365 days of gratitude

September 11, 2018

A special occasion requires a special dress which in turn requires new shoes.

My farmer spotted some. They were sparkly, stunning and stylish.

I tried them on. I liked the look but there were two buts: they cost more than the dress and the visual appeal surpassed the comfort level by a considerable margin.

Today I’m grateful for the Presbyterian upbringing, tartan genes and requirement for footwear that can cope with a thousand acre stride that saved my feet from a decision I’d regret.


Word of the day

September 11, 2018

Manauhea – to be weak, in ill health; reluctant.

(It’s Maori Language Week)


Rural round-up

September 11, 2018

Climate change and rural confidence – Mike Chapman:

There has been a lot of talk in the media and in boardrooms about a drop in business confidence. This is also a hot topic in the rural sector, with some of the employment law changes causing concerns about the ongoing financial viability of businesses, and economic growth stalling. An additional concern for the rural sector is the impact of climate change adaptation on primary industry businesses.

Recent reports published on climate change include models that increase hectares planted in trees, and in fruit and vegetables. Some models have fruit and vegetables increasing from today’s 116,000 hectares used for growing, to 1 million hectares. That’s a big increase in growing area and for horticulture, it will most likely come from what is now dairy land. Forests are more likely to be planted on sheep and beef land. The challenge with models is that they make predictions, but turning that into reality may not be easy. . .

Waimea Dam investor that revived project remains a mystery – Erik Frykberg:

A mystery investment which helped get approval for the Waimea Dam project near Nelson is likely to remain anonymous for now.

The investment is for $11 million, and it helped Tasman District Council put the dam project back on course after it was blocked for financial reasons last week.

While little is being said about the investment, RNZ understands it comes in the form of convertible preference shares from an institutional investor, possibly a nominee company from in or around Richmond. . .

Waimea Dam decision good news for Tasman:

The decision by Tasman District Council to support a revised funding proposal to enable the Waimea community dam to proceed is good news for the district, says IrrigationNZ.

Without a dam, the council says that urban and rural water users will be facing significant water use cuts from this summer. This is due to a plan change introducing higher flow requirements on the Waimea River.

“The dam is the most cost effective way to provide a secure water supply for urban residents, business and irrigators while sharing the cost of this major project,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ Chief Executive. . .

Feeding and breeding are vital – Andrew Stewart:

A desire not to be anchored to machinery led Mike and Vicki Cottrell to try something new. They headed for the hills and have spent a quarter-century running sheep and cattle on medium to steep back country near Taihape. They told fellow Rangitikei farmer Andrew Stewartabout facing the on and off farm challenges of the farming life.

Venture southeast from Taihape and you come across the farming community of Omatane.

It is here that clean, green hills are punctuated with river chasms and rim rocks. In the distance Mt Ruapehu provides a stunning but sometimes chilly backdrop. Loosely translated from the Maori dictionary, Omatane means a fleeing man.  . .

New Zealand’s largest forestry acquisition goes ahead:

Australian sustainable forestry company, OneFortyOne Plantation’s (OFO) purchase of Nelson Forests completed this week, following approval by the Overseas Investment Office.

Nelson Forests, was owned by investment funds advised by Global Forest Partners LP (GFP), and is a vertically-integrated plantation and sawmill business in the Nelson Tasman and Marlborough regions of New Zealand. Nelson Forests employs 101 people fulltime and its business activity is further supported by approximately 350 contractors. . .

World not yet falling apart – Allan Barber:

Much to a lot of people’s surprise, the global economy is resisting the dire predictions of many commentators, just as the New Zealand economy continues to perform much better than businesses are prepared to accept. But it is far from certain whether this just a question of timing or the genuine possibility the predictions are exaggerated. Speculation, based on suspicion and anecdote, appears to be an unreliable guide to what is actually happening, so, while planning for an uncertain future is essential, it would pay not to ignore present realities.

For the agricultural sector, certainties include sheep meat prices at around all time highs, a high milk price, a fairly mild winter following good growth earlier in the year, continuing demand from trading partners, no new tariffs imposed on New Zealand agricultural products, a bullish, if potentially volatile, global economy, a stable domestic economy and an exchange rate which has stabilised at up to 10% off its 2017 peak. All these factors suggest the world isn’t about to end any time soon. . .

Owen River Lodge first fishing lodge to win at NZ Tourism Awards:

Luxury fishing accommodation Owen River Lodge near Murchison is the first fishing lodge ever to scoop a gong at the New Zealand Tourism Awards.

The 2018 Westpac Business Excellence Award, open to New Zealand tourist operators with less than $6m annual turnover, was presented to owner Felix Borenstein at a black tie dinner in Christchurch last night. . .


Micro matters not minor matters

September 11, 2018

BusinessNZ says the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is harmful and oppressive:

None of the provisions that most concern business have been removed by the select committee considering the Bill. . .

55% of submissions were against the Bill and thousands of emails sent to Parliamentarians by concerned businesses. EMA, Business Central, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association ran a high-profile campaign asking the Government to explain the reasoning for the Bill’s harmful provisions.

“Given current low levels of business confidence, especially among small business, it is unfortunate that the Government has neither listened nor explained its justification for the Bill.

Low business confidence is not political pique. It’s based on genuine concern about policy like this which will make it more difficult, and expensive, to run a business.

“Business cannot support this Bill and will be making our position clear as this Bill progresses through Parliament.

“BusinessNZ is also considering pursuing a claim to the International Labour Organisation or International Court of Justice on parts of the Bill which are contrary to international law.

“Business strongly objects to this Bill’s ability to harm employment relations, jobs and commercial value in New Zealand enterprises.”

The EMA is bitterly disappointed no heed was paid to concerns raised:

The EMA, along with its fellow regional associations, actively lobbied and campaigned for four key areas to be modified as it believed these will not deliver to the Government’s stated aims of a high wage and high performing economy, nor help businesses to be more productive. The joint Fix The Bill campaign resulted in at least 2254 emails being sent to Government MPs seeking clarification on how the changes will help their business succeed.

The four aspects of the Bill that were particularly worrying for business were:

– Employers with 20 employees or more will lose the right to include 90-day-trial periods in employment agreements. However, findings from a nationwide survey of employers found that the 90-day trial periods were useful for businesses of all sizes, to give prospective employees a chance.

A trial period is not just good for employers, it’s good for other employees. If a new worker isn’t up to scratch it impacts badly on workmates.

– Businesses will be forced to settle collective agreements, even if they don’t or can’t agree

And even if they can’t afford them.

– Allowing union representatives access to workplaces without permission

Any access, any time is not conducive to productivity.

– Not allowing businesses a choice to opt out of a multi-employer collective agreement (MECA)

This will not only means saddle businesses with agreements they can’t afford, it will stop a business offering staff better pay and conditions.

With more than 50% of New Zealand businesses employing fewer than 100 staff, the EMA is deeply worried the changes in the Bill combined with the raft of other legislation in the pipeline will unduly burden smaller operators.

Furthermore, despite rhetoric from Government that it is listening to business, this is a tangible example that ideology rather than solid public policy driving decisions and does not bode well for business going forward.

Throughout this process the EMA has been puzzled by how any of the proposed changes to the industrial relations framework will take the country forward in terms of the Government’s goal of developing a modern, nimble and high performing economy.

Taking industrial relations back to the 1970s will not take the country forward and it will harm rather than help the economy.

Steven Joyce writes:*

. . .Economic policy is in fact a three-legged stool, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and microeconomic policy. You can’t successfully operate an economy, especially a small one like New Zealand, without all three working together.

Microeconomics is everything that operates at the firm level in the economy – all the regulations and policy settings that impact directly on businesses. These are things like employment law, immigration settings, competition law, resource allocation, innovation settings, tax policy and the government’s investment in infrastructure.

It is microeconomics that drives much of firms’ actual operating conditions. Along with interest rates and exchanges rates, it is access to capital, skilled people, resources, markets, the necessary infrastructure and importantly the consistency of those settings, that tell the owners of businesses that it is a good time to invest and grow their business.

If you start playing with those settings in an arbitrary way while ignoring the economic consequences of those changes, then firms will simply stop investing. They’ll either wait until there is more certainty, or not invest at all. . .

Microeconomic matters, including employment relations legislation, are not minor matters.

They have a huge influence on the business environment and economy.

Any changes which add to the complexities and risk of employing people will have the opposite affect from the government’s stated aim of developing a modern, nimble and high performing economy.

But this legislation shows that this aim comes a very poor second to Labour’s need to pay back unions for their financial and personal support.

The legislation will be good for unions but not the whose interests they purport to represent nor for the businesses which employ them.

* Hat tip: Kiwiblog


Quote of the day

September 11, 2018

From our vantage point in a time when muck is being raked (and flung) vehemently and constantly twenty-four hours a day, the question of effectiveness is overwhelmed by the question of whether any person in America with access to the media remains shockable or persuadable.Jessica Mitford who was born on this day in 1917.


September 11 in history

September 11, 2018

1185 Isaac II Angelus killed Stephanus Hagiochristophorites.

1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly-led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated the English.

1390  Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392): the Teutonic Knights began a five-week siege of Vilnius.

1541  Santiago, Chile, was destroyed by indigenous warriors, lead byMichimalonko.

1609  Expulsion order announced against the Moriscos of Valencia; beginning of the expulsion of all Spain‘s Moriscos.

1609  Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan Island.

1649  Siege of Drogheda ended: Oliver Cromwell’s English Parliamentarian troops took the town and executed its garrison.

1697  Battle of Zenta.

1709  Battle of Malplaquet: Great Britain, Netherlands and Austria fight against France.

1758  Battle of Saint Cast: France repelled British invasion during the Souven Year’s War.

1773  The Public Advertiser published a satirical essay titled Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One written by Benjamin Franklin.

1776  British-American peace conference on Staten Island failed to stop nascent American Revolutionary War.

1777  American Revolution: Battle of Brandywine –  British victory in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

1786  The Beginning of the Annapolis Convention.

1792 The Hope Diamond and other French crown jewels were stolen.

1802  France annexed the Kingdom of Piedmont.

1814  War of 1812: The climax of the Battle of Plattsburgh, a major United States victory in the war.

1847 Stephen Foster‘s song, Oh! Susanna, was first performed at a saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1847 – Mary Watson Whitney, American astronomer and academic, was born (d. 1921).

1857  Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacred 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

1858 First ascent of Dom, the third highest summit in the Pennine Alps.

1860 – James Allan, New Zealand rugby player, All Black, was born (d. 1934).

James Allan.jpg

1862 O. Henry, American writer, was born (d. 1910).

1880 – Four children were killed and 13 adults injured when two rail carriages were blown off the tracks by severe winds on a notoriously exposed part of the Rimutaka Incline railway line.

1885 D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, was born (d. 1930).

1892 Pinto Colvig, voice actor for Goofy, Pluto, and Bozo the Clown, was born (d. 1967).

1893 First conference of the World Parliament of Religions was held.

1897 After months of pursuit, generals of Menelik II of EthiopiacapturedGaki Sherocho, the last king of Kaffa, bringing an end to that ancient kingdom.

1903  The first race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin was held. It is the oldest major speedway in the world.

1906  Mahatma Gandhi coined the term “Satyagraha” to characterize the Non-Violence movement in South Africa.

1914 Australia invaded New Britain, defeating a German contingent at theBattle of Bita Paka.

1916 The Quebec Bridge‘s central span collapsed, killing 11 men.

1917  Ferdinand Marcos, 10th President of the Philippines, was born (d. 1989).

1917  Jessica Mitford, British writer, was born (d. 1996).

1921 Nahalal, the first moshav in Israel, was settled.

1922  The British Mandate of Palestine began.

1922  The Treaty of Kars was ratified in Yerevan, Armenia.

1922   The Sun News-Pictorial was founded in Melbourne.

1928 Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm made the first successful trans-Tasman flight.

First trans-Tasman flight

1932 Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura, Polish Challenge 1932 winners, were killed when their RWD 6 airplane crashes into the ground during a storm.

1937 – Queen Paola of Belgium, was born.

1941  Ground was broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

1941  Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and the Roosevelt administration of pressing for war with Germany.

1943 – Brian Perkins, New Zealand-English journalist and actor, was born.

1943 Mickey Hart, American drummer (Grateful Dead), was born.

1944  World War II: RAF bombing raid on Darmstadt and the following firestorm killed 11,500.

1945  World War II: Liberation of the Japanese-run POW and civilian internment camp at Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, by Australian 9th Division forces.

1950 – Anne Dell, Australian biochemist and academic, was born.

1951 – Hugo Porta, Argentinian rugby player, was born.

1956  People to People International was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1961  Foundation of the World Wildlife Fund.

1961 Hurricane Carla struck the Texas coast .

1968  Air France Flight 1611 crashed off Nice, France, killing 89 passengers and 6 crew.

1970  88 of the hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings were released.

1972  Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, California began regular service.

1973 A coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet toppled the democratically elected president Salvador Allende.

1974  Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 69 passengers and two crew.

1977 Jon Buckland, British guitarist (Coldplay), was born.

1978  U.S. President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel agreed on the Camp David Accords a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

1989  The iron curtain opened between Hungary and Austria.

1992  Hurricane Iniki devastated Hawaii.

1997  NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars.

1997  Scotland voted to establish a devolved parliament, within the United Kingdom.

1997 14 Estonian soldiers drowned in the Kurkse tragedy.

1998  Opening ceremony for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

2001  The September 11 attacks in the United States.

2003 – The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety came into effect.

2004  Seventeen people were killed when a helicopter crashed in the Aegean Sea – among them were Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

2005 The Israel completed its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

2007  Russia tested the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of all bombs.

2012 – A total of 315 people were killed in two garment factory fires in Pakistan.

2012 – The first day of a series of protests and attacks; in which the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked, resulting in four deaths, including J. Christopher Stevens, the United States Ambassador to Libya

2013 – A 400 km long Human chain called Catalan Way was organized by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana for the independence of Catalonia.

2015 – A crane collapsed onto the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing 111 people and injuring 394 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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