Word of the day

August 2, 2019

Vaniloquent – speaking only of oneself or egotistically; talking in a vain or foolish way.


Sowell says

August 2, 2019


Rural round-up

August 2, 2019

Can we make stone soup for rural wellbeing? – Michelle Stevens:

Executive Summary

The fable of Stone Soup tells the tale of a weary stranger arriving at a village. He convinces the villagers to each contribute an ingredient in order to make a meal for everyone to enjoy. The weary stranger elaborately makes use of a simple stone as the key ingredient, to start creating the soup, as a catalyst for the village coming together. As the stranger leaves, the villagers plead for the soup recipe. It is at this point the stranger reveals they have always had the recipe. Simply put, it took each of them making a small contribution which ultimately provided a significant result.

The moral of the story is that there is value in collaboration to achieve a better outcome. The question is – can we make Stone Soup for Rural Wellbeing? Mental health and wellbeing is a wicked problem for New Zealand. This report serves to explore if there is sufficient interest within the agricultural sector to pursue a working arrangement, commercial interest’s aside, in collaborating for the betterment of rural wellbeing. . . 

Zero Carbon Bill targets ‘unachievable’ – retiring National MP :

Outgoing National MP Nathan Guy says the public and government have got quite a way to go to see what shape or form the Zero Carbon Bill ends up in.

Ōtaki MP and opposition agriculture spokesperson Mr Guy told Morning Report the Zero Carbon Bill targets were “too extreme”.

“That methane target range from 24 to 47 percent is unachievable. It’s going to take some magic to get there,” he said.

“Yes, we need to do our part” but it slows down the economy. . . 

Plan threatens lowland farms – Tim Fulton:

A Canterbury farmer is quitting a top land and water post, fearing lowland agriculture is being regulated out of existence.

Rangiora dairy farmer and farm management consultant Dave Ashby is chairman of the Waimakariri zone committee, which recommended policy to Environment Canterbury for a local land and water plan change. The proposed plan change 7 is now up for public submissions. 

Ashby is meantime stepping down as zone committee chairman.

“I need to concentrate on my farm and business. Over 80 meetings and workshops over two years is a large commitment and it’s now time to stick to the knitting,” he said.

He will remain on the zone committee at this stage but is very concerned about the direction the plan is taking. . . 

Central Otago rural midwife crisis worsens

The Government must step up and help the Southern District Health Board as Central Otago’s chronic midwife shortage worsens, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“The board is struggling to fill staffing gaps, with a shortage of relief midwifes affecting Charlotte Jean Maternity, in Alexandra, midwives in Wanaka and the Lakes District Hospital Maternity Unit, in Queenstown.

“I understand board staff are currently working day to day to ensure rosters are filled and that they are really struggling to find staff across the region. . .

Feds scorn firearms register

The practicality and cost of a firearms register will be a waste of money and resources, Federated Farmers says.

The second tranche of proposed Arms Act amendments features a range of tighter controls on firearms ownership and licensing, some of which beg serious questioning. Federated Farmers rural security spokesman Miles Anderson said.

Feds has previously opposed the compulsory registration of all firearms based on the complexity and cost of the process, questionable safety benefits and the likelihood of success.

“We haven’t had a firearms register in New Zealand for almost 40 years.

“The successful re-establishment of one now would require a considerable investment, both economically and socially,” Anderson said. . . 

Grass fed beef can help SOLVE climate change – Dawn Gifford:

150 years ago, much of the Midwest was still covered with chest-deep prairie grassland, providing valuable food and habitat for billions of plant and animal species, including millions of elk, bison and deer. These lands also supported natural environmental processes like carbon sequestration and seasonal flood control.

When Americans first settled the Midwestern prairies, they killed off the natural bison and other ruminants that lived there and began to farm highly fertile, virgin soil that was about 10 percent organic matter. . . 

 


Regions lose with central control

August 2, 2019

The government is centralising vocational education, merging 16 technology institutes and polytechnics into one:

Former Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce warns of the risks in this move:

. .  .Leaving aside the issue of transferring the control of hundreds and hundreds of millions of assets out of regional New Zealand to Wellington, there are huge risks in the proposal. Across the Tasman, New South Wales has just done something similar, merging its 16-odd TAFEs (polytechs) into one NSW-wide TAFE, and it is a cautionary tale. The merged entity lost $30 million in its first year, blowing out to $240m in its second. It’s now in the process of further reform.

Yes, many New Zealand polytechnics are currently struggling, but that’s not unique to this country. When employment is high, vocationally-minded people tend to get into work ahead of going to polytech, and roll numbers drop. It’s been made worse here by the sudden squeeze on international enrolments caused by government immigration policy which is contributing to a perfect storm of red ink.

Interestingly however, well-run polytechnics like SIT in Southland, Otago, and the Eastern Institute of Technology in the North Island, have continued to perform and make surpluses. A few board overhauls and the odd regional merger, plus a bit more tuition funding, would do wonders for the others and retain their local focus – and be much less risky.

The government’s prescription is radical surgery when much less drastic medicine could solve the problems at a much lower cost in both money and jobs:

The Government’s polytechnic and industry announcement today will cost thousands of jobs and may be the death knell for some polytechnics, National’s spokesperson for Tertiary Education Dr Shane Reti says.

“Moving apprentices back to polytechnics and creating one mega polytechnic will cost at least 1300 jobs in industry and probably as much again in polytechnics.

“Employers are telling us they will cease to employ apprentices next year if apprentices go back to polytechnics. This is a big step backwards especially when our construction sector is crying out for apprentices.

“The Government has brutally dismissed the concerns of industry and businesses who raised serious issues with polytechnic training. Industry understands the needs of industry best and who will be the best fit for them, but Mr Hipkins is blatantly ignoring them.

“Now the Minister is turning his axe to polytechnics. Under these reforms well performing polytechnics from the Southern Institute of Technology to Otago Polytechnic will lose the very essence of their successful and innovative local decision making.

“The reforms dissolve polytechnics into hollow and meaningless ‘legacy’ polytechnics. This ideology will destroy tradition, decimate organisational knowledge and the final indignity will be the mega polytechnic spending community gifted cash and assets.

“This is devastating for polytechnics and their staff and students.

“Every aspect of the vocational education sector is under attack. Apprentices are being sent back to polytechnics, polytechnics are being amalgamated into legacy campuses, jobs are being lost, cash and community assets will be ring-fenced and regional autonomy is being stripped away.

“These reforms will be disastrous for regional education and apprenticeships. Mr Hipkins is pushing ahead with ideology over what is best for students and regional New Zealand.

“National will empower the regions to make decisions around what they teach, where they teach and how they teach. We will return polytechnic assets taken by Labour and give them back to communities. We will return apprentices to industry.

“National supports apprentices and regional polytechnics and we will fight for their voice and autonomy in these ideological educational reforms.”

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt said the city will fight to save The Southern Institute of Technology:

Invercargill leaders have vowed to fight a Government decision to centralise the Southern Institute of Technology [SIT] with 15 other polytechnics and training institutes nationwide.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he was in “absolute disbelief they could do such a terrible thing to our city” and said legal action would be taken against the decision.

“They have really ripped the heart out of Invercargill with this announcement.”

The proposal also threatens the future of Telford Farm Training Institute:

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said the announcement was incredibly disappointing and raised uncertainty for Telford’s future.

“Today’s announcement of the Government’s reform of vocational education through the centralisation of polytechs is another blow to rural and regional New Zealand. 

“It is the people in regions who know the needs of their people best, not a long list of public servants in Wellington.”

Community assets would be taken away, decision-making powers would be lost and as a result, Telford would be disadvantaged, he said.

“Telford’s long-term proposal was turned down because of this reform which will now cause further damage to Clutha-Southland and its workforce.”

“This creates further uncertainty for staff and students at Telford who have already been through enough.” . . 

Successful organisations like SIT and Otago Polytech could have been used as a model for other institutions that were floundering.

Instead the successful are being sacrificed because of others’ failures and the regions lose autonomy to central control.


Quote of the day

August 2, 2019

I suggest that an education and reading and facts aren’t bad things on which to ponder a few notions. Peter O’Toole who was born on this day in 1932.


August 2 in history

August 2, 2019

338 BC  A Macedonian army led by Philip II defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea, securing Macedonian hegemony in Greece and the Aegean.

216 BC Second Punic War: Battle of Cannae – The Carthaginian army lead by Hannibal defeated a numerically superior Roman army under command of consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro.

1377 – Russian troops were defeated in the Battle on Pyana River, while drunk.

1610  Henry Hudson sailed into what it is now known as Hudson Bay, thinking he had made it through the Northwest Passage and reached the Pacific Ocean.

1798 – French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile (Battle of Aboukir Bay) concluded with a British victory.

1835 –  Elisha Gray, American inventor and entrepreneur, was born (d. 1901).

1869 Japan’s samurai, farmer, artisan, merchant class system (Shinōkōshō) was abolished as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.

1870  Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube railway, opened in London.

1895 – Matt Henderson, New Zealand cricketer was born (d. 1970).

1903  Fall of the Ottoman Empire: Unsuccessful uprising led by the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization against Ottoman,TUrkey, also known as the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising.

1916  World War I: Austrian sabotage caused the sinking of the Italian battleship Leonardo da Vinci in Taranto.

1923  Shimon Peres, Israeli politician, Prime Minister of Israel and the ninth President of Israel, was born.

1924  James Baldwin, American author, was born (d. 1987).

1924  Carroll O’Connor,  American actor, was born (d. 2001).

1925  Alan Whicker, British journalist and broadcaster, was born.

1932 Peter O’Toole, Irish-born actor, was born (d. 2013).

1932 – The positron (antiparticle of the electron) was discovered by Carl D. Anderson.

1934 Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler became Führer of Germany.

1937 The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed in America, essentially rendering marijuana and all its by-products illegal.

1939 Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd wrote a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan project to develop a nuclear weapon.

1942 Isabel Allende, Chilean author, was born.

1943  Rebellion in the Nazi death camp of Treblinka.

1943  World War II: PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and sank. Lt. John F. Kennedy, future U.S. President, saved all but two of his crew.

1944  Birth of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

1945 World War II: Potsdam Conference, where the Allied Powers discussed the future of defeated Germany, concluded.

1964  Vietnam War: Gulf of Tonkin Incident – North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired on U.S. destroyers, USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy.

1967  The second Blackwall Tunnel opened in Greenwich, London.

1968  The 1968 Casiguran Earthquake hit Casiguran, Aurora, Philippines killing more than 270 people and wounding 261.

1973 A flash fire killed 51 at the Summerland amusement centre at Douglas, Isle of Man.

1980  A bomb exploded at the railway station in Bologna, killing 85 people and wounding more than 200.

1983 USS Texas was met by anti-nuclear protesters while visiting  Auckland.

Protest as USS Texas visits Auckland

1985 Delta Air Lines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar crashed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport killing 137.

1989  Pakistan was re-admitted back into the Commonwealth of Nations, for restoring democracy.

1989  1989 Valvettiturai massacre by Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka killing 64 Tamil civilians.

1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait.

1992 Barbara Kendall won gold at Barcelona.

2005 –  Air France Flight 358, landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport, and ran off the runway causing the plane to burst into flames. There were 12 serious injuries but no fatalities.

2014 – At least 146 people were killed and more than 114 injured in an explosion at a factory near Shanghai.

2018 – Apple Inc. became the first U.S. company to be valued at over $1 trillion.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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