Sowell says

28/08/2019


Rural round-up

28/08/2019

Stressed southern farmers get help – Neal Wallace:

Agriculture leaders are scrambling to support Southland farmers struggling to deal with the seasonal pressures accentuated by a media campaign questioning their winter grazing management and animal welfare.

Southland Rural Support Trust chairwoman Cathie Cotter says the campaign has added to the seasonal stress of calving and lambing and a wet, cold latter part of winter.

“We are very concerned for farmers.  . . 

Not Just A Southland Issue — August 2019 – dairymanNZ:

Last week the Minister of Agriculture announced the members of his taskforce that will investigate the practice of wintering cow on crop in Southland, their brief being to “do a stocktake of the multiple initiatives that are already underway to promote good winter grazing practices and identify why those are not currently working for all.”

The issue has of course been brought to a head by environmental campaigners in Southland releasing drone footage of cows up to their hocks in mud along with pictures of cows calving in similar conditions.

The reaction from farmers on twitter has been starkly divided; Southland farmers believe it is an issue for their region to tackle without interference from central government or advice from outside experts, let alone from the lone environmentalist appointed to the taskforce. They are not interested in the opinions of non-farming urbanites whose only experience with wet weather grazing was that one time they got caught in the rain during a picnic.  . . 

Eagerly grabbing their chances – Neal Wallace:

Blair and Jane Smith freely admit to having their share of good fortune as they embark on their farming careers but that doesn’t mean they are resting on their laurels. Neal Wallace reports.

It might be a cliche that business success is all about opportunities but that is the reality for North Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith.

In 2008 as they were in the process of taking over Jane’s family farm neighbours Bruce and Fay McNab invited them to look over their hill property.

Blair says they initially had no idea why they got the invitation but the farm was for sale and the McNabs viewed them as potential owners. . . 

 

Beefing up women’s voices :

Ten years ago Lindy Nelson was wondering why rural women weren’t more visible as decision-makers around the table in the boardroom or even in their own farm kitchens.

She did some research and decided to take the bull by the horns, setting up an organisation to give them a bigger voice.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust was born and now trains and supports hundreds of women – and now men too – to make change in New Zealand’s primary sector and in rural communities. . .

Battery-powered tractors still a long way off – Mark Daniel:

The likelihood of electric or hybrid powered farm tractors still appears a long way off.

The German news site Top Agrar says research by Fendt indicates that the energy density of currently available batteries would not suit high horsepower prime movers.

Fendt director of research, development and purchasing, Heribert Reiter, says tractors up to 68hp (50kW) can typically use batteries to run for one to four hours depending on the task. . . 

‘Widespread support’ for advance parties – Trevor Walton:

They sound as if they are small military detachments charged with reconnaissance, but in the case of the deer industry’s advance parties (AP) they are in fact the main body of the army.

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) Passion2Profit manager Innes Moffat said there were now 29 advance parties, involving 352 of the industry’s 1200 or so commercial deer farms and more than 30% of the industry’s deer.

”There are eight APs operating across Otago and Southland, catering for farmers in different districts and with different interests,” Mr Moffat said.

”For example there are environment APs in Central Otago and Southland; an AP catering for farmers who specialise in elk/wapiti; and a data group in Southland working on a short term project. . . 


Time to free up Fonterra

28/08/2019

It’s time to free up Fonterra but the government plans to only tinker with the Diary Industry Restructuring Act:

National is opposing the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment (DIRA) Bill at first reading, as we believe competitive pressure should drive the dairy market forward rather than half-baked regulation, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“National believes it is vital we have an efficient and innovative dairy industry that supports the long-term interests of farmers and consumers. This means having a strong Fonterra, strong smaller manufacturers and a robust domestic liquid milk and retail market.

“The Government’s Bill goes some way to achieving this, but National believes the time has come to reduce aspects of Fonterra’s regulatory burden.

“It makes sense that Fonterra can now build in robust animal welfare and environmental conditions in its supply terms. However we believe the New Zealand market is sufficiently mature for Fonterra to have the ability to treat returning suppliers on different commercial grounds than those who have stayed with the cooperative.

“We’re also opposed to Fonterra having to continue to support scale competitors with start-up milk supply. There is a vibrant competitive milk supply landscape in New Zealand, which is only going to increase as global interests eye up our milk pool. We no longer believe Fonterra needs to give these future competitors a hand up.  

Requiring Fonterra to supply competitors might have been acceptable when the original Act came into force, setting up the company.

But there is now more than enough competition to enable new companies to establish themselves without forcing Fonterra to supply them.

That many of these companies are foreign owned is particularly galling given the three parties’ in government continue to rail against foreign ownership and have made it all but impossible for foreigners to buy farmland, unless they’re going to plant trees on it.

“National supports rural New Zealand and knows the importance of the dairy industry to our country. We want legislation that will help it succeed on the world stage not constrain it.”

The legislation that sought to encourage competition is now costing Fonterra too much.

It’s time to stop tinkering with it and free it from the rules that give its competitors a free ride at its expense.


No ifs, not buts, no exemptions

28/08/2019

Giving the Pike River re-entry plan a safety exemption would set a dangerous precedent:

The Government’s intention to exempt the Pike River Mine re-entry team from safety laws and regulations is concerning and inappropriate, National’s Pike River Re-entry spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“One of the most important failures identified by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Pike River was the unsafe design of the mine in not having two means of egress.

“The regulations were re-written in 2016 to specifically address this. It is unacceptable for the Government to now consider bypassing the very laws and regulations that were put in place to prevent a repeat of this awful tragedy. This shows a complete lack of leadership.

It’s not just lack of leadership, it’s lack of judgement and hypocrisy.

Labour is supposed to be the party that cares about workers.

Worker safety should be of paramount concern, no ifs, no buts and definitely no exemptions.

“The Minister for Pike River Re-entry, Andrew Little, has confirmed in Parliament that the Pike River Agency is seeking exemptions from the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and its regulations, to allow the re-entry to continue.

“It was disappointing to see a Minister of the Crown, under Parliamentary Privilege, mocking long-time mining journalist Mr Gerry Morris, a proud West Coaster with a long history of involvement in mining.

“The Minister should have fronted up and explained to New Zealanders why the Government has decided to not adopt new safety regulations that were put in place to prevent any further loss of life at Pike River.

“The advice that National had in Government was that it was always too dangerous to re-enter the mine. Our position has always been that we’re not against a safe re-entry of the drift provided it is done well within new safety guidelines.

“I am extremely disappointed and have lost all confidence in the Government, which now appears to be prioritising an entry at all costs, rather than a safety first approach.”

I have been opposed to re-entry attempts from the start because the living should never be put at risk for the dead.

Entertaining the possibility of re-entry to the mine and retrieval of bodies by the three parties in government is playing politics and prolonging the uncertainty for grieving families.

Inadequate attention to health and safety was a major contributor to the Pike River tragedy.

The only good to come from it was a change of law to ensure far better protection for workers.

That law prevented any attempts at re-entry in the past because the safety of the workers could not be guaranteed. It ought to bring an end to this attempt too.

Kwiiblog has Gerry Morris’s article here.

 


Quote of the day

28/08/2019

Everything is always a story, but the loveliest ones are those that get written and are not torn up and are taken to a friend as payment for listening, for putting a wise keyhole to the ear of my mind”  ― Janet Frame who was born on this day in 1924.


August 28 in history

28/08/2019

489  Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths defeats Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo, forcing his way into Italy.

1189  Third Crusade: the Crusaders began the Siege of Acre under Guy of Lusignan.

1511  The Portuguese conquered Malacca.

1542 Turkish-Portuguese War (1538-1557) – Battle of Wofla: the Portuguese were scattered, their leader Christovão da Gama captured and later executed.

1609  Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay.

1619  Ferdinand II was elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1640 Second Bishop’s War: King Charles I’s English army lost to a Scottish Covenanter force at the Battle of Newburn.

1749 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and scientist (d. 1832).

1774 Elizabeth Ann Seton, American-born Catholic saint, was born (d. 1821).

1789  William Herschel discovered a new moon of Saturn.

1810  Battle of Grand Port – the French accepted the surrender of a British Navy fleet.

1828 Leo Tolstoy, Russian author, was born (d. 1910).

1830  The Tom Thumb presaged the first railway service in the United States.

1845 The first issue of Scientific American magazine was published.

1859  A geomagnetic storm caused the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly it was seen clearly over parts of USA, Europe, and as far away as Japan.

1862 American Civil War: Second Battle of Bull Run.

1879  Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, was captured by the British.

1884 Peter Fraser, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born (d. 1950).

1898  Caleb Bradham renamed his carbonated soft drink “Pepsi-Cola”.

1901  Silliman University was founded in the Philippines,  the first American private school in the country.

1906 John Betjeman, English poet, was born (d. 1984).

1913 Queen Wilhelmina opened the Peace Palace in The Hague.

1914  World War I: the Royal Navy defeated the German fleet in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.

1916  World War I: Germany declared war on Romania.

1916 – World War I: Italy declared war on Germany.

1917  Ten Suffragettes we re arrested while picketing the White House.

1924 Janet Frame, New Zealand author, was born (d. 2004).

1924 The Georgian opposition stages the August Uprising against the Soviet Union.

1930 Windsor Davies, British actor, was born.

1931  France and Soviet Union signed a treaty of non-aggression.

1937  Toyota Motors became an independent company.

1943  World War II: in Denmark, a general strike against the Nazi occupation started.

1944  World War II: Marseille and Toulon were liberated.

1948 Danny Seraphine, American musician (Chicago), was born.

1951 Wayne Osmond, American singer (The Osmonds), was born.

1953  Nippon Television broadcast Japan’s first television show, including its first TV advertisement.

1954 Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were convicted of murdering Parker’s mother Honora.

'Heavenly Creatures' found guilty of murder

1955  Black teenager Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

1961 Motown released what would be its first #1 hit, “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.

1963 March on Washington for Jobs and FreedomMartin Luther King, Jr.gave his I Have a Dream speech.

1963 Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie were murdered in their Manhattan flat, prompting the events that led to the passing of the Miranda Rights.

1964  The Philadelphia race riot began.

1965 Shania Twain, Canadian singer, was born.

1988 Ramstein airshow disaster: three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collided. The wreckage fell into the crowd killing  75 and seriously injuring 346.

1990  Iraq declared Kuwait to be its newest province.

1990 The Plainfield Tornado: an F5 tornado hit Plainfield and Joliet, Illinois, killing 28 people.

1991  Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

1991 Collapse of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

1992 Canterbury’s “Big Snow“.

Canterbury's 'Big Snow'

1996  Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales divorced.

2003  An electricity blackout cut off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brought 60% of London’s underground rail network to a halt.

2011 – Hurricane Irene struck the United States east coast, killing 47 and causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

27/08/2019

Ennui – a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement; a feeling of weariness and discontent   Resulting from satiety or lack of interest; a feeling of boredom and mental tiredness caused by having nothing interesting or exciting to do.


Thatcher thinks

27/08/2019


Rural round-up

27/08/2019

Has farming lost its ability to influence? – Lindy Nelson:

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Lindy Nelson questions if real is the new fake and fake is the new real when it comes to media coverage of agriculture.

I’ve been thinking about influence lately and how as a sector we seem to be losing the ability to do this effectively with our fellow New Zealanders.

As hard as we try to tell our good stories, others speak louder about all that is wrong with how we produce grass-fed, free-to-range food.

So it was fascinating to listen to Frederic Leroy at the Red Meat Sector Conference recently present “Red meat – facing the challengers in the post-truth area. What’s real, what’s not“. . .

Ag Proud engages urban folk – Neal Wallace:

Southland farmers have formed a group to engage with their urban neighbours on what happens on farms and why.

Ag Proud member Jon Pemberton says stress among farmers from a recent winter grazing media campaign by activists was the catalyst for its formation. It launched last week by hosting a free barbecue in Invercargill to engage with city people.

It does not have an agenda other than to celebrate the rural sector and to share that pride and information about what farmers do and why.

The movement also hopes to highlight the issue of mental health among those in rural NZ. . . 

Government must provide leadership– Allan Barber:

In contrast to its positive social agenda to improve the average person’s lot by lifting the minimum wage, increasing teachers’ pay rates and attempting to increase home ownership, this government seems to have gone missing in action with respect to the farming sector. Apart from Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor’s rather lonely efforts as a cheerleader for agriculture, other government ministers only pop their heads above the parapet when there’s some good environmental news or forestry initiative to crow about, or a new, and scientifically flawed, methane reduction target to ask farmers to meet. 

Agriculture contributes about 80% of merchandise exports and employs 15% of the workforce which underlines how critical the sector is to the New Zealand economy. Yet to observe the government’s attitude, one would think agriculture’s contribution to the economy was relatively insignificant or easy to replace. When it comes to addressing climate change and formulating the Carbon Zero strategy, agricultural production, at least red meat and dairy, appears to be an inconvenience which must be discouraged so New Zealand can meet a set of unachievable targets. These targets are being negotiated against a backdrop of dire predictions about the catastrophic effect of global temperature and sea level increase which the world’s economies should have addressed 50 years ago to avoid disaster. . .

Cavalier announces strategic collaboration with NZ Merino Company –  Rebecca Howard:

Cavalier Corp announced a “collaboration” with the New Zealand Merino company as it looks to cash in on a growing consumer trend toward natural fibres and away from synthetics.

Yesterday its shares tumbled after it said it will write-down or impair the value of goodwill and various plant and equipment by as much as $9 million and was in discussions “with a respected industry participant regarding a collaboration that will build on Cavalier’s capabilities and make a transformative change into a design-led, wool focused company.”

Today it identified that company as New Zealand Merino. Chief executive Paul Alston told BusinessDesk that NZ Merino wasn’t buying a stake in Cavalier but would supply them with wool and use their expertise to help market and promote the benefits of wool. . . 

Woolless lamb ‘one of the ugliest lambs I’ve ever seen’:

A Rotorua farmer reckons he is the proud owner of the ugliest lamb he has ever seen.

Javier Browne said the “really shy” newborn was now a family pet.

One of a set of triplets – the lamb is woolless, basically bald – and a genetic rarity.

“When I first saw her I was shocked, didn’t really know, like ‘is that actually a sheep or what’,” Mr Browne said.

5 ways UK farmers are tackling climate change – David Brown:

Farmers are on the front line of climate change – vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

They also face criticism , in particular over greenhouse gas emissions from the meat and dairy industry, with calls for a move to a more plant-based diet.

Agriculture is currently responsible for about 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from methane.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 UK farmers, has set a target of net-zero emissions in British farming by 2040. . . .

Could the Biblical practice of gleaning cut food waste? – Rebecca Wearn:

It is a hot July day in Lancashire and a dozen people are gathering on a dusty farm track two miles outside the market town of Ormskirk. They are gleaners – volunteer harvesters picking what’s left in the ground.

It’s for a good cause: the unwanted kale from this farm will be donated to local food projects and charities. And it is good weather; the broad blue sky is softly streaked with cirrus clouds. Cabbage white butterflies flit between the chamomile blooms and bushy deep green brassica leaves.

Feedback Global is one of a handful of campaign groups organising gleans across Britain. It’s seen its efforts swell – more than doubling the days in the fields between 2014 and 2018, working with four times as many volunteers and harvesting more than a hundred tonnes of unwanted fruit and vegetables from farms – that would otherwise be left to rot. . .

 


In need of govt that knows what it’s doing

27/08/2019

Kerre McIvor has tuned into a widespread feeling that the government doesn’t know what it’s doing:

She says that the previous National Government felt more like they were in control of the steering wheel.

“This Government, I just get a sense they have no idea what they are doing.” 

She also took aim at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her refusal to answer questions. 

“I don’t get the sense she’s across her job.”

“You would think even she could set the agenda and put it to him and get the people to brief you. Just one solid answer would be fantastic.

“You’re in charge of the country, act like it!” 

McIvor says that Labour probably didn’t expect to be in Government after the last election, but that was 18 months ago and they should be up and running now.

“I get the sense that they are still trying to get their heads around the job, but this is their job. This is what they have been training all their lives to do – be the Government – and they aren’t doing a very good job of it.” 

I happened to tune into Newstalk ZB yesterday morning when this was being discussed. In spite of pleas from McIvor for people to call and counter her view, almost every call and tweet agreed with her.

Labour wasted almost nine years in opposition with in-fighting. It did little to no policy development and the problems with that have been compounded by its coalition partners.

Bill Ralston opines:

. . .It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the lack of planning and joined-up thinking is a result of the fact that the three political parties in charge have wildly disparate views on what should be done, and, in many cases, nothing is done to genuinely address a problem because one or more of them will block the others’ programme.

The only part of Government that seems to be working in high gear is its publicity machine. Press conferences are held, photo opportunities delivered, media releases pumped out and the appearance of action is created. However, when you look closely, too often you see the scheme just announced is largely cosmetic and does not address the core of the problem. Worse, public money is devoted to a cause but there is no advance planning as to how it should be put to best use.

It seems to me that the Government is making it up as it goes along, occasionally content to be seen to be doing something about problems but not really addressing the causes, because the coalition parties cannot agree on policies. . . 

How long before this starts to show in the polls?

 

While the government is floundering, National is working hard to develop policies and yesterday announced its economic discussion document.

Simon Bridges started by explaining something the current government doesn’t understand: why their economy matters:

A strong economy means New Zealanders have more in their back pockets to afford the things that matter to them.

Whether that is putting more food in the table or being able to afford nice things for your kids.

A strong economy also means we can invest in the things that matter to New Zealanders.

But a strong economy, first and foremost, needs confident thriving businesses that are willing to invest in new technologies, create more jobs and pay higher wages.

National recognises that Government does not drive the economy.

The economy is driven by all of the people who have good ideas, get up early, work hard, invest their time and money, take risks and try and build opportunities for themselves and others. It’s driven by the people in this room.

New Zealanders need a Government that backs them to compete on the world stage and provides the foundations they need to get on with doing business.

New Zealanders also need a government that knows what it is doing, where it wants to go and has a plan for getting there, none of which this government does or has.

Some of the commitments in the discussion document include:

  • Requiring all government departments and government agencies to pay their contractors on time and within 30 days;
  • Establishing a ‘Small Business Payments Guarantee’;
  • Repealing 100 regulations in our first six months of office;
  • Eliminating two old regulations for every new regulation introduced in our first term;
  • Requiring quality cost-benefit analysis for any major new regulation;
  • Māori land reform; and
  • Ensuring the Treasury has a greater focus on providing sound advice on the effectiveness of Government spending, identifying wasteful spending and driving higher productivity in the public sector;

We’re also proposing or asking for New Zealanders feedback on:

  • Considering new innovative approaches to infrastructure funding;
  • Pricing mechanisms to manage the flow of traffic that are revenue neutral;
  • Allowing savers to deduct the inflation component from their interest income;
  • Accelerated depreciation of business assets;
  • Removing the ability for Governments to give preferential pay agreements to union members during public sector wage negotiations;
  • Bank account number portability; and
  • Removing all remaining tariffs.

And we’re re-confirming a number of previous commitments, including:

  • Indexing tax thresholds to inflation;
  • Repealing the Regional Fuel Tax;
  • Overhauling the Resource Management Act;
  • Reintroducing targets in health, education and law and order;
  • Encouraging direct investment in productive assets by overturning the Government’s foreign investment changes;
  • Repealing the ban on oil and gas exploration; and
  • Repealing recent Government changes made to the Employment Relations Act, such as removing 90-day trial periods.

Some of this continues work National did in government, some of it is new.

All of it shows a party far more prepared for government and running the country than the ones that are supposed to be doing it now.


Quote of the day

27/08/2019

As long as you persecute people, you will actually throw up terrorism.Antonia Fraser who celebrates her 87th birthday today.


August 27 in history

27/08/2019

479 BC Persian forces led by Mardonius were routed by Pausanias, the Spartan commander of the Greek army in the Battle of Plataea.

410 The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ended after three days.

663 Battle of Baekgang: Remnants of the Korean Baekje Kingdom and their Yamato Japanese allies engaged the combined naval forces of the Tang Chinese and Silla Koreans on the Geum River.

1172  Henry the Young King and Margaret of France were crowned as junior king and queen of England.

1232  The Formulary of Adjudications was promulgated by Regent Hōjō Yasutoki.

1689  The Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed by Russia and the Qing empire.

1776 The Battle of Long Island:  British forces under General William Howe defeated Americans under General George Washington.

1793 French counter-revolution: the port of Toulon revolted and admitted the British fleet, which landed troops and seized the port leading to Siege of Toulon.

1798 Wolfe Tone’s United Irish and French forces clashed with the British Army in the Battle of Castlebar.

1803 Edward Beecher, American theologian, was born (d. 1895).

1810 Napoleonic Wars: The French Navy defeated the British Royal Navy, preventing them from taking the harbour of Grand Port on Île de France.

1813  French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a larger force of Austrians, Russians, and Prussians at the Battle of Dresden.

1828 Uruguay was formally proclaimed independent at preliminary peace talks brokered by Great Britain between Brazil and Argentina during the Argentina-Brazil War.

1859 Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.

1875 Katharine McCormick, American women’s rights activist, was born (d. 1967).

1877 Charles Rolls, British co-founder of Rolls-Royce, was born (d. 1910).

1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in world history (09:00 to 09:45) between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.

1899 C. S. Forester, British author, was born (d. 1966).

1904 The foundation stone for Victoria College (now Victoria University of Wellington), was laid.

Foundation stone for Victoria’s first building laid

1904 Norah Lofts, British author, was born (d. 1983).

1908 Sir Donald Bradman, Australian cricketer, was born (d. 2001).

1908 Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, was born (d. 1973).

1911 Joseph Pawelka escaped from Wellington’s Terrace Gaol – the last in a series of bold but seemingly effortless prison escapes Pawelka made over an 18-month period.

Pawelka's last prison break

1921 The British installed the son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali as King Faisal Iof Iraq.

1922 The Turkish army took the Aegean city of Afyonkarahisar from the Greeks.

1928 The Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war was signed by the first fifteen nations.

1932 Antonia Fraser, British author, was born.

1939 First flight of the turbojet-powered Heinkel He 178, the world’s first jet aircraft.

1942 Daryl Dragon, American keyboardist (Captain & Tennille), was born.

1947 John Morrison, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1962  The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission was launched to Venus by NASA.

1979  An IRA bomb killed  Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and 3 others in Sligo. Another bomb near Warrenpoint killed 18 British soldiers.

1982  Turkish military diplomat Colonel Atilla Altıkat was shot and killed in Ottawa. Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide claimed responsibility, saying they were avenging the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

1985 The Nigerian government was peacefully overthrown by Army Chief of Staff Major General Ibrahim Babangida.

1991 – Moldova declared independence from the USSR.

1993  The Rainbow Bridge, connecting Tokyo’s Shibaura and the island of Odaiba, was completed.

2000  The 540-metre (1,772 ft)-tall Ostankino Tower in Moscow caught fire, killing three people.

2003 Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

2006  Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky killing 49 of the 50 passengers and crew.

2009 – The Burmese military junta and ethnic armies began three days of violent clashes in the Kokang Special Region.

2011 – Hurricane Irene struck the United States east coast, killing 47 and causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage.

2013 – Riots between two religious communities started at Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

26/08/2019

Glean – obtain information from various sources, and in small amounts, often with difficulty; to pick over in search of relevant material; to gather leftover grain after a harvest; gather produce left by reapers; to pick up after a reaper; to strip of the leavings of reapers.

 


Sowell says

26/08/2019


Ray Henwood 15.1.37 – 26.8.19

26/08/2019

Welsh-born New Zealand actor Ray Henwood has died:

One of New Zealand’s most beloved actors – and a man perhaps best known for helping highlight 1980s public-service New Zealand in the TV sitcom Gliding On – has died.

Ray Henwood died on Monday morning aged 82, Wellington’s Circa Theatre confirmed.

A pillar of Circa since co-founding it in 1976, the Welsh-born actor appeared in many plays, films and television programmes, notably the sitcom Gliding On.

Gliding On screened on TV between 1981 and 1985 – a comedy that “satirised a paper-pushing working life then-familiar to many Kiwis”, according to NZ on Screen. It featured four staff members at a government supply office. . . 

You can watch a Screentalk interview with him here.


Rural round-up

26/08/2019

Time to stop shaming farmers – Rowena Duncan:

The recent Will to Live Tour gets The Country Early Edition host Rowena Duncum thinking about rural mental health.

Just last month I had a bad day. We all get them. I felt like there’s so much negativity out there aimed at farmers.

A few hours later though, I got a swift reality check in the form of a passionate and switched-on 21-year-old imploring more than 200 people in Balclutha to remember “how good we are at what we do” and to “be bloody proud to be a farmer”.

By the time you read this, the Will to Live charity’s ‘Speak Up Tour’ will have just completed its 13th event, with four still to come later this month. . .

Restored wetland in the Waikato shows how farmers can hugely improve water quality.:

Gray Baldwin has spent five years undoing work his grandfather did on the family’s South Waikato farm – and he’s thrilled with the result.

He and wife Marilyn own 713ha south of Lichfield, near Putaruru. They have a 200ha dairy farm running 900 cows and 160ha planted in maize. The rest of the property is in forestry or retired land.

“We’ve been there since 1955,” Gray says. “I’m the third generation, my son runs the farm and we’ve got three grandsons running around the place now.” . . 

The rest of the story about animal agriculture and climate:

Frank Mitloehner is on a mission.

In the wake of a United Nations report pinning much of human-caused global warming on animal agriculture and promoting veganism as the logical alternative, Mitloehner, a professor of animal science and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, wants to set the record straight.

In doing that, he is encouraging farmers and ranchers to tell the public, as radioman Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

While the U.N. report pointed out that cattle and other animals do indeed produce the greenhouse gas methane — no secret there — he says the U.N. and “special friends” such as anti-animal agriculture activists and vegan promoters leave out important facts. . .

Estuary ‘riddled’ with whitebait:

Key to improving water quality is increasing NZ’s wetlands – after 90 per cent were drained.

It’s not everyone who can relax after a hard day’s work, throw out a line and hook a snapper for dinner from their own backyard.

Tapora dairy farmer Earle Wright can. Yet his good fortune is not due to luck or some inside knowledge about a secret fishing spot.

Rather it is a payback for years of effective environmental stewardship of his 120ha farm, a property backing on to an estuary in the Kaipara Harbour north of Auckland. . .

Cost should not shut borrower out of mediation sharemilkers say:

The Sharemilkers Section of Federated Farmers strongly supports the Farm Debt Mediation Bill (No 2) but would like to see changes to ensure a borrower isn’t shut out of the process because they can’t afford it.

The legislation could make it compulsory for lenders to make funds available to farmers to fund their share of mediation costs, Sharemilkers Chairperson Richard McIntyre told the Primary Production Select Committee this morning.

Alternatively, it could require the lender to fund the mediation, “which we as a sector would no doubt fund indirectly through increased fees”. . . 

Zanda McDonald Award winners have bright futures – Jessica Johnston:

TWO young guns are making great strides in the northern beef industry, proving the future of agriculture is in safe hands.

The passion and commitment to their chosen careers has seen Queenslander Shannon Landmark and the NT’s Luke Evans offered a unique mentoring opportunity under the Zanda McDonald Award, which recognises outstanding young professionals in the ag sector.

Ms Landmark, 28, was born in Mount Isa to a mining family, and garnered an interest in agriculture throughout her time in regional Queensland. . . 

 


Voluntary bonding much better than free fees

26/08/2019

A record number of mental health nurses have joined the voluntary bonding scheme:

The government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme gives health professionals the incentive to fill gaps in hard-to-staff professions and in communities where they are needed.

This year overall, 357 people were accepted into the scheme, similar to last year.

However, a record 148 mental health nurses were accepted, up 11 percent on last year.

That included 24 from Canterbury District Health Board, 19 from Waitematā DHB and 18 from Counties Manukau DHB. . . 

The scheme was launched in 2009. It offers bonded after-tax payments to doctors, midwives, nurses, medical physicists, radiation therapists, sonographers and dentists. . . 

This was a National government scheme and it’s a far better one than Labour’s free-fees for all first year students.

The former is targeted, the latter is not. The former is for graduates, people who have successfully completed their studies, the latter is for first years who may or may not pass and if they do may or may not continue studying.

The voluntary bonding  scheme makes it more attractive for people to take up work in hard-to-staff professions, communities and/or specialties.

It makes it less difficult for employers looking for those skilled people in those places and pays more to those who take up the jobs as either top-up income or off-setting their student loans off their student loans.

It also helps retain newly graduated professionals in New Zealand.

That’s good for employers, the people who need the services the professionals provide, and the country.

Contrast that with the fee-free policy which helps students, only some of whom need it, at considerable cost to the country.


Quote of the day

26/08/2019

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”  ― John Buchan who was born on this day in 1875.


August 26 in history

26/08/2019

1071  Battle of Manzikert: The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Army at Manzikert.

1278 Ladislaus IV of Hungary and Rudolph I of Germany defeated Premysl Ottokar II of Bohemia in the Battle of Marchfield near Dürnkrut in (then) Moravia.

1346  Hundred Years’ War: the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights was established at the Battle of Crécy.

1498  Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pietà.

1676 Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1745).

1768 The HM Bark Endeavour expedition under Captain James Cook set sail from England.

1778 The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia.

1789  Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by National Assembly at Palace of Versailles.

1819 Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1861).

1858 First news dispatch by telegraph.

1862 American Civil War: the Second Battle of Bull Run began.

1865 Arthur James Arnot, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1946).

1866 – After two bungled attempts and near disaster at sea, the first communications cable between the North and South Islands of New Zealand   was completed.

Submarine telegraph line laid across Cook Strait

1875 John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Scottish novelist, Governor General of Canada, was born (d. 1940).

1883 The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa began its final, paroxysmal, stage.

1894 The second Maori King, Tukaroto Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero Tawhiao, died.

Death of second Maori King

1898 Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector, was born (d. 1979).

1901 – Eleanor Dark, Australian author and poet, was born (d. 1985).

1904 Christopher Isherwood, English-born writer, was born (d. 1986).

1906 Albert Sabin, American polio researcher, was born (d. 1993).

1910 Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winning Christian missionary, was born (d. 1997).

1911 – The New Zealand Coat of Arms was warranted.

1914  World War I: the German colony of Togoland was invaded by French and British forces.

1920  The 19th amendment to United States Constitution took effect, giving women the right to vote.

1940 Chad was the first French colony to join the Allies under the administration of Félix Éboué, France’s first black colonial governor.

1942  Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine: At 2.30 am the German Schutzpolizei started driving Jews out of their houses, divided them into groups of 120, packed them in freight cars and deported 2000 to Belzec death camp; 500 of the sick and children were murdered on the spot.

1944 World War II: Charles de Gaulle entered Paris.

1957 The USSR announced the successful test of an ICBM – a “super long distance intercontinental multistage ballistic rocket … a few days ago,” according to the Soviet news agency, ITAR-TASS.

1970  The then new feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, led a nation-wide Women’s Strike for Equality.

1977  The Charter of the French Language was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec

1978   Pope John Paul I was elected to the Papacy.

1978 – Sigmund Jähn became first German cosmonaut on board of the Soyuz 31 spacecraft.

1980  Macaulay Culkin, American actor, was born.

1982 David Long, New Zealand musician, was born.

1992 Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar signed agreement of split of Czechoslovakia in Brno.

1997  Beni-Ali massacre in Algeria; 60-100 people killed.

1999 – Russia began the Second Chechen War in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade.

2002 – Earth Summit 2002 began in Johannesburg.

2011 – The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s all-new composite airliner, received certification from the EASA and the FAA.

2013 – Nationwide protests were held across the Philippines over the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

2015 – Two journalists were shot and killed by a disgruntled former coworker while conducting a live report in Moneta, Virginia.

2017  – The Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Georgia, replacing the Georgia Dome that was demolished on November 20.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

25/08/2019

Chit – a short official note, typically recording a sum owed; a signed voucher of a small debt; any receipt, voucher, or similar document, especially of an informal nature; a note; a short memorandum; a silly young girl; a pert, impudent or self-confident young woman or child; to prepare potatoes or other tumors for planting by placing in a tray in a cool, light place.


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