Word of the day

June 11, 2019

Fleek – extremely good, attractive, or stylish; flawlessly styled, groomed.


Thatcher thinks

June 11, 2019


Rural round-up

June 11, 2019

An open letter to the Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones – Richard Alspach:

Dear Mr Jones;

Your plan to plant billions of trees has certainly raised a lot of interest, and not a little concern. I read today of a new lobby group, calling itself 50 shades of Green, which has as its motivation a growing concern about the continued viability of rural communities.

Here in Kaipara we’ve seen it all before. Back in the early eighties the then Government (Prime Minister at the time Rob Muldoon) of the day gave consent for a joint venture to be formed between Shell Oil, an overseas company, and New Zealand Forest Products, at that time New Zealand Owned. The joint venture was called Mangakahia Forests, and its stated intention was to establish a forest of 25,000 hectares, largely in the North of the old Hobson County, since 1989 a part of Kaipara District.

They managed to secure 22,000 hectares. In doing so they displaced a quarter of a million stock units, and brought up 83 separate farms. In a very short time it caused a transformation of the District and its economy. There used to be three top dressing aircraft based in Dargaville, almost overnight it dropped to one. There used to be regular ewe fairs, within two years there were none, the number of shearers dropped off; some country schools closed and others were seriously down sized. The loss of that number of Stock units so quickly was a causal factor in the downsizing of the Moerewa Freezing works. The rate take from that 22,000 hectares dropped significantly, once the land became rateable as exotic forestry. . . 

Austrian aristocrat buys second farm to convert to forest – Gerard Hutching:

Austrian aristocrat Countess Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau has snapped up a sheep and beef farm in Wairarapa, to add to the northern Hawke’s Bay property she bought two years ago.

The latest buy is the 1727 hectare Hadleigh farm near Masterton owned by Nelson-based American businessman Tom Sturgess, for which she has paid $13.4 million.

The sale comes amid concerns that a rash of farms is being sold and converted for forestry in areas like the East Coast and Wairarapa, with a resulting loss of jobs and services. . . . 

A sustainable food production silver bullet under our noses – Dr John Baker:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sees New Zealand becoming a sustainable food producing nation in a big way. It’s part of the Government’s wellbeing policy.

I applaud that. Yet she’s ignoring the way to achieve it.

One of the silver bullets to sustainable food production is under our noses and will achieve wellbeing, not just in New Zealand, but the world.

The Government continues to overlook a technology, developed here, that addresses climate change by returning carbon to the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. That’s fundamental. . .  . . 

Room to move on mohair – Carl King:

Weaving quality mohair is keeping the door open for angora farmers to get even higher returns, writes Federated Farmers – Mohair New Zealand chairman Carl King.

New Zealand mohair is experiencing a lift in fleece prices.

The main two drivers behind the boost are that overseas demand outstrips supply and Australia and South African angora goats are facing severe drought conditions.

Top quality angora fleeces are on average being sold at $40 a kilo plus. . . 

Wool bonanza – Annette Scott:

Increased international demand for fine wool is putting Kiwi wool within reach of becoming a $2 billion industry.

New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge said if half NZ’s crossbred wool clip shifts into higher-value fine wool contracts the economic upside will be as high as $2b.

Increased international demand for fine wool could spell profit for sheep farmers with wool giving kiwifruit and wine a real run for their money in terms of exports, he said. . .

Adding value to the farm business through health and safety:

FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist James Robertson gained first-hand experience of the impact an injury can have on a farm business when his father suffered an accident.

“He was kicked by a cow and broke his thumb,” says James, who grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Mystery Creek.

“I think I’d been a bit oblivious to health and safety as a young person but I really saw the implications an injury has on the business. He wasn’t able to work in the cattle shed for a few weeks. Having a key person not able to do that put a lot of pressure on everyone else.” . . 


Perverse consequences of forestry subsidies

June 11, 2019

Keith Woodford writes about the unexpected consequences of the government’s forestry subsidies:

Most of New Zealand’s forests have foreign owners. With current policy settings for ownership of forestry land, this foreign ownership will increase further. Here is the reason why.

For big foreign entities, the notion of having within their portfolios some New Zealand forests for carbon farming looks very attractive.  As part of a balanced portfolio, any risks can be managed. In relation to the low returns on equities that can be earned elsewhere in the global economy, the returns look truly stunning.

An overseas entity can buy the land, plant it in trees, receive some Government subsidies, and then sit back and take the stream of income from carbon credits over the next 28 years. And then write off the original investment in the same way that a spent mine is written off.

If I were advising any such foreign entities, then that is exactly what I would be saying to them. Governments have set the rules, and now here is the opportunity to play the game.

They play, we pay and we lose.

Of course, it does not require me to tell them that. Their own advisers are telling them, and the game is now on.

At the end of the 28 years, the land can simply sit there, with its unharvested forest, with large carbon liabilities attached to it, and providing no further income to either New Zealand or anyone else. From the investors perspective that is fine – it has served its purpose and been a great investment.

The option of harvesting the forest might still be considered, but in the context of a bonus. In any case, given that many new carbon forests, as a cost saving measure, will not be thinned or pruned, the harvest value may well be limited.

From New Zealand’s perspective, this does not seem quite so flash. In effect, New Zealand has had an initial benefit from the inward flow of funds to purchase the land, and then has spent the next 28 years paying the foreign owners for the forestry carbon credits to balance off its own emissions elsewhere in the economy.

As for future generations of New Zealanders, they will have some green trees to look at, but the land itself can no longer be used for anything because of the crippling carbon liabilities attached to the land title.

In debates about foreign ownership of farmland, it is sometimes claimed that the foreign owner cannot export the land. It is still here earning an export income for New Zealand. But in the case of carbon forestry, the foreign owner can effectively capture in one rotation the economic benefits in perpetuity. . . 

Professor Woodford calls this unexpected consequences, I call them perverse, just as consequences for subsidies almost always are.

People learn the rules and play the game at the cost of those paying the subsidy.

These ones are based on politics, not science. They will destroy farmland, and rural communities, have a devastating impact on the economy and have no environmental benefit.

50 Shades of Green has a petition asking that legislation which incentivises the blanket afforestation of farmland be rejected

If you want New Zealand to have an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable future, sign it.

This madness must stop.

 


Quote of the day

June 11, 2019

What draws men and women together is stronger than the brutality and tyranny which drive them apart. – Millicent Fawcett  who was born on this day in 1847.


June 11 in history

June 11, 2019

1184 BC – Trojan War: Troy was sacked and burned, according to calculations by Eratosthenes.

631 Emperor Taizong of Tang, the Emperor of China, sent envoys to the Xueyantuo bearing gold and silk in order to seek the release of enslaved Chinese prisoners captured during the transition from Sui to Tang from the northern frontier;  – 80,000 Chinese men and women were returned to China.

758 Abbasid Arabs and Uyghur Turks arrived simultaneously at Chang’an, the Tang Chinese capital, in order to offer tribute to the imperial court. They quarrelled over diplomatic prominence at the gate and a settlement was reached when both are allowed to enter at the same time, but through two different gates to the palace.

1345  The megas doux Alexios Apokaukos, chief minister of the Byzantine Empire, was lynched by political prisoners.

1429  Hundred Years’ War: The start of the Battle of Jargeau.

1509  Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon.

1594 Philip II recognised the rights and privileges of the local nobles and chieftains in the Philippines, which paved way to the creation of thePrincipalía (i.e., elite ruling class of native nobility in Spanish Philippines).

1776 The Continental Congress appointed Thomas JeffersonJohn Adams,Benjamin FranklinRoger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to theCommittee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.

1776 John Constable, English painter, was born (d. 1837).

1788  Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov reached Alaska.

1805  A fire consumed large portions of Detroit.

1815 Julia Margaret Cameron, English photographer was born (d. 1879).

1825 The first cornerstone was laid for Fort Hamilton in New York City.

1837 The Broad Street Riot in Boston, fuelled by ethnic tensions between Yankees and Irish.

1847 Millicent Fawcett, British suffragist and feminist, was born  (d. 1929).

1864 Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor (d. 1949).

1866  The Allahabad High Court (then Agra High Court) iwa established in India.

1877 Renee Vivien, English-born poet, was born  (d. 1909).

1880 Jeannette Rankin, American politician, feminist, and pacifist, was born (d. 1973).

1892  The Limelight Department, one of the world’s first film studios, was officially established in Melbourne.

1898  Spanish-American War: U.S. war ships set sail for Cuba.

1898  The Hundred Days’ Reform was started by Guangxu Emperor in hope of changing social, political and educational institutions in China.

1901  New Zealand annexed the Cook Islands.

1901 Cornwall Park was gifted to Auckland at a civic reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, when Mayor John Logan Campbell handed over the deed to land below One Tree Hill.

Cornwall Park gifted to Auckland

1907 George Dennett, aided by Gilbert Jessop, dismissed  Northamptonshire for 12 runs, the lowest total in first-class cricket.

1910 Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French explorer and inventor, was born (d. 1997).

1917  King Alexander assumed the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicated under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens.

1919 Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown.

1920  During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to first coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room“.

1933 Gene Wilder, American actor, was born.

1935 Inventor Edwin Armstrong gave the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in the United States.

1936  Jud Strunk, American musician and comedian, was born  (d. 1981).

1936 The International Surrealist Exhibition opened in London.

1937  Great Purge: The Soviet Union executed eight army leaders.

1938  Second Sino-Japanese War: The Battle of Wuhan started.

1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Nationalist government created the 1938 Yellow River flood to halt Japanese forces. 500,000 to 900,000 civilians were killed.

1939 Sir Jackie Stewart, Scottish race car driver, three-time F1 world champion and former F1 team principal, was born.

1940 – World War II: First attack of the Italian Air force on the island of Malta.

1942  World War II: The United States agreed to send Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.

1950 Graham Russell, British guitarist and vocalist (Air Supply), was born.

1955  Eighty-three were killed and at least 100 injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collided at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1956  Start of Gal Oya riots, the first reported ethnic riots that targeted minority Sri Lankan Tamils in the Eastern Province.

1959 Hugh Laurie, English actor and comedian, was born.

1962  Frank MorrisJohn Anglin and Clarence Anglin became the only prisoners to escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.

1963  American Civil Rights Movement: Alabama Governor George Wallace stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone andJames Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they were able to register.

1963  Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.

1964 Walter Seifert ran amok in an elementary school in Cologne killing at least eight children and two teachers and seriously injuring several more with a home-made flamethrower and a lance.

1968 Prince Alois of Liechtenstein, of Liechtenstein, was born.

1970  Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington became the first women to officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals,

1972  Eltham Well Hall rail crash, caused by an intoxicated train driver, killed six people and injured 126.

1978  Altaf Hussain founded the students’ political movement All Pakistan Muhajir Students Organisation (a.k.a APMSO) in Karachi University.

1981 A 6.9 magnitude earthquake at Golbaf, Iran, killed at least 2,000.

1998  Compaq Computer paid $9 billion for Digital Equipment Corporation.

2001  Timothy McVeigh was executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.

2002  Antonio Meucci was acknowledged as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress.

2004  Cassini-Huygens made its closest flyby of Phoebe.

2008  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official apology to Canada’s First Nations in regard to a residential school abuse in which children are isolated from their homes, families and cultures for a century.

2012 – Two earthquakes struck northern Afghanistan, causing a large landslide, which buried the town of Sayi Hazara, trapping 71 people. After four days of digging, only five bodies were recovered and the search was called off.

2013 – Shenzhou 10, China’s fifth manned spaceflight mission and the second and final one to the Tiangong-1 space laboratory, was launched with 3 taikonauts on a 15-day mission.

2016 – 49 people were killed and 53 injured in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.

2018  – United States President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea held the first meeting between leaders of their two countries in Singapore.

2018 – 3 World Trade Center officially opened.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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