365 days of gratitude

August 13, 2018

Jokes about accountants and lawyers abound, few if any show them in a positive light.

The accounting and legal professionals I know in real life are nothing like those in the jokes.

They are helpful, knowledgeable and completely trustworthy for all of which I’m grateful.

 


Word of the day

August 13, 2018

Hurple – to draw one’s limbs in and scrunch up the shoulders in reaction to the cold or in a storm; an impediment similar to a limp.


Rural round-up

August 13, 2018

Synlait Milk’s $2b man John Penno only wanted to be a farmer – Heather Chalmers:

John Penno says he only wanted to be a farmer; instead he set up a major export dairy company.   

On August 10, the Synlait Milk managing director officially stepped down after turning a bare paddock near Dunsandel in Central Canterbury into a multi-product company now worth $2 billion.

With a second $260 million nutritional powder manufacturing site at Pokeno, in north Waikato, set to start processing next year for the 2019-20 season, the company had much more growth to come, he said.   . . 

Lake Opuha holds out for last minute winter snow – Pat Deavoll:

It’s not just the ski fields looking for a late-season top-up of snow.

Opuha Water chief executive Andrew Mockford is hoping “mother nature will finish the winter with a flourish” and provide the much-needed snow to melt and fill irrigation reservoir Lake Opuha in South Canterbury.

There was less snow than usual this year and it was higher up the mountain, he said. . . 

 

Red meat sector confident despite some head winds – Allan Barber:

Since I attended the 2016 conference, having missed last year’s, several things have changed considerably: two years ago Donald Trump wasn’t President, Silver Fern Farms hadn’t concluded its capital raising with a Chinese investor, alternative proteins and non-meat burgers weren’t on the industry’s radar and there was little recognition of the need for a Red Meat Story.

This year the conference programme acknowledged these changes by focusing on disruption to global trade, the China influence, heightened consumer expectations, the effects of the digital revolution and the importance of building consumer trust by telling our story about product provenance, traceability and environmental credibility. The conference was very well attended by farmers, processors and service providers, all of whom were optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead of an industry which has faced many different threats to its survival in the past 140 years. . . 

Unyielding weather for European fruit and vegetable growers, how is the heat impacting crops?

Wrinkled tomato skins, curly cucumbers and small plums – these are some of the effects of drought on fruit and vegetables in Northern Europe. Exactly how great is the impact of heat and water shortages on crops, yields and growers in the region?

Hot and dry weather affects field crop farming the most, says Cindy van Rijswick, RaboResearch Fruit and Vegetable Analyst. “Yields are lower, but fruits and vegetables are also smaller in size and sometimes have quality issues. Because of the high temperatures or lack of water, growers have smaller plums, wrinkled tomatoes, and more misshapen cucumbers. In the coming months, the harvest of apples, pears and potatoes may potentially be smaller in size and yield too.” . . 

Agribusiness professional wins Future Leader role:

As a full-time rural valuer and part-time farmer George Macmillan has insights into many aspects of the agricultural industry.

Based in the Hawkes Bay, he lives close to his family’s 380ha sheep and beef farm south west of Hastings and has recently taken over the lease of a 50ha block. As a foot in the door towards land ownership, he will use the block to grow out the dairy cross beef calves he rears every year to heavier weights and will possibly finish a small number.

George, along with Northland farmer Mack Talbot Lynn, has been appointed a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Future Leader and will represent New Zealand at the International Beef Alliance conference in Canada in September. . .

For farmers, traumas tariffs are far worse than any bad trade deal – Bart Ruth:

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to open new markets to trade, rein in regulatory overreach, cut government spending, and rebuild infrastructure and communication networks to enable rural America to compete in the global economy.

While there have been some positive changes under President Trump – when it comes to American agriculture, we are headed toward economic disaster.

As a sixth-generation farmer and a lifelong Republican, I am alarmed over the impacts that the administration’s actions are having on the agriculture economy and rural America. President Trump has shown a blatant disregard for international institutions, sound science, proven economic theory, and the history of protectionist policy. . .


Case for more MPs?

August 13, 2018

Michael Reddell at Croaking Cassandra puts the case for more MPs.

One of my kids is quite sympathetic to ACT.  So when the news emerged yesterday that ACT was adopting NZ First policy, and calling for a reduction in the size of Parliament to 120 MPs, we had a bit of a chat and I offered a few alternative perspectives.

One of those alternative perspectives is captured in this nice chart from a Czech mathematican and blogger. . .

He shows that we aren’t over represented when compared with other countries and reasons that more MPs could result in better scrutiny at Select Committees.

I agree and recommend reading the whole post.


2/4 for Act’s plan

August 13, 2018

Act wants fewer MPs a smaller executive and no Maori seats:

ACT is drawing a line in the sand on the size of government with a new bill aimed at rolling back the state.

Party Leader David Seymour today revealed his Smaller Government Bill which will reduce the size of Parliament to 100 MPs, limit the size of the Executive to 20 Ministers, and remove the Maori seats.

“The growth in government over the past two decades has not delivered better outcomes for New Zealand. We need smaller, smarter government”, says Mr Seymour.

“New Zealand has too many politicians for its size. Our Government costs more and delivers less than it did 20 years ago.

“The Smaller Government Bill will cut the size of Parliament 100 MPs, bringing us into line with other developed countries.

The number of electorates is determined after each census.

The General electoral population is the ordinarily resident population shown in the last census less the Māori electoral population.

All electorates must have about the same population size.   The number of South Island General electorates is fixed at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.  To calculate the number of electorates the Government Statistician:­

  • divides the South Island General electoral population by 16 (this result provides the average electoral population for South Island electorates and is referred to as the South Island quota)
  • divides the Māori electoral population by the South Island quota to work out the number of Māori electorates, and
  • divides the North Island General electoral population by the South Island quota to work out the number of General electorates for the North Island.  . .

If the number of MPs was reduced the size of electorates would have to increase and rural electorates are already far too big.

Clutha Southland covers an area of 37,378 square kilometres, West Coast Tasman is a little smaller and Waitaki covers an area of around 34,000 kilometres.  It doesn’t matter how hard, smart and effectively  MPs representing these electorates work, it is impossible for them to give the same level of service to constituents spread over these huge area as the MP for Epsom, the smallest electorate, which covers an area just under 20 square kilometres.

“It will also restrict the number of high-paid Ministers to 20. Our Executive is far too big – currently standing at 31 people.

“Almost half of the Government MPs hold a position in the Executive. We have too many pointless ministerial portfolios. They are not improving the lives of New Zealanders and this bill will do away with them.

Quality rather than quantity should be the rule for the executive.

Fewer, more able ministers would serve the country better, and at a lower cost, than the over-populated and under-talented one we have now.

“The bill will also remove the Maori seats. New Zealand is a modern, diverse democracy. There is simply no longer a place for one group of people to be treated differently under the law.

“We now have 27 Maori MPs, 20 of whom were elected through the general roll. Even without the seven Maori seats, Maori would still be proportionately represented in Parliament.

The problem of size in rural general electorates is even worse in Maori seats.

Te Tai Tonga, the largest, covers an area of 153,671 square kilometres and is nearly four times as big as Clutha Southland. It covers the whole of the South Island, Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, and extends into the lower North Island as far as the Hutt Valley.

It isn’t humanly possible to service an area that big effectively which means constituents are getting inferior representation.

In 2008 then-Maori Party leader Tariana Turia said:*

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

The seats by themselves didn’t give Maori a voice. They have also often given them inferior representation, sometimes because of the MPs and always because of their size.

The Royal Commission on MMP said there would be no need for Maori seats under this system, but that was ignored.

Its prediction that MMP would bring more Maori into parliament anyway has been proved right.

Getting rid of Maori seats is National Party policy. It was set aside in negotiations with the Maori Party after the 2008, 2011 and 2014 elections. It is New Zealand First policy and is now Act policy. That could mean a majority of parliament supports this part of Seymour’s Bill should it be drawn from the ballot.

Maori choose whether they are on the general or Maori roll every six years.

If the greater number of people switching from the Maori roll to the general one in the first month continues it will result in one fewer Maori electorate.  If that trend continued the seats would eventually disappear by attrition any way.

“Our plan would also require all parliamentary candidates to stand in an electorate, and all elected list MPs would be required to open an office in the electorate in which they stood.

“List MPs serve an important function in our democracy, but they should be required to serve New Zealanders and solve real problems, not just collect a salary and spend their time in a Wellington office. . . 

The requirement to serve New Zealanders and solve real problems should apply to all MPs but I wouldn’t go as far as requiring all of them to stand in an electorate.

Some MPs might be more effective if they serviced a nationwide constituency, for example an ethnic community, than a single electorate.

I give Act’s plan a rating of 2/4.

Seymour’s plan to reduce the size of the executive and get rid of Maori seats has merit.

But reducing the number of MPs is simply populism that would make already over-sized electorates even bigger and requiring all MPs to stand in electorates is a blunt instrument that wouldn’t necessarily improve performance.

* Dame Turiana’s quote was made on Agenda. The only record I can find is on a blog post I wrote here  where the link to the quote no longer works.


Quote of the day

August 13, 2018

Now all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly, and we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things.  – Lucy Stone who was born on this day in 1818.


August 13 in history

August 13, 2018

29 BC – Octavian heldthe first of three consecutive triumphs in Rome to celebrate the victory over the Dalmatian tribes.

523 – John I became the new Pope after the death of Pope Hormisdas.

554 – Emperor Justinian I rewarded Liberius for his long and distinguished service in the Pragmatic Sanction, granting him extensive estates in Italy.

582 – Maurice became Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire.

900 – Count Reginar I of Hainault rose against Zwentibold of Lotharingia and slayed him near present-day Susteren.

1516  The Treaty of Noyon between France and Spain was signed. Francis recognised Charles’s claim to Naples, and Charles recognises Francis’s claim to Milan.

1521 Tenochtitlán (present day Mexico City) fell to conquistador Hernán Cortés.

1536  Buddhist monks from Kyōto’s Enryaku Temple set fire to 21 Nichirentemples throughout Kyoto in the Tenbun Hokke Disturbance.

1553  Michael Servetus was arrested by John Calvin in Geneva as a heretic.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Battle of Blenheim – English and Austrians wona gainst French and Bavarians.

1790 William Wentworth, Australian explorer and politician, was born (d. 1872).

1792   Louis XVI of France was formally arrested by the National Tribunal, and declared an enemy of the people.

1814  The Convention of London, a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United Provinces, was signed in London.

1818 Lucy Stone, American suffragette, was born  (d. 1893).

1831 Nat Turner saw a solar eclipse, which he believed was a sign from God.

1852 (1855 or 1856 – exact date unknown) – Caroline Freeman, teacher, school principal and owner,  and first female to graduate from the University of Otago, was born (d. 1914).

1860 Annie Oakley, American sharpshooter, was born. (d. 1926)

1888 John Logie Baird, Scottish television pioneer, was born (d. 1946).

1889  German Ferdinand von Zeppelin patented his “Navigable Balloon“.

1899 Alfred Hitchcock, English film director, was born (d. 1980).

1907 Sir Basil Spence, Scottish architect, was born (d. 1976).

1913  Otto Witte, an acrobat, was purportedly crowned King of Albania.

1913  First production in the UK of stainless steel by Harry Brearley.

1914 – Sapper Robert Arthur Hislop was guarding Parnell railway bridge in Auckland when he accidentally fell, dying from his injuries six days later, becoming the first New Zealand casualty of World War I.

First fatal NZ casualty of the Great War

1918  Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

1918 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) established as a public company.

1920 Polish-Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw began.

1926 Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary and politician, was born.

1937 Battle of Shanghai began.

1940  Battle of Britain began.

1951 Dan Fogelberg, American singer/songwriter, was born (d. 2007).

1960 The Central African Republic declared independence from France.

1961 The German Democratic Republic closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin, to thwart its inhabitants’ attempts to escape to the West.

1968 Alexandros Panagoulis attempted to assassinate the Greek dictatorColonel G. Papadopoulos.

1969 The Apollo 11 astronauts were released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker-tape parade in New York. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon.

1978  150 Palestinians in Beirut were killed in a terrorist attack.

1979  The roof of the uncompleted Rosemont Horizon near Chicago, Illinois collapsed, killing 5 workers and injuring 16.

2004   Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, struck Punta Gorda, Florida.

2004  156 Congolese Tutsi refugees massacred at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi.

2005 Former NZ Prime Minister David Lange died.

Death of David Lange

2008 Michael Phelps set the Olympic record for most the gold medals won by an individual in Olympic history with his win in the men’s 200m butterfly.

2010  – The MV Sun Sea docked in CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils.

2011 – The main stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair during a hurricane-force wind gust ahead of an approaching severe thunderstorm, killing 7 and injuring 45.

2015 – At least 76 people were killed and 212 others wounded in a truck bombing in Baghdad, Iraq.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: