365 days of gratitude

December 20, 2018

Beef + Lamb NZ announced the annual Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards recently.

The Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards are New Zealand’s longest running culinary awards originally established back in 1997. For 23 years the Excellence Awards have been acknowledging the skills, expertise and talent of our greatest chefs. New Zealand is renowned for its world-class beef and lamb by locals and visitors alike. The intention of the Excellence Awards is to further extend the remarkable New Zealand food story by seeking out and acknowledging the great work our chefs do to contribute to this. The restaurants who currently hold the 2018 Excellence Award have not been compared with each other in the assessment process. Rather, they have been judged on their individual merits and style of cuisine. So, whenever you see the prestigious gold plate hanging on a restaurant wall, you can expect tasty, skillfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb dishes.

Among this year’s recipients, again, was Cucina in Oamaru.

We ate there this evening and, as we’ve come to expect, received a very warm welcome, excellent service and delicious food using fresh local ingredients for all of which I’m grateful.

 


Word of the day

December 20, 2018

Jólabókaflóðið – the Christmas book flood; the retail cycle in Iceland from the launch of new books to the reading of these books at Christmas.


Sowell says

December 20, 2018


Rural round-up

December 20, 2018

Arable farming the silent partner to sheep ,beef and dairy – Pat Deavoll:

There is an art and a fair bit of luck to growing arable crops. The water levels, the soils, the temperatures must be optimum. It must rain at the right time, the sun must shine at the right time.

“Then it’s, do I irrigate harder or hold back? Is the crop bulky enough? Will the bees pollinate?” South Canterbury farmer Guy Wigley says of the ordeal of closing in on harvest time.

“There was a harvest of several years ago when five inches of rain (127mm) and then a further three inches of rain decimated my barley crop.” . . 

50,000 cows culledin M bovis eradication bid:

More than 50,000 cows have been culled and 50,000 more may go as New Zealand attempts to become the first country to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Faced with a growing number of suspected cases at farms across the country, Kiwi lawmakers this year made a call to attempt what no other country before had managed – a costly, part-government-funded mass eradication.

The condition has serious animal welfare implications – including causing abortions and pneumonia – but poses no risk to humans or to food or milk safety. . .

Timely survey on working conditions in horticultural industry –  Anusha Bradley:

Several hundred people have been surveyed just as slavery charges were being laid against Hastings orchard worker. 

An insight into how big a problem modern-day slavery might be among horticultural workers in Hawke’s Bay could be known by the end of the week.

Workers from five of the region’s biggest growers have just been independently surveyed in a pilot study asking them about their working conditions. . .

PGG Wrightson’s seeds business to make a 1H loss after Uruguay woes – Jenny Ruth:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson says its seeds business will make a loss after tax in the six months ended December and that it has had to bail out its joint venture partner in Uruguay.

Wrightson also says its rural services operations have been “trading solidly, although slightly behind last year” due to a later start to spring sales and a delayed recovery following recent heavy rain across much of New Zealand. . . 

Latest study confirms an animal-free food system is not holistically sustainable – Sara Place:

Let’s be clear, a healthy and sustainable food system depends on having both plants and animals. Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech just published a study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences confirming this socially debated fact. The study examined what our world would look like without animal agriculture in the U.S. The bottom line? We’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2.6 percent, and 0.36 percent globally[1] — but we’d also upset our balanced food ecosystem and lack essential dietary nutrients to feed all Americans. . . 

Hortinvest launches extensive Lindis River cherry project:

New Zealand horticultural investment company, Hortinvest Limited has released a $15.5 million cherry orchard project at Central Otago to savvy investors seeking a slice of the premium cherry pie.

The 80-hectare Lindis River project near Cromwell is double that of Hortinvest’s first cherry orchard and significantly bigger than most currently planted in the region. It is projected to send between 18-20 tonnes per hectare to market in the lucrative cherry season when it reaches full mature production by 2025/2026. . .

Relief for drought affected farmers – Andrew Miller:

Drought-affected families are receiving a welcome and much-needed financial lift on the eve of Christmas.

The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service are providing financial support from the Federal Government’s $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative to people across parts of drought-hit Australia. . .


Higher min wage = higher prices + fewer jobs

December 20, 2018

The minimum wage will go up to $17.70 next April, the highest relative to the average wage in any country in the developed world.

On the surface it’s good news for workers.

Below the surface there are risks to jobs and the very real prospect of increased taxes and prices eroding any benefit of higher wages.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford points out, it needs to be at least matched by an increase in productivity.

“Research shows that any minimum wage increase has a cascading effect on workers paid above the minimum wage too. This particularly hits SMEs who are unable to pass on or manage their costs easily.

“We urge the Government to accelerate productivity-enhancing policies such as investing in strategically important transport networks, freeing up labour supplies to desperate primary industry employers, and raising the quality of tertiary education graduates.

“MBIE’s minimum wage review estimates the employment restraint impact from today’s announcement at 8,000. But Kiwis have already started to see an impact from the significant minimum wage hikes foreshadowed.

“The past four quarters added 6,000 new jobs per month on average, a marked slowdown from the preceding two years when over 10,000 new jobs were added per month on average, despite the currently hot labour market. . . 

Milford also points out that without tax reform much of any increase will be clawed back in tax.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association also points to problems if wage increases aren’t matched by increased productivity.

 The EMA’s Chief Executive Kim Campbell says, “When you take into account the current rate of $16.50 (up from $15.75 per hour) that came in on April 1 this year, you are looking at a 27 per cent increase in the minimum wage over a four-year period.

“That change was 4.8 per cent (75 cents), to be followed a year later by another 7.3 per cent ($1.20) increase on April 1, 2019. New Zealand already has the highest minimum wage in the OECD relative to the average wage.

“These are significant costs for business to swallow, particularly for those in the small-to-medium [SME] sector or for those large employers with significant numbers of young and entry level staff on the minimum wage.  

And who pays?

Mr Campbell said it was uncertain what impact such a large increase might have on the hiring intentions of employers but he expected such a large wage increase to be passed on in charges to customers and consumers.

“We do know that large increases in minimum wage structures in Canada and the United States led to large increases in unemployment numbers, but we are in an already very tight labour market in New Zealand where employers simply cannot find the staff they need.

“I think we are more likely to see increases in costs to consumers as a result, as many employers are already working to very skinny margins.

“Minimum wage increases also tend to flow through an organisation as other, higher-paid employees want to retain their pay relativity levels and seek adjustments to their own wage rates.

“That puts additional payroll pressure on employers who may also opt out of offering additional benefits to new employees to maintain differentials with existing staff.”

Mr Campbell says the main concern is that while additional costs and conditions were being heaped on employers through multiple changes in employment legislation, there was no focus on measures to boost productivity.

“There is no research anywhere in the world that shows simply boosting wages (and therefore costs) leads to an increase in productivity,” Mr Campbell says.

It doesn’t increase productivity and it can and does have other perverse outcomes.

When wages for resthome carers was increased the difference between their wages and that of registered nurses led to some nurses opting to work as carers rather than nurses.

The added responsibility and stress that came with the nurse’s role simply wasn’t enough to justify the smaller difference in pay.

Arbitary increases in wages also leads to employers seeking ways to do more with fewer staff.

A friend who is in horticulture increases mechanisation every time changes to wages and conditions make it more expensive and difficult to employ people.

Nationals employment spokesman Scott Simpson says:

“You simply can’t just legislate your way to prosperity – if you could you’d simply make the minimum wage $50. But artificially inflating wages is no substitute for an economic plan. . .”

The plan that’s needed for increased productivity to sustain higher wages must include tax reform – at the very least a change in tax brackets to reflect inflation.

It must also include other policies which encourage businesses to take the risks and make the investments necessary the for growth which safeguards existing jobs and provides opportunities for new ones.

 


Quote of the day

December 20, 2018

In the long run, will our community not be a stronger, better balanced and more intelligent community when the last artificial disabilities imposed upon women by centuries of custom have been removed?Sir Robert Menzies who was born on this day in 1894.


December 20 in history

December 20, 2018

69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, entered Rome to claim the title of emperor.

217 – The papacy of Zephyrinus ended. Callixtus I was elected as the sixteenth pope, but was opposed by the theologian Hippolytus who accused him of laxity and of being a Modalist, one who denies any distinction between the three persons of the Trinity.

1192  Richard the Lion-Heart was captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade.

1522 – Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase was completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.

1832 – New Zealand’s first cricket match took place on the foreshore at Horotutu.

New Zealand’s first cricket match

1865 – Elsie De Wolfe, American socialite and interior decorator, was born  (d. 1950).

1868 Harvey Firestone, American automobile pioneer, was born (d. 1938).

1894  Sir Robert Menzies, 12th Prime Minister of Australia was born (d. 1978).

1898 – Konstantinos Dovas, Greek general and politician, 156th Prime Minister of Greece, was born (d. 1973).

1901  Robert Van de Graaff, American physicist and inventor, was born  (d. 1967).

1907  Paul Francis Webster, songwriter, was born  (d. 1984).

1913 The Great Strike of 1913, which began in late October when Wellington waterside workers stopped work, ended when the United Federation of Labour (UFL) conceded defeat.

Waterfront strike ends

1927  Kim Young-sam, first civilian President of South Korea after a series of dictatorships, was born.

1944  Bobby Colomby, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.

1945 Peter Criss, American drummer and singer (Kiss), was born.

1948 Alan Parsons, British music producer and artist, was born.

1951 The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricy.  The electricity powered four light bulbs.

1955 – Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

1957  Billy Bragg, English singer and songwriter, was born.

1973 Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, was assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.

1984 The Summit tunnel fire, the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million litres of petrol derails near the town of Todmorden in the Pennines.

1987 History’s worst peacetime sea disaster, when the passenger ferryDoña Paz sank after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines  killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).

1988 The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was signed in Vienna

1989  United States invasion of Panama: The United States sent troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega.

1995  NATO began peacekeeping in Bosnia.

1996 NeXT merged with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.

1999 Macau was handed over to the People’s Republic of China by Portugal.

2007  Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.

2007 – The painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by Pablo Picasso, was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art, along with O Lavrador de Café, by the major Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari.

2013  – China successfully launched the Bolivian Túpac Katari 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.

2014  – Two police officers of the New York City Police Department were shot and killed, allegedly in retaliation against the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: