by the state’s voters in 2008, was overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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