365 days of gratitude

September 6, 2018

These sweet peas self-seeded.

They poked through the ground a few months ago when winter was still making its chilly presence felt and I feared they wouldn’t survive.

But survive they have, weathering several hard frosts, providing me with an example of tenacity in the face of trials for which I”m grateful.


Word of the day

September 6, 2018

Elozable – open or susceptible to flattery.


Rural round-up

September 6, 2018

Daunting report puts trees first – RIchard Rennie:

A landscape full of daunting challenges for the primary sector as New Zealand transitions to a zero carbon economy has been painted in a Productivity Commission report of Biblical proportions.

While by no means confined to agriculture the Low Emissions Economy report studying steps to zero carbon by 2050 puts agriculture at the sharp end of main policy shifts its authors cover.

It calls for major land use change to increase forestry and horticulture.  . .

Kiwi agri women lead the way – Annette Scott;

New Zealand is leading the way when it comes to including women in agricultural businesses, Agri Women’s Development Trust executive director Lindy Nelson says.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment as the sole NZ representative at the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) 2018 in Papua New Guinea, Nelson was inspired by what she had to offer.

She was presenting as part of the agriculture and fisheries dialogue that had member economies addressing the importance of including women in the agribusiness value chain.

The focus of discussions was exploring practical ways of doing that. . . 

Fonterra split must be debated – Hugh Stringleman:

Further evolution of Fonterra’s capital structure needs discussion by farmer-shareholders, 2018 Kellogg scholar and dairy farmer James Courtman says.

Shareholders first need to settle on the direction of travel and whether the co-operative should be a strong player in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.

“Or are our values and risk appetite more aligned to producing high-value base products to sell to multinationals who already have strong consumer brands,” Courtman wrote in his Kellogg report.

“Neither option is right or wrong but doing one option poorly due to a lack of capital or misaligned strategy is not a good option for the business.” . . 

Apple and stonefruit industry members disappointed with revised MPI directions:

With one minute before the 5:00pm deadline set by the High Court, MPI has issued revised directions to the affected apple and stonefruit industry members, under s122 of the Biosecurity Act.

The directions appear to be as wide as the previous order, referring to the tens of thousands of apple (Malus) and stonefruit (Prunus) plants previously seized by MPI under s116 of the Biosecurity Act, which was deemed unlawful following a High Court judicial review. . .

Zespri forecasts jump in annual profit as it seeks to maintain value in ‘challenging’ market – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri Group, the country’s kiwifruit export marketing body, expects profit to surge higher in the coming year as it grows volumes and seeks to maintain values in “challenging” markets with higher volumes of low-priced fruit.

The Mount Maunganui-based company reaffirmed its forecast for net profit of between $175 million and $180 million in the year ending March 31, 2019, up from $101.8 million last financial year. It expects to pay a dividend per share of $1.35-to-$1.40, up from 76 cents per share last season. . .

Genetic solutions to pest control – Neil Gemmell:

New Zealand stunned the world in 2016 announcing a goal to eradicate mammalian predators by 2050. The key targets are possums, rats and stoats; species that cause enormous damage to our flora and fauna and in some cases are an economic burden to our productive sectors.

As all of these species were introduced to New Zealand from elsewhere there is little sympathy nationally for any of them and their control and eradication has been a key component of conservation and animal health management in this country for decades. Thanks to the work of many we can control and even eradicate many of these species at increasingly large scales. The success of these programs has seen a variety of ‘pest-free’ offshore sanctuaries formed, such as Kapiti Island and the Orokonui mainland sanctuary where many native species, including kiwi, kōkako, and kākā now have a realistic chance for population persistence and recovery. . .

MPI joins forces with forest industry on biosecurity readiness:

The Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (FOA) are joining forces under the GIA (Government Industry Agreement) to improve forest biosecurity preparedness.

The first jointly-funded initiative under this partnership will be a forest biosecurity surveillance programme designed to detect unwanted forest pests and pathogens in high-risk places.

FOA and MPI recently signed the Commercial Plantation Forestry Sector Operational Agreement for Readiness under the GIA. This agreement establishes a new way of working in partnership between the two organisations and will see a doubling of efforts to improve forest biosecurity readiness, says Andrew Spelman, MPI’s Acting Director, Biosecurity Readiness. . .

EPA: Views sought on new fungicide to protect arable crops:

The EPA is calling for submissions on an application by Bayer New Zealand Limited to approve a fungicide called Vimoy Iblon for use in New Zealand to protect cereal crops.

The fungicide’s active ingredient isoflucypram, has not yet been approved in any country.

Bayer is intending to market its use to control scald, net blotch, Ramularia leaf spot in barley, leaf rust in barley and wheat, stripe rust in wheat and triticale, and speckled leaf blotch in wheat. . .


She said, he said

September 6, 2018

Government policy is to increase the refugee quote to 1500, or is it?

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said:

. . . there was only an agreement to take the refugee quota to 1000, not the 1500 wanted by Labour.

“We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota,” Peters said when questioned by reporters.

When it was suggested Labour had, Peters said: “Labour’s not the government.”. .

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

. . .The Government remained committed to doubling the refugee quota, Ardern said.

“That is a commitment that we’ve made. It hasn’t come through Cabinet yet. What we have had to make sure that we can do is ensure that all of those refugees at this point can be resettled appropriately, and that we have the facilities to do that.

Increasing the quota to 1500 is policy of one part of government but not the other.

Whatever the number is, doesn’t matter nearly as much as what the difference between the PM and deputy say about the government.

This is the second time Peters has pulled the rug out from under Labour.

The first was when he ruled out striking out the three-strikes law just as Justice Minister Andrew Little was about to introduce legislation to parliament.

This is his second strike.

It’s unlikely to be his last and it’s very unlikely to be three strikes and he’s out because it was he who put Labour into government and they can’t stay there without him.

That’s what happens when you’re in government but not in power.


Um, ah, ah

September 6, 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern might still have confidence in Clare Curran but the minister doesnt’ appear to have confidence in herself:

. . . Curran stumbled over her answers in Parliament’s debating chamber, as she was forced to admit that Government business was conducted on her personal email. She was not forthcoming with a response about why she used her Gmail account for official business from “time to time”. 

Asked “what Government business has she conducted via her Gmail account”, Curran appeared flustered and claimed she’d answered the question before being told by the Speaker she had to answer it directly – she then required Lee to ask it again. 

Curran answered: “To the best of my recollection, um, ah, ah, I haven’t, um, I haven’t used my, um I’ve answered um OIA, ah, ah, OIA responses and personal, um and parliamentary questions correctly and to the best of my recollection, um, ah, you know, that, that has, that’s what I’ve done.”

It pales in comparison to the email controversy surrounding former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her 2016 presidential run against US President Donald Trump, but has raised similar questions over security and transparency of information.  . .

When you read Nick Smith’s speech in Tuesday’s snap debate about Curren’s sacking, it is easy to see why she might be lacking confidence in herself:

“We have a Minister of Open Government—actually, the very first Minister of Open Government that’s ever existed in this Parliament—and the promise of the Minister of Open Government was to be the most open and transparent Government that this country has ever had, and then what we find out from that Minister is that not once but twice that Minister behaved in a secretive, in a sneaky, and in a dirty way.

“Now, let’s come to the events that have led to Clare Curran’s resignation as the Minister of Open Government. Firstly, we had the incident with Radio New Zealand.

“Let’s understand how important that is. A free, politically neutral media goes to the heart of how our democracy works.

“We are not …  one of those countries where we have a State media that just spins the Government line, like you might get in a North Korea or a Zimbabwe. Here we have Clare Curran having private, secret meetings with the head of news—not some public servant.

“What is the Minister of Broadcasting doing having meetings—secret meetings—with the head of news at Radio New Zealand? There wouldn’t be a member in this House, not even my newest colleagues, that wouldn’t have a feeling that, well, that doesn’t feel quite right. ‘I’m the Minister of Broadcasting; I shouldn’t really be having secret meetings with the head of Radio New Zealand news.’

“But here’s the part that has me gobsmacked: the week after this Parliament admonishes her for being dishonest about the secret meeting, guess what Clare Curran does? She arranges another secret meeting, this time wearing the portfolio as the Minister of Digital Technologies.

“I’ve been here for 28 years. I’ve seen some Ministers goof it up. What I have never seen is a dicky Minister commit exactly the same crime just one week after there’s a massive controversy.

“Now there are only two possibilities here. Either she’s dumb, or she’s dishonest. I’m sorry, there can only be two explanations for that course of events that has occurred. . . 

Dumb or dishonest?

Oh dear, neither of those are qualifications for a minister inside or outside Cabinet and it says little for Ardern’s judgement that she couldn’t see that.

By taking the soft option of demoting Curren from Cabinet but allowing her to stay on as a minister, Ardern has made her a target and bought herself an on-going headache.

And while we’re not he subject of ministers who are out of their depth, this exchange between National’s Chris Finlayson and Labour’s deputy Kelvin Davis is instructive:


Quote of the day

September 6, 2018

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. –  Jane Addams who was born on this day in 1860.


September 6 in history

September 6, 2018

394  Battle of the Frigidus: The Christian Roman Emperor Theodosiu Idefeated and killed the pagan usurper Eugenius and his Frankish magister militum Arbogast.

1522 The Victoria, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world.

1620  The Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth on the Mayflower to settle in North America.

1628 Puritans settled Salem.

1634 Thirty Years’ War: In the Battle of Nördlingen the Catholic Imperial army defeated Protestant armies of Sweden and Germany.

1669 The siege of Candia ended with the Venetian fortress surrendering to the Ottomans.

1729 Moses Mendelssohn, German philosopher, was born (d. 1786).

1757 Marquis de Lafayette, French soldier and statesman, was born (d. 1834).

1781 The Battle of Groton Heights resulted a British victory.

1800 Catharine Beecher, American educator, was born (d. 1878).

1847  Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond and moved in with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family.

1860 Jane Addams, American social worker, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born (d. 1935).

1870  Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming became the first woman in the United States to cast a vote legally.

1885 Eastern Rumelia declared its union with Bulgaria.

1888  Charles Turner became the first bowler to take 250 wickets in an English season.

1901 Anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot and fatally wounded US PresidentWilliam McKinley.

1919 Wilson Greatbatch, American inventor (cardiac pacemaker), was born (d. 2011).

1930 Argentine president Hipólito Yrigoyen was deposed in a military coup.

1937  Spanish Civil War: The start of the Battle of El Mazuco.

1939 World War II: The Battle of Barking Creek.

1939 – Susumu Tonegawa, Japanese biologist and immunologist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.

1940 – Jackie Trent, English-Spanish singer-songwriter and actress, was born (d. 2015).

1940 King Carol II of Romania abdicated and was succeeded by his sonMichael.

1943 Roger Waters, British musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1943 The Monterrey Institute of Technology, was founded in Monterrey, Mexico.

1948 New Zealand citizenship was established.

New Zealand citizenship established

1948  Juliana became Queen of the Netherlands.

1949 – Allied military authorities relinquished control of former Nazi Germany assets back to German control.

1955 Istanbul Pogrom: Istanbul’s Greek and Armenian minority were the target of a government-sponsored pogrom.

1957 José Sócrates, Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1963 Alice Sebold, American novelist, was born.

1965  India retaliated following Pakistan’s failed Operation Grand Slam which resulted in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

1966 The architect of Apartheid, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, was stabbed to death during a parliamentary meeting.

1968  Swaziland became independent.

1970 Two passenger jets bound from Europe to New York were simultaneously hijacked by Palestinian terrorist members of PFLP and taken to Dawson’s Field in Jordan.

1972  Munich Massacre: 9 Israeli athletes and a German policeman taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games by the Palestinian “Black September” terrorist group died  at the hands of the kidnappers during a failed rescue attempt.

1976   Soviet air force pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko landed a MiG-25 jet fighter on the island of Hokkaidō and requests political asylum in the United States.

1985  Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, a Douglas DC-9 crashed just after takeoff from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing 31.

1986 In Istanbul, two terrorists from Abu Nidal’s organisation killed 22 and wounded six inside the Neve Shalom synagogue during Shabbat services.

1991 – The name Saint Petersburg was restored to Russia’s second largest city, which had been renamed Leningrad in 1924.

1997 Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales which was watched by a television audience of more than 2.5 billion.

2008 – Turkish President Abdullah Gül attended an association football match in Armenia after an invitation by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan; he is the first Turkish head of state to visit the country.

2009 – The ro-ro ferry SuperFerry 9 sank off the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines with 971 persons aboard; all but ten were rescued.

2012 – 61 people died and 48 others were injured after a fishing boat capsized off the Izmir Province coast of Turkey, near the Greek Aegean islands.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia


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