Word of the day

May 15, 2019

Buffalo – any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae; a large wild ox with horns that point to the back; to baffle, confuse, deceive, intimidate, outwit or overawe.


Thatcher thinks

May 15, 2019


Rural round-up

May 15, 2019

Tip Top sale half of debt target – Hugh Stringleman:

The sale of Tip Top to a joint-venture northern hemisphere company, Froneri, for $380 million has achieved almost half of Fonterra’s debt reduction target.

When its Beingmate shareholding is divested and a half share of DFE Pharma is sold, Fonterra should reach its $800m reduction target by July 31.

The Beingmate stake has a market value of about $280m and the DFE share about $200m, based on annual sales figures.

Chief executive Miles Hurrell has therefore made a good start on promised financial reforms of substantial debt reduction, cuts in capital and operational expenditure and 7%-plus return on capital invested by farmer-shareholders and unit holders. . . 

Gisborne woman takes out SI Sheep Dog trials event:

Gisborne’s Jo Waugh has won the zig zag hunt at the South Island sheep dog trial championships, the first time a woman has won the event in more than 100 years.

And not only did the 30-year-old and her huntaway dog, Guy, get on the podium, but two other women also joined her in the top seven, clocking up another achievement in the usually male-dominated event.

The South Island Sheep Dog trials were held in Hanmer Springs this week but farmers and shepherds have been competing since the sport first landed in New Zealand in the 1800s. . . 

MIE man changed priorities fast – Neal Wallace:

Richard Young was elected to the Silver Fern Farms board on a platform of industry restructuring and agitating for a merger with Alliance. Six years later the Otago farmer is the co-operative’s boss. He talks to Neal Wallace.

Richard Young vividly remembers the induction for new directors the evening before his first meeting as an elected member of the Silver Fern Farms board.

It was 2013 and the newly elected directors were taken through the co-operative’s accounts ahead of the annual meeting the next day.

It was not pretty. . . 

Tiny farm run on ethical principles– Sally Brooker:

An Alma family is proud to have set up the district’s smallest dairy farm.

Bethan and Bryan Moore have a herd of just 13 Ayrshire cows with calves on 6ha alongside State Highway 1. They will soon be selling milk in glass bottles.

The Moores bought the land about 18 months ago, after four years of sharemilking in Tasmania. Mrs Moore grew up near Cardiff, Wales and met Mr Moore, a farmer from the North Island, on her travels to New Zealand. . . 

Seeka cuts earnings forecast on smaller crop – Gavin Evans:

(BusinessDesk) – Kiwifruit grower and marketer Seeka has cut its full-year earnings guidance by $4 million due to reduced harvests in both New Zealand and Australia.

Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are likely to range from $32.5 million to $33.5 million in the 2019 calendar year, down from the $36.5-$37.5 million range the Te Puke-based company signalled a month ago.

Seeka, the biggest kiwifruit producer in New Zealand and Australia, said unseasonably hot, dry weather in both countries has reduced fruit size and crop volumes. . .

Meeting of Otago Drought Group – Sally Rae:

The work of the Otago Drought Group is a great example of farmers and their organisations collaborating to manage climate challenges locally, Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor says.

The group met again this week to update its discussions on the dry conditions in the Clutha district, how farmers were faring and what actions might be needed.

The group, which included Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead, representatives from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, the Otago Rural Support Trust and the Ministry for Primary Industries, convened early in any adverse weather event. . . 

Flying Pig cafe going to market:

One of the Waitaki district’s most recognisable restaurants is on the market.

The Flying Pig Cafe, with its distinctive porcine pink exterior, has long been a landmark in Duntroon.

It has been closed since illness befell its owners in early 2017, and is now for sale.

An Auckland couple bought the cafe in 2007 after discovering it during a holiday driving around the South Island. Business began to soar after the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail opened in 2014. . . 

Hi-tech boosts growers’ bottom lines:

“Incredibly clever” technology that elevates cool rooms into a state-of-the-art controlled atmosphere chambers is helping Hawke’s Bay’s growers make the very best of their crops.

It is not just about chilling fruit, it is about controlling the air conditions inside the cooler to hold it in the best possible state until market conditions are optimal; which could be any time over the 12 months after the crop has been picked.

Next week, growers have the opportunity to learn more about that technology from the Europeans who make it. . . 


Would you rather :

May 15, 2019

The fees-free policy is another government failure:

The Government has reallocated almost $200 million from the fees-free policy as part of Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s push to cull $1 billion of low-priority spending.

The money was cut as the enrolments were not as high as the Government was expecting. . . 

The admission it’s low-quality spending shows it was a policy that ought to have never made it pass the is-this-sensible test.

Universal fee-free tertiary education is neither necessary nor wise.

Nor, when there are so many other priorities, is it affordable.

Would you rather:

  • put more into helping children who don’t have the necessary pre-learning skills when they get to school?
  • put more into special education?
  • put more into helping children who are failing at primary and secondary school?
  • put resources into improving pay and conditions for teachers?
  • put more into writing off student loans for graduates who work in hard-to-staff occupations and areas?

Or pay 100% of tertiary fees for first year students many of whom don’t need the help and some of whom will fail?

The fee-free policy joins KiwiBuild and the provincial slush fund as a poorly thought-out and poorly targeted fail.


Quote of the day

May 15, 2019

Is it right to probe so deeply into Nature’s secrets? The question must here be raised whether it will benefit mankind, or whether the knowledge will be harmful. –  Pierre Curie who was born on this day in 1859.


May 15 in history

May 15, 2019

1252  Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which authorised but also limited, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition.

1514  Jodocus Badius Ascensius published Christiern Pedersen‘s Latin version of Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, the oldest known version of that work.

1525 The battle of Frankenhausen ended the Peasants’ War.

1536  Anne Boleyn stood trial on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she was condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.

1567  Mary, Queen of Scots, married  James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, her third husband.

1602  Bartholomew Gosnold became the first European to see Cape Cod.

1618 Johannes Kepler confirmed his previously rejected discovery of the third law of planetary motion.

1648  The Treaty of Westphalia was signed.

1701  The War of the Spanish Succession began.

1718   James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world’s first machine gun.

1755 Laredo, Texas was established by the Spaniards.

1756 The Seven Years’ War began when Great Britain declares war on France.

1776  American Revolution: the Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independencefrom Great Britain.

1791  Maximilien Robespierre proposed the Self-denying Ordinance.

1792 War of the First Coalition: France declared war on Kingdom of Sardinia.

1793 Diego Marín Aguilera flew a glider for “about 360 meters”, at a height of 5-6 meters, during one of the first attempted flights.

1796  First Coalition: Napoleon entered Milan in triumph.

1800 George III survived two assassination attempts in one day.

1811  Paraguay declared independence from Spain.

1817  Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1836 Francis Baily observed “Baily’s beads” during an annular eclipse.

1849 Troops of the Two Sicilies took Palermo and crushed the republican government of Sicily.

1850  The Bloody Island Massacre:  a large number of Pomo Indians in Lake County were slaughtered by a regiment of the United States Cavalry, led by Nathaniel Lyon.

1851  Rama IV was crowned King of Thailand.

1857 – Williamina Fleming, Scottish-American astronomer, was born (d. 1911).

1858 Opening of the  Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

1859 Pierre Curie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born  (d. 1906).

1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture.

1863 – Frank Hornby, English businessman and politician, who invented Meccano, was born, (d. 1936)

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Resaca, Georgia ended.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of New Market, – students from theVirginia Military Institute fought alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1869 Woman’s suffrage:, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stantonformed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.

1891  Rerum Novarum, the first document of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, was published by Pope Leo XIII.

1897  The Greek army retreated with heavy losses in the Greco-Turkish War.

1901 – First conviction in New Zealand for a motoring offence: Nicholas Oates appeared in the Christchurch Magistrates Court charged with driving ‘a motor car within the city at a speed greater than four miles an hour’ (6.5 km/hr) on Lincoln Road.

1905  The Russian minelayer Amur laid a minefield about 15 miles off Port Arthur and sank Japan’s battleship Hatsuse, 15,000 tons, with 496 crew.

1905 – Las Vegas, Nevada, was founded when 110 acres (0.4 km²), in what later would become downtown, were auctioned.

1910 The last time a major earthquake happened on the Elsinore Fault Zone.

1911  The United States Supreme Court declared Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and ordered the company to be broken up.

1918 The Finnish Civil War ended.

1919 – The Winnipeg General Strike begins. By 11:00 a.m., almost the whole working population of Winnipeg, Manitoba had walked off the job.

1919  Greek invasion of Izmir. During the invasion, the Greek army killed or wounded 350 Turks.

1920 Wanganui mayor  Charles Mackay shot poet and returned soldier Walter D’Arcy Cresswell who alleged that Mackay had made homosexual overtures to him.

Wanganui mayor shoots poet

1920 Council of Lithuania adjourned as the newly elected Constituent Assembly of Lithuania met for the first time in Kaunas.

1928 Mickey Mouse premiered in his first cartoon, Plane Crazy.

1929  A fire at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio killed 123.

1932  The May 15 Incident: in an attempted Coup d’état, the Prime Minister of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi was killed.

1934 Kārlis Ulmanis established an authoritarian government in Latvia.

1935 The Moscow Metro was opened to public.

1936  Amy Johnson arrived back in England after a record-breaking return flight to Cape Town.

1937 Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, was born.

1940  World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrendered to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.

1940 – McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

1942 World War II: in the United States, a bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was signed into law.

1943 Joseph Stalin dissolved the Comintern (or Third International).

1945 World War II: The final skirmish in Europe was fought near Prevalje, Slovenia.

1948   Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state by the British Mandate of Palestine  starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

1948 Brian Eno, British musician and record producer, was born.

1951 The Polish cultural attache in Paris, Czesław Miłosz, asked the French government for political asylum.

1953 Mike Oldfield, British composer, was born.

1955  The Austrian Independence Treaty was signed.

1955 – The first ascent of Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.

1957  At Malden Island  Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple. The device failed to detonate properly.

1958  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3.

1960  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 4.

1962 – Lisa Curry-Kenny, Australian Ironwoman, was born.

1963 Project Mercury: The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper on board. He beccame the first American to spend more than a day in space.

1964 – Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, was born.

1966 Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam’s ruling junta launched a military attack on the forces of General Ton That Dinh, forcing him to abandon his command.

1969 People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan had an impromptu student park owned by University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot called Bloody Thursday.

1970  President Richard Nixon appointed Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army Generals.

1970  Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State Universit by police during student protests.

1972  The island of Okinawa, under U.S. military governance since its conquest in 1945, reverts to Japanese control.

1972 Arthur Bremer shot and paralysed Alabama Governor George Wallacewhile he was campaigning to be become President.

1974  Ma’alot massacre: In an Arabterrorist attack and hostage taking at an Israeli school, 31 people were killed, including 22 schoolchildren.

1987  The Soviet Union launched the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform. It fails to reach orbit.

1988  Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

1990 Portrait of Doctor Gachetby Vincent van Gogh was sold for a record $82.5 million, the most expensive painting at the time.

1991 Édith Cresson became France’s first female premier.

1997 The United States government acknowledged the existence of the“Secret War” in Laos and dedicated the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other “Secret War” veterans.

2008 –  California became the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court ruled a previous ban unconstitutional.

2010 – Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.

2013 – An upsurge in violence in Iraq left more than 389 people dead over three days.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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