Word of the day

April 3, 2019

Sabbulonarium – a gravel pit; liberty to dig gravel and sand; money paid to someone who digs gravel.


Sowell says

April 3, 2019


Rural round-up

April 3, 2019

Westland Co-operative Dairy demise is self-inflicted – Keith Woodford:

The approaching demise of Westland Co-operative Dairy (trading as Westland Milk Products) has come as a surprise to many people.  It should not have done so.  At the very least, either a partial sale or major joint venture has been inevitable for some years. Survival as a co-operative is now impossible.

Most of the people I talk to think the sale to Chinese company Yili is a very bad idea. West Coasters do not like it. Even Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor is of that opinion. And if a sale really is necessary, then the common perspective seems to be that it should be a local company.

In response, I say ‘dream on’. . . 

Taratahi owes creditors $31 million – Neal Wallace:

Employees will get what they are owed but nearly 1200 unsecured creditors will have to wait to see if they will be paid any of the $15.8 million they are owed following December’s collapse of the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.

An interim report by liquidators Grant Thornton says the sale of livestock will cover preferential creditors, employees, who are owed $2m, and Inland Revenue, owed $655,000, but there is no indication on the fate of other creditors.

Taratahi’s 518ha Mangarata farm is being readied for sale, over which Westpac has a secured mortgage, along stock, plant and shares. . . 

Crop work went like clockwork – Alan Williams:

Cropping demonstrations across cultivation, drilling, harvesting, balage and silage proceeded without a hitch at the South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee in Canterbury.

Twelve or so hectares can sound like a lot of land area but with several different crops being grown on adjacent strips and some machinery being 10 metres wide there’s not a lot of margin for error.

It helps that each crop and activity is worked at separate times but there’s still a lot of planning and a lot of people to organise. . . 

Forestry sales at record high – reports – Eric Frykberg:

New evidence is emerging of a booming forestry sector.

It follows last month’s report from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) showing 2018 forestry sales at a record high.

Since then, the Seattle based think tank Wood Resource Quarterly has highlighted New Zealand’s role in growing imports of logs by China.

Wood Resource Quarterly said the Chinese took a total of 40 million cubic metres of lumber through their ports last year.

That was over a third more than just three years earlier. . .

Cushing family’s H&G to buy 2.2% Wrightson stake from Agria – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The Cushing family’s H&G vehicle has agreed to buy a 2.2 percent stake in rural services firm PGG Wrightson from Agria Corp. for $8.3 million.

H&G has agreed to pay 49 cents a share for 17 million Wrightson shares, matching Friday’s closing price. Agria owns 351.6 million shares, or 46.6 percent of the rural services firm, having divested a 7.2 percent holding in December when Ngāi Tahu Capital withdrew from a seven-year pooling arrangement with Agria and Chinese agribusiness New Hope International. . . 

Record number of beekeepers have their say in latest check:

Almost a half of the country’s registered beekeepers have taken part in an annual survey to understand bee health, losses and beekeeping practice.

More than 3,600 beekeepers completed the 2018 Colony Loss Survey, which was carried out on behalf of Biosecurity New Zealand by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research.

“The numbers of beekeepers participating in the self-reporting survey represents 47 per cent of New Zealand’s registered beekeepers and 42 per cent of registered colonies,” says Biosecurity New Zealand’s biosecurity surveillance and incursion (aquatic and environment health) manager, Dr Michael Taylor. . . 

Miscanthus – a carbon negative crop:

Most annually harvested crops require a lot of activity to get them established, grown and harvested. They need cultivation of the soil, weed control, planting, fertiliser, harvesting, sometimes waste disposal, packing and loading on a truck. Most of them need all that every year. In many cases, there is further cultivation, planting and cutting of a cover crop during the off season as well. Again, every year!

Miscanthus on the other hand needs cultivation, planting and weed control – once in at least 15 years – perhaps 25 years – plus harvesting and loading on a truck every year from year 2 onwards. There is also no waste to be disposed of with Miscanthus. There is no need to cultivate the soil again, no need for ongoing weed control, no need to replant, no need for fertiliser in most cases.  . . 


Poverty stats government’s shame

April 3, 2019

The nine child poverty statistics that will be used as the baseline for improvement show released yesterday by Stats NZ show all but one have got worse under the current government:

David Farrar compares the stats under National and Labour:

  1. Percentage of children in households with income under 50% of median, before housing costs. 156,000 in June 2008 and 156,000 in June 2017 so no increase under National (rate dropped 0.3%). In June 2018 increased by 27,000 and rate increased 2.3% for Labour’s first year.
  2. Percentage of children in households with income under 50% of median, after housing costs. 329,000 in June 2009 (no data for 2008) and 247,000 in June 2017 so a drop of 82,000 under National (rate dropped 8.1%). In June 2018 increased by 7,000 and rate increased 0.4% for Labour’s first year.
  3. Percentage of children in households in material hardship. 196,000 in June 2013 (no data before that) and 140,000 in June 2017 so dropped 56,000 under National (rate dropped 5.4%). In June 2018 increased by 8,000 and rate increased 0.6% for Labour’s first year.
  4. Percentage of children in households with income under 60% of median, before housing costs. 252,000 in June 2008 and 243,000 in June 2017 so a drop of 9,000 under National (rate dropped 1.3%). In June 2018 increased by 38,000 and rate increased 3.2% for Labour’s first year.
  5. Percentage of children in households with income under 60% of median, after housing costs. 355,000 in June 2008 and 314,000 in June 2017 so a drop of 41,000 under National (rate dropped 4.6%). In June 2018 increased by 27,000 and rate increased 2.2% for Labour’s first year.
  6. Percentage of children in households with income under 50% housing costs for the base financial year. 258,000 in June 2008 and 236,000 in June 2017 so a drop of 22,000 under National (rate dropped 2.5%). In June 2018 increased by 18,000 and rate increased 1.4% for Labour’s first year.
  7. Percentage of children in households with income under 40% housing costs for the base financial year. 156,000 in June 2008 and 178,000 in June 2017 so an increase of 22,000 under National (rate increased 1.6%). In June 2018 dropped by 4,000 and rate dropped 0.4% for Labour’s first year.
  8. Percentage of children in households in severe material hardship. 84,000 in June 2013 (no data before that) and 74,000 in June 2017 so dropped 10,000 under National (rate dropped 1.0%). In June 2018 dropped by 9,000 and rate dropped 0.9% for Labour’s first year.
  9. Percentage of children in households in material hardship and under 60% median income after housing costs. 96,000 in June 2013 (no data before that) and 86,000 in June 2017 so dropped 10,000 under National (rate dropped 1.1%). In June 2018 increased by 12,000 and rate increased 1.0% for Labour’s first year. . .

Who would have thought it? Seven of the child poverty measures dropped under National, one was static and one went up.

And under the Labour/NZ First/Green government that purports to be compassionate and set reducing child poverty as a priority?

Seven of the child poverty measures worsened and only two improved.

What’s behind the difference?

Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English was determined to search out the risk factors which lead to poverty and the disastrous social outcomes that usually accompany it.

Having found them he used the social investment approach – spending more upfront on helping those most at risk. The higher short-term cost was justified by the expected reduction in the long-term human, social and financial costs should those at risk not be helped.

The compassionate and intelligent response of the Labour/NZ First/Green government would have been to continue and build on what was working.

The failure to do so is this government’s shame.

Instead it sabotaged business confidence, wasted money on policies including fee-free tertiary education and winter heating subsidies for people who don’t need them, and got soft on policies that used both carrot and stick for those who could be working but don’t.

Early days is no excuse, this government is almost half way through it’s first term.

It can’t blame National for what’s going wrong when under it, seven of the measures were improving, one was static and just one was going the wrong way.

The government has only itself and its ideological blindness to blame which will be no comfort at all to the families whose situation has worsened.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs on the causes of poverty:

The Canadian think-tank, the Fraser Institute has just released a paper which suggests an elegantly simple framework in finding three causes of poverty: bad luck, bad choices and enablement. The first two need no explanation. The third is described thus:

We can say that poverty is “enabled” when systems and structures are in place to discourage the kinds of efforts that people would normally make to avoid poverty, i.e., find employment, find a partner (especially if children are present), improve one’s education and skill set, have a positive outlook, and take personal responsibility for your own actions. Ironically, it is government programs (welfare, in particular) that are intended to help the poor but end up actually enabling poverty.

In NZ, many of our current influencers (MPs and media) pooh,pooh the idea that bad choices are responsible for poverty despite this being self-evident. They base their disdain for the idea on a belief that greater systems, for example institutional racism, drive bad choices. Of course when they do this they excuse bad choices and even compensate the person making them. Undoubtedly, most of those sitting on the Welfare Expert Advisory Group would hold views of his nature. . . 

The soft bigotry of low expectations is not a cliche, it’s a fact.

This government’s low expectations are enabling poverty and turning around the improvements that National’s policy of social investment were making.


Quote of the day

April 3, 2019

I owe a good deal to this journal. By unburdening my mind on paper I feel, as it were, in some degree to get rid of it; it seems made over to a friend that hears it patiently, keeps it faithfully, and by never forgetting anything, is always ready to compare the past & present and thus to cheer & edify the future. – Anne Lister who was born on this day in 1791.


April 3 in history

April 3, 2019

1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England.

1077 The first Parliament of Friuli was created.

1559 The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis treaty is signed, ending the Italian Wars.

1593  George Herbert, English poet and orator, was born  (d. 1633).

1791 – Anne Lister, English diarist, mountaineer, and traveller, was born, (d.1840).

1807  – Mary Carpenter, English educational and social reformer, was born (d. 1877).

1834 The generals in the Greek War of Independence stood trial for treason.

1860 The first successful United States Pony Express run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California began.

1865 American Civil War: Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia the capital of the Confederate States of America.

1876  – Tomáš Baťa, Czech businessman, founded Bata Shoes, was born (d. 1932).

1882 Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford.

1885 Gottlieb Daimler was granted a German patent for his engine design.

1895  Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde began, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

1898 – Henry Luce, American publisher, co-founded Time Magazine, was born (d. 1967).

1900 – Camille Chamoun, Lebanese lawyer and politician, 7th President of Lebanon, was born (d. 1987).

1911  – Michael Woodruff, English-Scottish surgeon and academic, was born (d. 2001).

1912  – Dorothy Eden, New Zealand-English author, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Piet de Jong, Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1967 until 1971, was born.

1917 Vladimir Lenin arrived in Russia from exile, marking the beginning of Bolshevik leadership in the Russian Revolution.

1922 Doris Day, American actress and singer, was born.

1922 Joseph Stalin became the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1924 Marlon Brando, American actor, was born  (d. 2004).

1934 Jane Goodall, English zoologist, was born.

1936 Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh II, the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.

1943 – The Battle of Manners Street between soldiers and civilians.

'Battle of Manners Street'

1944 Tony Orlando, American musician, was born.

1946  Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma was executed in the Philippines for leading the Bataan Death March.

1946 – Hanna Suchocka, Polish lawyer and politician, 5th Prime Minister of Poland, was born.

1948  Carlos Salinas, former President of Mexico, was born.

1948 President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

1948  The Jeju massacre began.

1956 Hudsonville-Standale Tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was struck by a deadly F5 tornado.

1961 Eddie Murphy, American actor and comedian, was born.

1968 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

1973 The first portable cell phone call was made in New York City.

1974 – The Super Outbreak occurred, the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history. The death toll was 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.

1975 Bobby Fischer refused to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.

1982 The United Kingdom sent a naval task force to the south Atlantic to reclaim the disputed Malvinas/Falkland Islands from Argentina.

1996 Suspected “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski was arrested.

1996 A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 on board.

1997 The Thalit massacre began in Algeria; all but 1 of the 53 inhabitants of Thalit were killed by guerrillas.

2000 United States v. Microsoft: Microsoft was ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

2004  Islamic terrorists involved in the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks were trapped by the police in their apartment and killed themselves.

2007  Conventional-Train World Speed Record: a French TGV train on the LGV Est high speed line set an official new world speed record.

2008 ATA Airlines, once one of the 10 largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years and ceases all operations.

2009  Australia formally adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2013 – More than 50 people died in floods resulting from record-breaking rainfall in La Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2016 – The Panama Papers, a leak of legal documents, revealed information on 214,488 offshore companies.

2017  – A bomb exploded in the St Petersburg metro system, killing 14 and injuring several more people.

2018 – YouTube headquarters shooting.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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