Word of the day

June 5, 2019

Disintermediation – reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers; the removal of intermediaries in economics from a supply chain; cutting out the middlemen in connection with a transaction or a series of transactions; the withdrawal of funds from intermediary financial institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations, to invest them directly; the process that gives the user or the consumer direct access to information that otherwise would require a mediator such as a salesperson.


Thatcher thinks

June 5, 2019


Rural round-up

June 5, 2019

Climate change burden, benefits must be spread fairly – Gavin Evans:

 (BusinessDesk) – Setting stringent climate change targets without understanding their cost or feasibility risks placing an unfair burden on some sectors, climate change professor David Frame says.

Moving New Zealand to a net-zero carbon economy will have benefits but also real costs and it is important both are shared across the community. That will probably require creative approaches from region to region and from sector to sector, he said at the New Zealand Minerals Forum in Dunedin last week.

Policymakers need to focus on emissions – rather than the resources they come from – and find a way to broaden the discussion beyond electorally-easy targets like heavy industry and coal. Agriculture also receives a lot of pressure that “isn’t really justified,” he said. . . 

New way to work out who’s who in the paddock – Sally Rae:

How do ewe tell one sheep from another?

Greg Peyroux and Benoit Auvray, the co-founders of Dunedin-based Iris Data Science, might well have the answer.

They have been working on sheep facial recognition to cheaply re-identify sheep, potentially removing the need for ear-tags while also solving other farm management and broader issues.

While facial recognition had been developed for cattle in the United States and pigs in China, the pair were not aware of anybody doing it for sheep.

Sheep face images were collected and fed into a machine-learning model. . . 

 

Danone cleared to indirectly hold up to 65% of Yashili NZ –  Rebecca Howard:

June 4 (BusinessDesk) – Danone SA can indirectly hold up to 65 percent of Yashili New Zealand Dairy Co after its Danone Asia Pacific unit got a green light from the Overseas Investment Office to purchase up to 49 percent of the local dairy processor.

“The applicant has satisfied the OIO that the individuals who will control the investment have the relevant business experience and acumen and are of good character. The applicant has also demonstrated financial commitment to the investment,” the OIO said in a statement. . . 

Cherry exporter announces major Cromwell investment:

New Zealand Cherry Corp is expanding its operations and investment in Cromwell.

NZ Cherry Corp is a long established, locally owned Cromwell business. Its 32ha cherry block is the largest netted orchard in New Zealand. During cherry season it employs up to 500 staff and harvests up to 800 tonnes of cherries. It exports to 10 countries.

Director Paul Croft says following the recent purchase of a 244ha block of farmland adjacent to its existing orchard, NZ Cherry Corp is doubling the size of its orchard and turning 4ha into worker accommodation. . . 

 

Dairy export volumes advance to new record:

Dairy export volumes hit a new high after rising 19 percent in the March 2019 quarter, adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said today.

While dairy volumes were strong in the quarter, actual dairy prices fell 7.5 percent. That means dairy values rose only 9.5 percent, seasonally adjusted.

Dairy products are New Zealand’s top goods export, accounting for more than a quarter of the value of all goods exported in the March quarter. . . 

Shareholders back Primary Wool Co-Operative, providing strong support for the organisation’s future:

Primary Wool Co-Operative (PWC) shareholders have placed their organisation on an extremely strong footing for the future, providing overwhelming support for two key resolutions at the co-operative’s 44th annual general meeting.

Farmer shareholders voted in favour of maintaining PWC’s 50% shareholding in CP Wool, as well as over 98% supporting a constitutional change enabling a capital raise to back CP Wool’s five year strategic plan at the meeting in Dannevirke on May 23. . . 

Caring for stock in wild winter weather:

With winter now starting to bite, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding pastoral livestock farmers of their animal welfare responsibilities, whether animals are kept at home or sent off-farm to graze.

“This time of year can be challenging for farmers, with wet and muddy conditions increasing risks to the welfare of their livestock,” says Kate Littin, Manager Animal Welfare.

“Many farmers, particularly in Southland and Otago, choose to break feed stock on crop over the winter months. It’s a great way to provide food for animals and protect pastures, but does require careful planning and good stockmanship to avoid welfare risks that wet weather can bring. . . 

Rural credit squeeze putting pressure on farmers:

Rural credit squeeze putting pressure on farmers access to capital.

Dairy farmers who are currently facing the two major challenges of falling land prices alongside increasingly restrictive access to capital are being encouraged to focus on a robust budgeting process and get on the front foot with their bank manager.

Findex Head of Agribusiness Hayden Dillon said “access to funding is becoming more of an issue, despite the good payout and this is putting some farmers under pressure” . . 


Bag ban virtue signalling

June 5, 2019

Wondering if the plastic bag is worth it for the sake of the environment? 

. . . In this article ‘Things you’re doing to save the planet that are actually terrible’, Vice reveals that reusable cotton tote you feel so smug about is actually polluting the air and waterways more than a plastic bags. Quoting this 2018 Danish study, reusable cotton bags are only a solution to the problem if we reuse them consistently for 11.5 years, or around 7100 times.

Anything less than that won’t offset the fact that manufacturing these types of bags creates 606 times as much water pollution as making a plastic bag, the study reports.

Todd Myers, who is the environmental director of think tank Washington Policy Centre, told Vice people should not “ignore the far more damaging, but less obvious impacts of cotton bags”.

In comparison, according to the study, a paper bag needs to be reused 43 times to offset the environmental impact – but if you’re using a paper bag 43 times you’re taking better care of it than me. Still, reusing and recycling them afterwards is a much better option than its cotton counterpart.

Or even, dare I say it: Continue to reuse plastic bags which we all know are not single use at all.

And what about the plastic-lined reusable jute bags I got from the Farmers Market?

I suspect they’re no better for the environment either.

Sigh, it’s yet another case of green virtue signalling where feeling trumps the science.


Why’s Racing Bill on fast track?

June 5, 2019

Transparency International NZ asks why the Racing Reform Bill is on the fast track:

TINZ has learned that the Racing Reform Bill is on a fast track for approval by July 31, 2019 including an extremely short 5 day submission window. Submissions are due on June 4, 2019, the day this article is being published.

We are concerned that the overall timetable for the passage of this legislation is inconsistent with the Government’s Open Government Partnership commitments and in its general practice of Parliamentary processes.

The Bill’s Explanatory Note and background information, claim that urgency is necessary to initiate the recovery process for the racing industry and to address the racing industry’s immediate need for supplementary revenue to ensure it is financially sustainable into the future.

Despite this assessment, TINZ’s view is that there is a reasonable public expectation of full and thorough opportunities for public involvement in matters of public debate such as gambling. Gambling is internationally recognised as a corruption and transparency risk, with the New Zealand Racing Board’s 2017/18 annual report identifying $288 million revenue being raised through racing.

We also note the advice of the Treasury that “it is difficult to assess whether the proposals will revitalise the industry, and identifying significant fiscal implications…”

TINZ has made a submission requesting the Select Committee to extend the date set for public consultation, in the interests of transparency and public trust.

The Bill will:

  • provide a legislative mandate for the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) to be reconstituted as a body corporate named the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA)
  • provide a basis for collecting revenue from offshore betting operators that provide betting services to persons residing in New Zealand
  • provide safeguards relating to offshore charges
  • require the Minister to publish a statement explaining why the Minister considers the rates of the charges to be fair and reasonable and also the purposes for which any money collected from the charges may be applied
  • progressively reduce, and then repeal, the totalisator duty currently paid by the NZRB to the Crown under the Gaming Duties Act 1971
  • remove the distribution formula set out in section 16 of the Racing Act 2003, allowing the application and distribution of racing funds to be determined by regulations
  • remove the formula for calculating minimum payments to New Zealand national sporting organisations and create powers to set the formula in regulations
  • permit the relevant body to offer betting products on sports not represented by a qualifying domestic national sporting organisation, provided an agreement was in place with Sport New Zealand.

TINZ isn’t the only organisation with concerns over the fast tracking:

The Salvation Army is extremely disappointed that the Government is prioritising profit and propping up New Zealand’s racing industry over people and problem gambling harm.

In urgency, the Government is passing the Racing Reform Bill. To The Salvation Army’s surprise, the Government has only given the public 3 working days (after a public holiday) to make submissions to this Bill.

“Where is good democracy and giving people and communities a fair go, so they can share their views about this Bill? This is an unfair process, especially as we believe the effects of destructive gambling harm have not been adequately assessed in this Bill’s process” says Lt. Col. Lynette Hutson from The Salvation Army Addictions Services.

“Our staff have had to work over the long weekend to prepare this submission. Profit should not supersede good democratic processes and truly understanding the effects of gambling harm.”

In summary, The Salvation Army wants to highlight:

The unfair timeframe for written and oral submissions to this Bill (3 working days);
The Government’s own Standing Orders state the ‘normal’ period for submissions is a minimum of 6 weeks for submissions;
The Department of Internal Affairs states that the tight timeframe has meant drawbacks in the analysis, particularly regarding the costs and financial implications of the Bill, and that the specific package of reforms proposed in this Bill has not been directly consulted on. 

Racing has several major problems and action is needed to address them.

But that doesn’t justify fast track legislation with just a five day window to make submissions that closed yesterday, the day after a long weekend, especially when Treasury raises questions about whether the proposed changes will revitalise the industry.

 


Quote of the day

June 5, 2019

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy…What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.Adam Smith who was born on this day in 1823.


June 5 in history

June 5, 2019

70  Titus and his Roman legions breached the middle wall of Jerusalem in the Siege of Jerusalem.

1257  Kraków received city rights.

1305 – Raymond Bertrand de Got became Pope Clement V, succeeding Pope Benedict XI who died one year earlier.

1723 Adam Smith, Scottish economist, was born (d. 1790).

1798 The Battle of New Ross: The attempt to spread United Irish Rebellion into Munster was defeated.

1817 The first Great Lakes steamer, the Frontenac, is launched.

1829 HMS Pickle captured the armed slave ship Voladora off the coast of Cuba.

1832 The June Rebellion broke out in Paris in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy of Louis-Philippe.

1847 – The Auckland Savings Bank opened for business.

Auckland Savings Bank opens for business

1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy by the signing of a new constitution.

1851  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabinor,Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Eraabolitionist newspaper.

1862  As the Treaty of Saigon was signed, ceding parts of southern Vietnam to France, the guerrilla leader Truong Dinh decided to defy Emperor Tu Duc of Vietnam and fight on against the Europeans.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Piedmont: Union forces under General David Hunter defeated a Confederate army at Piedmont, Virginia, taking nearly 1,000 prisoners.

1866  East Coast military leader and prophet, Te Kooti, was deported with Pai Marire prisoners to the Chatham Islands.

Te Kooti deported to Chathams

1878 Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, was born (d. 1923).

1879 Robert Mayer, German-born philanthropist, was born (d. 1985).

1883 –  John Maynard Keynes, English economist, was born (d. 1946).

1888 The Rio de la Plata Earthquake took place.

1898 Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet, lyricist and dramatist, was born  (d. 1936).

1900  Second Boer War: British soldiers took Pretoria.

1905 Jock Cameron, South African cricketer, Wisden COY 1936, was born (d. 1935).

1915  Denmark amended its constitution to allow women’s suffrage.

1917  World War I: Conscription began in the United States as “Army registration day”.

1932 Christy Brown, Irish author, was born (d. 1981).

1933  The U.S. Congress abrogated the United States’ use of the gold standard by enacting a joint resolution (48 Stat. 112) nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.

1936 Connie Hines, American actress, was born (d. 2009).

1939 Margaret Drabble, English novelist, was born.

1941  Four thousand people were asphyxiated in a bomb shelter during the Bombing of Chongqing.

1942  World War II: United States declared war on  BulgariaHungary, and Romania..

1944  World War II: More than 1000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day.

1945  The Allied Control Council, the military occupation governing body of Germany, formally takes power.

1946 Freddie Stone, American guitarist (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

1946  A fire in the La Salle Hotel in Chicago, Illinois kills 61 people.

1947 Tom Evans, English musician (Badfinger), was born (d. 1983).

1947  Marshall Plan: In a speech at Harvard University, United States Secretary of State George Marshall called for economic aid to war-torn Europe.

1949 Ken Follett, Welsh author, was born.

1956  Elvis Presley introduced his new single, “Hound Dog“, on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.

1959  The first government of the State of Singapore was sworn in.

1963  British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigned in a sex scandal known as the Profumo Affair.

1963 – Movement of 15 Khordad: Protest against arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In several cities, masses of angry demonstrators are confronted by tanks and paratroopers.

1964  DSV Alvin was commissioned.

1967 Six-Day War began: The Israeli air force launched simultaneous pre-emptive attacks on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

1968  U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan.

1969  The International communist conference began in Moscow.

1975  The Suez Canal opened for the first time since the Six-Day War.

1975 – The United Kingdom holds its first and only country-wide referendum, on remaining in the European Economic Community (EEC).

1976  Collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho, United States.

1977 A coup took place in Seychelles.

1977 – The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale.

1981  The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five people in Los Angeles, California have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what was the first recognized cases ofAIDS.

1989 The Unknown Rebel halted the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

1995  The Bose-Einstein condensate was first created.

1998  A strike began at the General Motors parts factory in Flint, Michigan, that quickly spreads to five other assembly plants (the strike lasted seven weeks).

2001  U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, which shifted control of the United States Senate from the Republicans to the Democratic Party.

2001  Tropical Storm Allison made  landfall on the upper-Texas coastline as a strong tropical storm and dumps large amounts of rain over Houston. The storm caused $5.5 billion in damages, making Allison the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.

2003  A severe heat wave across Pakistan and India reached its peak, as temperatures exceed 50°C (122°F) in the region.

2006  Serbia declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

2009 – After 65 straight days of civil disobedience, at least 31 people were killed in clashes between security forces and indigenous people near Bagua, Peru.

2012 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker became first U.S. Governor to survive a recall election.

2013 – A building collapse in Philadelphia killed 6 and injured 14 other people.

2015 – An earthquake of 6.0 moment magnitude scale struck Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia killing 18 people.

2017 – Montenegro became the 29th member of the NATO.

2017 – Six Arab countries—BahrainEgyptLibyaSaudi ArabiaYemen, and the United Arab Emiratescut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


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