Word of the day

August 8, 2019

Teg – a doe or sheep in its second year.


Thatcher thinks

August 8, 2019


Rural round-up

August 8, 2019

Meat industry concerned by education shake-up :

A shake-up of vocational education could be a backwards step for training in the meat industry, the sector’s leaders say.

Last week, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced seven key changes in store for on-the-job training and apprenticeships, which included the creation of a “mega-polytech”.

Up to seven industry-governed Workforce Development Councils would also be created to “replace and expand” Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). . . 

Consumer trust is key for future success of NZ food industry:

Consumer trust has never been more valuable to the New Zealand food industry and is set to play a key role in its future success, a visiting international agricultural expert has told the horticulture sector. Yet winning and sustaining this trust has also never been more complex.

Speaking at the New Zealand Horticulture conference in Hamilton last week, the Sydney-based general manager for RaboResearch Australia and New Zealand Tim Hunt said consumer trust was becoming an increasingly precious commodity for New Zealand food producers.

“New Zealand’s emerging markets, like China and South East Asia, place a high value on food safety and the process of food preparation, while more mature wealthy markets are willing to pay for sustainability, animal welfare, fairness and attractive provenance,” he said. . . 

‘No ordinary job’: Dairy farmers put in the hard yards over calving – Esther Taunton:

Most calves are born like Superman, with their front legs up over their heads, but sometimes even Superman needs a hand, Taranaki sharemilker Jody McCaig says.

McCaig and her husband, Charlie, farm at Te Kiri, inland from Opunake, and like dairy farmers around the country, they’re headed into another busy calving.

At the height of the season, up to 50 calves a day will be born on the 1000-cow, 320-hectare property. . . 

Stop pigeonholing farm systems– TIm Fulton:

Support for regenerative agriculture is building across New Zealand and Australia. As Crown-run Landcare Research seeks state funding to test the principles and practice Tim Fulton spoke to Australian soil science leader Professor John McLean for an assessment of the movement.

At home with a newborn in southeast Queensland Associate Professor John McLean recently read a an article on regenerative agriculture in the special Fieldays issue of Farmers Weekly.

Bennett is a principal research fellow at the university’s Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems and the immediate past president of Soil Science Australia. . .

New Zealand’s first carbon neutral milk plant – Nigel Malthus:

French global food company Danone says it will spend NZ$40 million on its Nutricia spray drying plant at Balclutha to achieve net carbon neutrality there by 2021.

NZ operations director Cyril Marniquet says it will make the Balclutha plant NZ’s first carbon neutral one of its kind.

A NZ$30m biomass boiler will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent, the company says, of removing 60,000 cars from NZ’s roads. And a more efficient waste water treatment plant will meet Danone’s stringent global clean water standards.  . .

China confirms it is suspending agricultural product purchases in response to Trump’s new tariffs – Kate Rooney:

China confirmed reports that it was pulling out of U.S. agriculture as a weapon in the ongoing trade war.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Chinese companies have stopped purchasing U.S. agricultural products in response to President Trump’s new 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

“This is a serious violation of the meeting between the heads of state of China and the United States,” the Minister of Commerce said in a statement Monday that was translated via Google. . . 


Why so glum?

August 8, 2019

The quarterly unemployment rate is down to 3.9%; and the official cash rate is at an historic low of 1%.

Yesterday’s GlobalDairyTrade was down 2.6%, the fifth drop in the last six auctions but no-one’s suggesting the milk payout will be lower than $6.

Horticulture and wine are getting healthy returns, arable incomes are reasonable, wool is dismal but the outlook for sheep meat and beef is positive.

But Business confidence is down to -44.3% :

. . .That was the worst reading since August last year, when the index was at -50.3. Employment intentions slumped (-5.5 vs 0) as firms sought to cut jobs, capacity utilization weakened to its lowest since 2009 (0.4 vs 5.3), and activity outlook (5.0 vs 8.0) and export expectations (1.4 vs 5.3) deteriorated. In addition, profit expectations fell further(-16.3 vs -12.5), while investment intentions turned to negative (-0.3 vs 2.5). . . 

And consumer confidence is also gloomy:

The Westpac-McDermott Miller consumer confidence index in New Zealand fell to 103.5 in the second quarter of 2019 from 103.5 in the previous period. Households became increasingly worried about conditions in the global economy over the next five years (-3.5 points to 11.9); and the number of households who think now is a good time to purchase a major item has fallen to a two-year low (-5.5 points to 17.9).  . . 

Why are we so glum?

Today’s historic cut to the Official Cash Rate down to just one per cent sounds a dramatic warning that the New Zealand economy is slowing and the Government needs to get serious about growth, National’s Finance Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The Reserve Bank’s cut came with the message, ‘Indicators of growth remained weak or weakened further over the past few months’.

“The only time in the history of the OCR there has been a cut of this magnitude have been after the 9/11 terrorist attack, during the Global Financial Crisis, and after the Christchurch earthquake.

“Of greatest concern is the absence of any clear growth plan from this Government.

“Budget 2019 was devoted almost exclusively to spreading national wealth, with very few policies to grow the economy. The most expensive Budget commitment to transform the economy was a $1 billion subsidy for rail. There was little else.

“Instead of ramping up infrastructure investment, the Government has stopped or postponed a dozen roading projects which were ready to get underway, and replaced them with projects that aren’t ready to go, and won’t be for a lot time yet’.

“We need to move beyond policies that add costs to the business and drive down business confidence.

“National would revive the economy by having a plan for growth which would see confidence bounce back and the economy gain the strength it’s lost under this Government.”

There is no doubt what the government is doing and not doing are a large part of the problem.

In spite of at least reasonable returns for almost all primary products farmers feel under-siege with very real concerns about the costs and restrictions the government will impose on them.

Other businesses have similar worries, not helped by the latest confidence-sapping message sent by the Prime Minister’s ordering Fletchers to not build anything until the Ihumātao dispute is settled.

Then there’s the on-going argument over the letter Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter is refusing to release and the questions that raises over the part she played in delaying Wellington transport plans.

Concerns over this aren’t helped by claims from Wellington City Councilors that the Green Party confidence and supply agreement would have been put in jeopardy if a watered down Let’s Get Wellington Moving wasn’t accepted.

All of this points to government instability and is compounded by Winston Peters’ latest game playing over requiring a referendum on changes to abortion law.

When interest rates were already so low, it is unlikely the larger than expected drop in the OCR will have much impact on the productive economy when there are so many reasons pointing to the need for caution.

And while low interest rates help borrowers they punish savers.

All in all there is little to give anyone confidence anything is going to get better soon and plenty of reasons to doubt the government has the plans and policies to help.

And now the Reserve Bank has dropped the OCR, it raises the question of what happens when, as is likely, economic conditions get worse.


Quote of the day

August 8, 2019

It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. … We are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings who was born on this day in 1896.


August 8 in history

August 8, 2019

1220 Sweden  was defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503  King James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor.

1509  The Emperor Krishnadeva Raya was crowned, marking the beginning of the regeneration of the Vijayanagara Empire.

1576  The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on Hven.

1588  Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ended, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.

1647  Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeated Irish forces.

1709  Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal.

1786  Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and DrMichel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 The insurrection of Lyon.

1794 Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver led an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1870 The Republic of Ploieşti, a failed Radical-Liberal rising against Domnitor Carol of Romania.

1876  Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.

1879 Bob Smith, American founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1950).

1889 – Jack Ryder, Australian cricketer, was born (d. 1977).

1896 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American author and academic, was born (d. 1953).

1908 Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans.

1909 – Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, English cricketer and politician, 9th Governor-General of New Zealand, was born (d. 1977).

1910  The US Army installed the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.

1911 The millionth patent was filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1915 The Wellington Battalion  captured Chunuk Bair.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair

1918  Battle of Amiens began a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

1929 Ronald Biggs, British Great Train robber, was born (d. 2013).

1929  The German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.

1931  – Roger Penrose, English physicist, mathematician, and philosopher was born.

1932 – Luis García Meza Tejada, Bolivian general and politician, 68th President of Bolivia

1937 Dustin Hoffman, American actor, was born.

1940 The “Aufbau Ost” directive was signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) were executed.

1942  The Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.

1945 The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and began the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

1946  First flight of the Convair B-36.

1947 Pakistan’s National Flag was approved.

1949  Bhutan became independent.

1950 Ken Kutaragi, Founder of PlayStation, was born.

1961 The Edge, (Favid Evans) Irish guitarist (U2), was born.

1963 Great Train Robbery: a gang of 15 train robbers stole 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

1973 – Kim Dae-Jung, a South Korean politician and later president, was kidnapped.

1974  Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day.

1980  The Central Hotel Fire, Bundoran , Ireland.

1988  The “8888 Uprising” in Burma.

1989    STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia took off on a secret five-day military mission.

1990  Iraq occupied  Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq.

1991  The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapsed.

1991  John McCarthy, British journalist held hostage in Lebanon for more than five years by Islamic Jihad, was released.

1995 – Shakti began in New Zealand.

Shakti begins in New Zealand

2000  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor.

2007 An EF2 tornado touched down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

2010 –  A mudslide in Zhugqu County, Gansu, China, killed more than 1,400 people.

2013 – A suicide bombing at a funeral in the Pakistani city of Quetta killed at least 31 people.

2015 – Eight people were killed in a shooting in Harris County, Texas.

2016 – Terrorists attacked a government hospital in Quetta, Pakistan with a suicide blast and shooting, killing between 70 and 94 people, and injuring around 130 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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