Word of the day

October 28, 2018

Aril – an extra seed covering, typically coloured and hairy or fleshy; a specialised outgrowth from a seed that partly or completely covers it; an exterior covering or appendage of some seeds (as of the yew) that develops after fertilization as an outgrowth from the ovule stalk.


Close to the Ground

October 28, 2018

I still fly a lot in my dreams, she told us, but I try to stay close to the ground. At my age, a fall can be pretty serious. – Close to the Ground © 2018 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can buy books, posters, cards, ornaments and more and sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by email at Story People.


Rural round-up

October 28, 2018

Farmers’ green efforts unrewarded – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand dairy farmers are world-leading in many aspects of sustainability but not getting international recognition for their efforts, Federated Farmers dairy group chairman Chris Lewis says.

NZ is an echo chamber in which environmentalists and farmers hear themselves repeatedly, often without an international perspective or frame of reference.

“We think that if we solve our problems we are solving the world’s problems but we are a long way ahead of most countries.” . . 

On Farm story: sheep beat dairy temptation – Annette Scott:

North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Ben Ensor planned to take a year out after leaving school then head off to university. He hasn’t got there – yet but who knows what might happen, he says. Meantime, he’s passionate about the challenges of farming in the close-knit rural community of Cheviot. Annette Scott visited him to learn what drives him.

Ben Ensor grew up farming in the Cheviot district where the family name is synonymous with the small rural community in North Canterbury.

On leaving high school he looked forward to a year out of study before heading to university but that year grew to several as he first worked with a shearing contractor them worked his way around New Zealand on sheep and beef farms, climbing the ladder to stock manager status.

Then with a couple of years overseas and university fallen by the wayside Ensor returned to the family farm in 2000 as managing director of the sheep and beef business. . . 

Guy Trafford looks at our current struggle with mycoplasma bovis and compares that with how others have tackled other major animal disease outbreaks:

If anyone needed reminding about the importance of bio-security, then the report that Britain has had a reactor animal for BSE (mad-cow disease) should capture all‘s attention.

Found in the Scottish region of Aberdeenshire, the surprising thing that came out of the report, from this commentator’s perspective, is the regularity of these outbreaks.

This is the first since 2015, but over the last decade 76 animals have been identified over the UK. Given that in the UK 4.4 million animals were destroyed during the 1986 outbreak it shows the difficulty in getting rid of diseases that get a hold within a resident population. . . 

New device helps farmers to identify crop viruses faster – Stacey Bryan:

A new agri-tech innovation could help New Zealand farmers to diagnose crop viruses, according to an expert in molecular diagnostics.

An international team of scientists, including Jo-Ann Stanton from Otago University, have invented a hand-held device that can sequence a viruses genome so farmers can quickly identify the disease without leaving the field and act to mitigate it.

Dr Stanton, who is a senior researcher specialising in molecular diagnostics, said the technology was easy to use and had reduced the time farmers in Africa had to wait for diagnoses from six months to just four hours. . . 

On the farm: what’s happening around rural New Zealand:

What’s happening on farms and orchards around Aotearoa New Zealand? Each week Country Life reporters talk to people in rural areas across the country to find out.

A lot of the North Island is crying out for rain and farmers are checking the rain radar to make sure wet weather forecast for the weekend is still planning to arrive.

In Northland around Dargaville, the dry conditions have been ideal for planting kumara but now they need a drink as does the grass. The stock market is okay but would be a lot better if it rained. Next week Dargaville is hosting its spring cattle fair. There will be 1500 cattle to sell over two days and stock agents are hoping Northland buyers will be joined by others from around the North Island. . . 

Ag graduates’ innovation key to industry’s future:

 New Zealand’s agricultural graduates need to back themselves and the sector needs to welcome their insights in order to navigate the changing demands of farming, according to Massey agricultural alumni award winner, Bridgit Hawkins from .

Bridgit Hawkins spoke to over 250 graduates, industry partners, and educators at Massey University’s 25th Agricultural Awards Dinner, held in Palmerston North on Friday evening, before herself receiving The Massey Agriculture Alumni Achievement Award in her role as founder and Chief Executive of New Zealand agritech company Regen.

Raised on a Reporoa sheep and beef farm, Ms Hawkins completed a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Science in 1989. Now a leader in Agricultural technology, Regen provides technology for solutions for farmers to manage effluent and irrigation, taking the guesswork out of farming and reducing their impact on the environment. . .


Sunday soapbox

October 28, 2018

Sunday’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.

Image result for dawn french quotes

I love it when somebody makes me laugh – it’s what attracts me to people – Dawn French.


October 28 in history

October 28, 2018

306  Maxentius was proclaimed Roman Emperor.

312  Battle of Milvian Bridge: Constantine I defeated Maxentius, becoming the sole Roman Emperor.

1466 Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist and theologian, was born (d. 1536).

1510  Francis Borgia, Spanish duke and Jesuit priest, was born (d. 1572).

1516  Battle of Yaunis Khan: Turkish forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeated the Mameluks near Gaza.

1531  Battle of Amba Sel: Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi again defeated the army of Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia.

1538  The first university in the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, was established.

1628  The 14-month Siege of La Rochelle  ended with the surrender of the Huguenots.

1636  A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established the first college in what became the United States, today known as Harvard University.

1664  The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, was established.

1707  The 1707 Hōei earthquake caused more than 5,000 deaths in Honshu, Shikoku and Kyūshū.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Battle of White Plains – British Army forces arrived at White Plains, attacked and captured Chatterton Hill from the Americans.

1834  The Battle of Pinjarra  in the Swan River Colony – between 14 and 40 Aborigines were killed by British colonists.

1835 – Thirty-four northern chiefs signed a Declaration of Independenceat a hui called by the British Resident, James Busby.

Declaration of Independence signed by northern chiefs

1848  The first railway in Spain – between Barcelona and Mataró – was opened.

1884 – William Douglas Cook, New Zealand horticulturalist, founded Eastwoodhill Arboretum, was born (d. 1967).

1885 Thomas Twyford built the first porcelain toilet.

1886  President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty.

1890 – New Zealand’s first Labour Day celebrations were held.

First Labour Day celebrations
1891  The Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, struck Gifu Prefecture.

1893 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, received its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer’s death.

1903  Evelyn Waugh, English writer, was born (d. 1966)

1914 – Jonas Salk, American biologist and physician, was born (d. 1995).

1918 Czechoslovakia was granted independence from Austria-Hungary marking the beginning of independent Czechoslovak state, after 300 years.

1918 – New Polish government in Western Galicia was established.

1919  The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.

1922  March on Rome: Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini marched on Rome and take over the Italian government.

1927 Dame Cleo Laine, British singer, was born.

1929 – Joan Plowright, English actress, was born.

1929  Black Monday, major stock market upheaval during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

1936 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.

1940  World War II: Greece rejected Italy’s ultimatum. ItalyinvadedGreece through Albania, marking Greece’s entry into World War II.

1941 Hank Marvin, English guitarist (The Shadows) was born.

1942  The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks.

1948  Swiss chemist Paul Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT.

1949 – Caitlyn Jenner, American decathlete and actress, was born.

1951 – Peter Hitchens, English journalist and author, was born.

1954  The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands is re-founded as a federal monarchy.

1955   Bill Gates, American software executive, was born.

1960  Landon Curt Noll, Astronomer, Cryptographer and Mathematician: youngest to hold the world record for the largest known prime 3 times, was born.

1962  Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announced he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

1965 Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolved the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing Innocent III’s 760 year-old declaration.

1965 – Construction on the St. Louis Arch was completed.

1967  Julia Roberts, American actress, was born.

1970   Gary Gabelich set a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.

1971  Britain launched its first satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket.

1982 Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party won elections, leading to first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco. Felipe Gonzalezbecame Prime Minister-elect.

1985  Sandinista Daniel Ortega became president of Nicaragua.

1995  289 people were killed and 265 injured in Baku Metro fire.

1998  An Air China jetliner was hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan.

2006  Funeral service  for those executed at Bykivnia forest, outside Kiev, Ukraine. 817 Ukrainian civilians (out of some 100,000) executed by Bolsheviks at Bykivnia in 1930s – early 1940s were reburied.

2007  Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first woman elected President of Argentina.

2009 The 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing killed 117 and wounds 213.

2009 – NASA successfully launched the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation programme.

2013 – 5 people were killed and 38 injured after a car crashed into barriers just outside the Forbidden City in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

2014 – An unmanned Antares rocket carrying NASA’s Cygnus CRS Orb-3resupply mission to the International Space Station exploded seconds after taking off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

October 27, 2018

The flashing flights ahead of me alerted me to the presence of a police car as I drove home from Dunedin.

My car was on cruise control at the legal speed limit so I knew I wasn’t the target.

A few hundred metres on I came across another police car and several kilometres further north spotted a third.

Tonight I’m grateful for cruise control.

 


Word of the day

October 27, 2018

Uracil – a compound found in living tissue as a constituent base of RNA; a pyrimidine base C4H4N2O2 that is one of the four bases coding genetic information in the polynucleotide chain of RNA.


Saturday’s smiles

October 27, 2018

Einstein was invited to speak at an important science conference.

On the way there, he said to his driver, “I’m sick of all these conferences. I always say the same things over and over!”

The driver agreed. “You’re right. As your driver, I attend all of them, and even though I don’t know anything about science, I could give the conference in your place.”

“That’s a great idea!”  Einstein, said. You look like me, let’s switch places then!”

They swapped  clothes and as soon as they arrived, the driver dressed as Einstein goes on stage and started giving the usual speech, while the real Einstein, dressed as the car driver, watched from the back of the room.

But in the crowd, there was one scientist who wanted to impress everyone and thought of a very difficult question to ask Einstein, hoping he wouldn’t be able to respond.

The woman stood up and asked her very difficult question.

The whole room went silent, holding their breath, waiting for the response.

The driver looked at the questioner, dead in the eye, and says : “Madam, your question is so easy to answer that I’m going to let my driver reply to it for me.”


Rural round-up

October 27, 2018

Power prices heading north for the summer – Richard Rennie:

 Farmers looking to renew electricity contracts are being cautioned to expect a shock from new prices as the power industry faces tightening supply conditions amid strong demand from South Island irrigators for electricity.

Ruralco Energy general manager Tracey Gordon is dealing almost daily with co-operative farmer shareholders seeking advice as their electricity contracts come to an end and new ones are being set.

While electricity companies are renegotiating contracts with existing customers, those seeking new supply arrangements might find it more difficult to get on board. . .

Large-scale Canterbury irrigation project in new hands:

 An irrigation company has bought the resource consents for the large-scale Hurunui Water Project.

Shareholders on the Hurunui Water Project have voted unanimously to sell the council consents to Amuri Irrigation Company.

Amuri Irrigation chairperson David Croft said the company was aware of a strong desire for irrigation to be delivered to farmers south of the Hurunui River in north Canterbury. . . 

Agritourism witha  touch of southern hospitality – Tess Brunton:

Southland farmers have started looking for greener pasture – and tourist dollars – by welcoming visitors onto their working properties.

 It’s a niche market now, but there are hopes the region could become a mecca for agritourism.

Venture Southland has been running agritourism information workshops across the region this week, attracting more than one hundred people over four sessions.

Velvet prospects sound:

The velvet market during the 2018-19 season is expected to be reasonably stable, with consumption in Asia increasing in line with production growth in New Zealand.

Apart from a brief downward dip in prices two years ago, driven by uncertainty about regulatory changes in China, NZ velvet production and prices have increased for eight years. . .


Meat companies only have themselves to blame if meat prices are too high – Allan Barber:

 Seven years ago, the last time lamb prices were as high as they have been for the last 12 months, overseas customers suddenly decided enough was enough and turned off the tap, causing a sharp drop in price which reached its low point of less than $4.50 per kilo more than a year later. The difference this time appears to be a more gradual climb and a longer peak with no sign yet of a repeat collapse.

The other significant difference is the emergence of China as a key market, whereas in 2012 the traditional markets of UK, EU and USA had to bear the impact of selling to their consumers a product which had effectively priced itself off the market. Today the spread of market demand means more of the lamb carcase can be sold at a higher price; although this doesn’t mean there isn’t some risk of another collapse, there are greater signs of sustainability. . .

Why cows are getting a bad rap in lab-grown meat debate – Alison Van Eenennaam:

A battle royal is brewing over what to call animal cells grown in cell culture for food. Should it be in-vitro meat, cellular meat, cultured meat or fermented meat? What about animal-free meat, slaughter-free meat, artificial meat, synthetic meat, zombie meat, lab-grown meat, non-meat or artificial muscle proteins?

Then there is the polarizing “fake” versus “clean” meat framing that boils this complex topic down to a simple good versus bad dichotomy. The opposite of fake is of course the ambiguous but desirous “natural.” And modeled after “clean” energy, “clean” meat is by inference superior to its alternative, which must logically be “dirty” meat.

See the whole picture here.


Saturday soapbox

October 27, 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.

Image result for James K BAxter quotes

It is so pleasant to come across people more stupid than ourselves. We love them at once for being so. Jerome K. Jerome.


October 29 in history

October 27, 2018

312  Constantine the Great was said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross.

939 Edmund I succeeded Athelstan as King of England.

1275  Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam.

1524 Italian Wars: The French troops laid siege to Pavia.

1553  Condemned as a heretic, Michael Servetus was burned at the stake.

1644  Second Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War.

1728 James Cook, British naval captain and explorer, was born (d. 1779).

1795  The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Madrid, which established the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the U.S.

1811 Isaac Singer, American inventor, was born (d. 1875).

1838  Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issued the Extermination Order, which ordered all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated.

1854 – William Alexander Smith, Scottish religious leader, founded the Boys’ Brigade, was born (d. 1914).

1858  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th USA President, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born (d. 1919).

1870 Marshal François Achille Bazaine with 140,000 French soldiers surrendered to Prussian forces at Metz in one of the biggest French defeats of the Franco-Prussian War.

1872 – Emily Post, American author, founded The Emily Post Institute, was born (d. 1960).

1904 The first underground New York City Subway line opened.

1914  Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, was born (d. 1953).

1914   The British super-dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious (23,400 tons), was sunk off Tory Island by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.

HMS Audacious LOC 17766.jpg

 

1916  Battle of Segale: Negus Mikael, marching on the Ethiopian capital in support of his son Emperor Iyasus V, was defeated by Fitawrari abte Giyorgis, securing the throne for Empress Zauditu.

1922  A referendum in Rhodesia rejected the country’s annexation to the South African Union.

1924  The Uzbek SSR was founded in the Soviet Union.

1932  Sylvia Plath, American poet, was born (d. 1963).

1939 John Cleese, British actor and writer, was born.

1943  New Zealanders from 8 Brigade, New Zealand 3rd Division, helped their American allies cleared Mono Island of its Japanese defenders.

NZ troops make first opposed landing since Gallipoli

1945  Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, was born.

1948  Léopold Sédar Senghor founded the Senegalese Democratic Bloc.

1950 Fran Lebowitz, American writer, was born.

1953  British nuclear test Totem 2 was carried out at Emu Field, South Australia.

1954  Benjamin O. Davis Jr. became the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.

1958  Simon Le Bon, English singer (Duran Duran), was born.

1958  Iskander Mirza, the first President of Pakistan, was deposed in a bloodless coup d’état by General Ayub Khan, who had been appointed the enforcer of martial law by Mirza 20 days earlier.

1961  NASA launched the first Saturn I rocket in Mission Saturn-Apollo 1.

1962  Major Rudolf Anderson of the United States Air Force became the only direct human casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis when his U-2 reconnaissance airplane was shot down in Cuba by a Soviet-supplied SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile.

1964  Ronald Reagan delivered a speech “A Time for Choosing” which launched his political career.

1967  Catholic priest Philip Berrigan and others of the Baltimore Four protest the Vietnam War by pouring blood on Selective Service records.

1970  Alama Ieremia, All Black, was born.

1971  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was renamed Zaire.

1973  The Cañon City meteorite, a 1.4 kg chondrite type meteorite, struck in Fremont County, Colorado.

1981 The Soviet submarine U 137 ran aground on the east coast of Sweden.

1986  The British government suddenly deregulated financial markets, leading to a total restructuring of the way in which they operated in the country, in an event referred to as the Big Bang.

1988   Ronald Reagan decided to tear down the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow because of Soviet listening devices in the building structure.

1991 Turkmenistan achieved independence from the Soviet Union.

1992  United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay.

1994  The U.S. prison population topped 1 million for the first time.

1994 Gliese 229B was the first Substellar Mass Object to be unquestionably identified.

1997 October 27, 1997 mini-crash: Stock markets around the world crashed because of fears of a global economic meltdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average  fell 554.26 points to 7,161.15. For the first time, the New York Stock Exchange activated its “circuit breakers” twice during the day eventually making the controversial move of closing the Exchange early.

1999  Gunmen opened fire in the Armenian Parliament, killing Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, Parliament Chair Karen Demirchyan, and 6 other members.

2005 Riots began in Paris after the deaths of two Muslim teenagers.

2005 The SSETI Express micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome

2011 – The Royal Australian Navy announced that they discovered the wreck of a World War II submarine in Simpson Harbour, Papua New Guinea during Operation RENDER SAFE.

2011 – Michael D. Higgins was chosen in the Irish presidential election as the ninth President of Ireland by the biggest vote in Irish history.

2014  – Britain withdrew from Afghanistan after the end of Operation Herrick which started on June 20, 2002 after 12 years four months and seven days.

2017 – Catalonia declared independence from Spain.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

October 26, 2018

Autophagy – consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases; process of self-digestion by a cell through the action of enzymes originating within the same cell; destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell; controlled digestion of damaged organelles within a cell; the eating of one’s own body; the nutrition of the body by its own tissues, as in dieting.


Rural round-up

October 26, 2018

Tree planting plan lacks clarity – Neal Wallace:

The Government’s billion-tree planting programme lacks clarity with ministers delivering conflicting messages, Canterbury University expert Professor Euan Mason says.

Until there is consistency on the policy’s objective, definitive decisions cannot be made on where trees are planted, species, planting incentives and the economic and social impacts.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones views the policy as regional economic development and carbon sequestering as part of climate change policy. . . 

Guy Trafford assesses the mess the US dairy industry is in from the recent unintended consequences of bad trade policies. He also reviews Canterbury dairy farm sales activity:

While most involved in New Zealand dairy farming are aware that around the globe nobody appears to be getting rich in the industry, some interesting figures have recently come out of Wisconsin.

It is the second largest American state for dairy production based upon cow numbers currently, and it is notable for the wrong reasons.

Between January 1st and August 31st this year 429 farms have closed down. This is likely to exceed the record year for closures of 2011 when 647 farms closed. While many of the closures are at the smaller end of the scale – less than 100 cows – an increasing number are larger and over 300 cows. The reasons given for the closures are the low returns and growing debts over successive years. . . 

Red meat sector welcomes CPTPP ratification:

The red meat sector welcomes the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

New Zealand is now the fourth country to complete its domestic ratification process along with Mexico, Singapore, and Japan. The agreement requires at least six of the eleven member countries to ratify the agreement before it can come into force. Consequently, we strongly encourage the remaining member countries to do so before the end of this year. . .

Horticulture submission not nonsense:

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says he was surprised by the attitude of some members of the Education and Workforce Select Committee when he spoke to the organisation’s submission on the Employment Relations (Triangular Relationships) Amendment Bill today.

“I thank National MP Nikki Kaye for calling out the comments about our submission from Labour MP Kieran McAnulty. We appeared in good faith to speak to our submission and were speechless when we were told we did not understand what the Bill proposes and then had to watch the MPs fight about it,” Chapman says. . . 

Apple and stonefruit industry members successfully broker meeting between MPI and US facility to aid reaccreditation process:

The nursery and fruit-growing companies at the heart of the legal action against MPI over seized plants and plant material have been working hard to facilitate the rebuilding of the relationship between MPI and the USA-based Clean Plant Centre North West (CPCNW).

This facility has supplied New Zealand orchards and nurseries with new plant varieties for over 30 years and plays a critical role in the future of the New Zealand apple and stonefruit export industry. As part of MPI’s recent review and audit, accreditation of the facility was withdrawn.  . . 

‘Non-dairy milks? I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole’: Food journalist JOANNA BLYTHMAN destroys the healthy alt-milk myth:

Non-dairy ‘milks’? As a seasoned investigative food journalist, I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole.

So I’m sorry to see that people are forking out more for them than dairy milk. 

Coffee chains typically charge an extra fee if you want a latte made with an alt-milk – because we’ve been led to believe they’ll make us healthier, and that buying them is more virtuous.

Let’s look at how the vast majority of milk lookalikes are made. . . 

 


365 days of gratitude

October 26, 2018

It was a phone call that could have been difficult.

I was prepared for defensiveness, even anger.

Instead I got calm reason and good manners for which I’m very grateful.


One year on

October 26, 2018

It’s a year since the Labour-led (or, if you’re pandering to Winston Peters, the Labour-New Zealand First without mentioning the Green Party) – government was formed.

The sun is still rising in the east as it does regardless of who is in government just as most people’s day-to-day lives carry on regardless of the government.

But governments do stuff and what stands out about the first year of this one is that it’s done a very good job of spending money on people who don’t need it.

One of its first big spends was $2.8 billion for fee-free tertiary study, an expensive misdirection of education dollars to people, most of whom would have been studying anyway and who will go on to earn far more as a result of the qualifications they gain.

Another was the $60 a week payment to people who have babies. This is another scattergun approach that goes to everyone regardless of their circumstances which leaves less for those in genuine need.

The winter energy payment to beneficiaries, including superannuitants, was similarly misdirected. Requiring people to apply for it would have weeded out most of those who didn’t need help and making it less expensive to help those who do.

Then we have KiwiBuild – helping a few people on well above the average income buy a house while failing to address the underlying causes of the housing shortage.

Let’s not forget tax breaks for good looking horses and the regional slush fund.

And of course the plethora of working groups – the latest of which is charged with advising on whether to set up another:

Small business owners will be disappointed to hear that the Government’s Small Business Council is too busy to listen right now because it has been asked to advise on establishing a new working group, National’s Small Business spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“In a classic ‘Yes, Minister’ scenario, the Council has been tasked with advising Small Business Minister Stuart Nash on the establishment of a Small Business Institute, or to put it plainly, a working group will advise on whether to create another working group.

“The Council, which will also advise on its own future beyond June 2019, is one of more than 180 working groups hatched by a Government that came to office without having worked out its policies during nine years in Opposition. It prefers to use $135,000 of taxpayer money to pay for this working group.

“Not only that, but we haven’t heard anything from the Small Business Council since it was unveiled by Mr Nash two months ago. Mr Nash has also been silent, other than to tell us this week that he’s off to Australia to meet his counterparts.

“Small business owners might have thought a priority for this Government would be to listen to a group that makes up 97 per cent of all New Zealand firms and employs more than 600,000 Kiwis, given their confidence has slumped to a 10-year low. But that will have to wait. . . 

It’s not only small businesses that are waiting.

One-year on we’re all still waiting for policies which will make a positive difference where it matters.

This government, whatever you call it, has been very good at rhetoric, very good at giving money to people who don’t need it and sadly very good at mistaking more spending for better spending.

 

 

 

 


Quote of the day

October 26, 2018

The way to find a needle in a haystack is to sit down.” ― Beryl Markham who was born on this day in 1902.


October 26 in history

October 26, 2018

306  Martyrdom of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki.

1597  Imjin War: Admiral Yi Sun-sin routed the Japanese Navy of 300 ships with only 13 ships at the Battle of Myeongnyang.

1640 The Treaty of Ripon was signed, restoring peace between Scotland and Charles I of England.

1689  General Piccolomini of Austria burned down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera. He died of cholera soon after.

1774  The first Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.

1775  King  George III went before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorised a military response to quell the American Revolution.

1776  Benjamin Franklin departed from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.

1795  The French Directory, a five-man revolutionary government, was created.

1811  The Argentine government declared the freedom of expression for the press by decree.

1825 The Erie Canal opened – passage from Albany, New York to Lake Erie.

1859 The Royal Charter was wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, north Wales with 459 dead.

1860  Meeting of TeanoGiuseppe Garibaldi, conqueror of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, gives it to King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.

1861  The Pony Express officially ceased operations.

1865  Benjamin Guggenheim, American businessman, was born (d. 1912).

1869 – Washington Luís, Brazilian lawyer and politician, 13th President of Brazil, was born (d. 1957).

1873 – Thorvald Stauning, Danish union leader and politician, 24th Prime Minister of Denmark, was born (d. 1942).

1874 – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, American philanthropist, founded the Museum of Modern Art (d. 1948).

1881  The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

1883  Napoleon Hill, American writer and philosopher, was born (d. 1970).

1902  – Beryl Markham, Kenyan horse trainer and author, was born (d. 1986).

1905 Norway became independent from Sweden.

1909 Itō Hirobumi, Resident-General of Korea, was shot to death by Korean independence supporter Ahn Jung-geun.

1911 – Sorley MacLean, Scottish poet and educator, was born (d. 1996).

1912  First Balkan War: The capital city of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, was unified with Greece on the feast day of its patron Saint Demetrius. Serbian troops captured Skopje.

1916 François Mitterrand, President of France, was born (d. 1996).

1917   Battle of Caporetto; Italy was defeated by the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The young unknown Oberleutnant Erwin Rommelcaptured Mount Matajur with only 100 Germans against a force of over 7000 Italians.

1918  Erich Ludendorff, quartermaster-general of the Imperial German Army, was dismissed by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany for refusing to cooperate in peace negotiations.

1919 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, was born (d. 1980).

1920 – Sarah Lee Lippincott, American astronomer and academic, was born.

1921  The Chicago Theatre opened.

1928 – Francisco Solano López, Argentinian illustrator, was born (d. 2011).

1936  The first electric generator at Hoover Dam went into full operation.

1940  The P-51 Mustang made its maiden flight.

1942 The Women’s Jurors Act enabled women to sit on juries in New Zealand.

Women Jurors Act allows women to sit on juries

1942  Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands: U.S. aircraft carrier, Hornet, was sunk and another aircraft carrier, Enterprise, was heavily damaged.

1943 World War II: First flight of the Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil”.

1944  World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ended with an overwhelming American victory.

1947  Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State, was born.

1947 The Maharaja of Kashmir agreed to allow his kingdom to join India.

1948  Killer smog settled into Donora, Pennsylvania.

1955  After the last Allied troops left the country and following the provisions of the Austrian Independence Treaty, Austria declared permanent neutrality.

1955 – Ngô Đình Diệm declared himself Premier of South Vietnam.

1958  Pan American Airways made the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris, France.

1959  The world saw the far side of the Moon for the first time.

1964 Eric Edgar Cooke became last person in Western Australia to be executed.

1965 – Ken Rutherford, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1967 – Keith Urban, New Zealand singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Ranch), was born.

1967  Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowned himself Emperor of Iran and then crowned his wife Farah Empress of Iran.

1977 The last natural case of smallpox was discovered in Merca district, Somalia. The WHO and the CDC consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

1979  Park Chung-hee, President of South Korea was assassinated by KCIA head Kim Jae-kyu. Choi Kyu-ha becomes the acting President.

1984  ”Baby Fae” received a heart transplant from a baboon.

1985  The Australian government returns ownership of Uluru to the local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines.

1992 The London Ambulance Service was thrown into chaos after the implementation of a new CAD, (Computer Aided Despatch) system which failed.

1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty

1995  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Mossad agents assassinated Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki.

1999  Britain’s House of Lords voted to end the right of hereditary peersto vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.

2000  Laurent Gbagbo took over as president of Côte d’Ivoire following a popular uprising against President Robert Guéï.

2002 Moscow Theatre Siege: Around 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian Spetsnaz stormed a theatre building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists three days before.

2003  The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, killed 15 people, consumed 250,000 acres (1,000 km²), and destroyed 2,200 homes around San Diego.

2014 – Britain withdrew from Afghanistan after the end of Operation Herrick which started on June 20, 2002 after 12 years four months and seven days.

2015 – A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the Hindu Kush mountain range in northeastern Afghanistan, killing 398 people and leaving 2,536 people injured.

2016 – – An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck central Italy.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


365 days of gratitude

October 25, 2018

Yesterday temperatures were in the mid 20s, today we didn’t get to double figures.

I’m not enjoying the cold but it brought 20 mms of much-needed rain with it and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

October 25, 2018

Kame – a steep-sided mound of sand and gravel deposited by a melting ice sheet; a glacial landform; an irregularly shaped hill or mound composed of sand, gravel and till that accumulates in a depression on a retreating glacier, and is then deposited on the land surface with further melting of the glacier; a short ridge, hill, or mound of stratified drift deposited by glacial meltwater; a ridge or mound of stratified drift left by a retreating ice sheet.


Rural round-up

October 25, 2018

Formerly gagged Fonterra director seeks re-election – Sally Rae:

Former gagged Fonterra director Leonie Guiney says she can see very clearly how to solve the co-operative’s “reputational issues”.

The South Canterbury dairy farmer is seeking election to the board in this year’s director elections through the self-nomination process.

Mrs Guiney recently settled a defamation claim against the Fonterra board, over a letter the board sent Fonterra’s 10,000-odd farmer-shareholders explaining why it had sought a court injunction gagging her from speaking about the business.

She left the board last year after serving three years. She said she departed because she was prevented from re-contesting her seat when it came up by rotation, the New Zealand Herald reported. . . 

Transforming a ‘nasty little wet farm’ into an award winner:

When you talk to Matamata dairy farmers Rod and Sandra McKinnon about environmental sustainability it’s easy to understand why the couple won the 2017/18 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

When Rod and Sandra McKinnon bought a 44-hectare farm near Matamata in 1992 some people thought they were crazy.

‘I remember someone describing it as a ‘nasty little wet farm’, but it had a stream and some native bush and we could see the potential”, says Sandra.

Fast forward 26 years and following some serious hard work and expansion the farm (now 194-hectares, milking 400 cows on 155-hectares effective) is an award winner, with Rod and Sandra taking out the supreme title at the 2017/18 Waikato Ballance Farm Environmental Awards. . .

NZ Shareholders Association to vote against Wrightson’s sale:

The New Zealand Shareholders’ Association will vote against the $434 million sale of PGG Wrightson’s seeds division to a Danish cooperative.

The retail investor lobby says the mostly cash offer from DLF Seeds is attractive at face value, with a $292 million capital return attached. However, that short-term gain will shrink Wrightson to less than half its current size and leave it holding businesses inferior to the grains and seeds division.

“It seems to us that if shareholders accept DLF’s offer, they will potentially lose in the long run unless PGW can pull a rabbit out of the hat and grow the rump business,” the Shareholders’ Association said.

Discerning customers drive demand for West Coast butter:

New Zealand sales of Westgold butter have just soared past the three million mark, on the back of a consumer shift towards more natural fats.

Produced in Hokitika by Westland Milk Products, Westgold is marketed as the ‘everyday gourmet butter’. It appeared in nearly a quarter of Kiwi fridges last year, and Westgold’s salted butter was the third most purchased butter in North Island New World supermarkets, according to recent Nielsen data. . .

Allbirds: the billion dollar eco trainers brand that’s about to take London by storm – Chloe Street:

Two years ago, San Francisco-based sustainable sneakers brand Allbirds launched with one style of shoe: the Wool Runner; a pair of minimal, slightly fuzzy lace-up trainers crafted from superfine merino wool.

They were the first trainers ever to have been made from the material, and in the first week of trading, Time magazine wrote a splashy article billing them ‘the world’s most comfortable shoes.’

Customers – including half of Silicon Valley’s tech bros – and investors – including the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio – came in droves. Fast-forward two years and the company, who recently sold its millionth pair, has just raised an additional $50 million in funding, valuing it at over $1 billion.

Drystock farm offers a sweet opportunity :

A coastal sheep and beef farm – which also sustains an eco’ tourism business and commercial honey-production venture – has been placed on the market for sale.

Kawakawa Station at Ngawi near Cape Palliser on the south-eastern tip of the North Island is a 1,379 hectare waterfront property traditionally capable of carrying approximately 5115 stock units over winter. As well as running the freehold block, Kawakawa Station also leases some 785 hectares of adjoining hillside grazing land to feed the Romney herd. . . 

Substantial breeding and finishing farms go up for sale:

 A pair of adjoining sheep and beef breeding and finishing blocks – being run as one substantial farming operation serviced by its own airfield and fantastic laneway system – has been placed on the market for sale.

Combined, the two farms near Dannevirke in the Southern Hawke’s Bay encompass a total of 1,738 hectares of rolling countryside fenced into some 160 paddocks, and known as Rolling Downs Station. . . 

 


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