Word of the day

September 3, 2019

BIndle – a bundle, usually of bedding and other possessions, carried by a hobo; the bag, sack, or carrying device used by a homeless person; a small paper packet containing drugs. 


Sowell says

September 3, 2019


Rural round-up

September 3, 2019

FMA looking into Fonterra’s asset write downs and financial performance following complaint – John Anthony:

The Financial Markets Authority is seeking information from Fonterra after receiving a complaint expressing concerns about the dairy cooperative’s expected record annual loss and asset write downs.

In early August Fonterra said it expected to make a loss for the 2019 financial year of between $590 million and $675m due to asset write downs of up to $860m.

A Financial Markets Authority (FMA) spokesman said it recently received a complaint about Fonterra’s financial reporting, and its audited financial statements over the last few years.

The complaint came from shareholder Colin Armer, who said he and his wife owned 10 million shares. . . 

Passion for sheep runs deep – Sally Rae:

She is known simply as “Sheepish Sophie”.

In the world of social media, Sophie Barnes – who has a strong following – is more well-known by that moniker.

Most recently, the young English shepherd and lamb-rearing specialist has been documenting her travels around the South Island with partner Dorrien Neeson and six dogs, working on various stations and farms.

At present stationed in the Waitaki Valley, Ms Barnes (27) admitted she had tried to find other hobbies apart from sheep farming and genetics but for her they did not exist . . 

The battle for trust – Peter Burke:

With distrust growing in consumers, even for science, gaining their trust is now more valuable to win than ever.

Tim Hunt, the head of RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness in Australasia, says trust is becoming more complex to succeed in and more valuable to win because of what is happening in New Zealand’s markets.

He says in emerging markets, such as China and Southeast Asia, consumers are placing enormous value on the safety of products, whereas in western markets they increasingly value sustainability, animal welfare, fairness and provenance.

Five years of Water Accord show dairy farmers doing their bit to improve water quality:

One of New Zealand’s biggest hands-on environmental efforts has created a wave of change on dairy farms across the country and is contributing to progress in improving water quality.

Today, the Sustainable Dairy: Water Accord farmers and partners announced their achievements to date, including:

  • fencing off dairy cattle from 24,249km (98.3%) of significant dairy accord waterways (waterways which are more than one metre wide and more than 30cm deep). That’s the equivalent of nearly 12 road trips from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Excluding stock from waterways is one of the most beneficial ways to improve water quality
  • installing bridges and culverts on 100% of stock crossing points dairy cows use
  • preparing 10,396 nutrient budgets – up from 6,400 budgets in the first year of the Accord. Nutrient budgets allow farmers to carefully plan nutrient applications and manage nutrient losses
  • assessing 100% of Accord farms for effluent management practices – this process checks that farms have appropriate infrastructure and systems in place to manage effluent
  • developing riparian management plans to protect water quality on 52% of Accord farms with waterways. . . 

Taking the bad with the good in dairy industry report:

Federated Farmers congratulates the dairy industry on another robust environmental report, which shows there are some good things to celebrate and some things that need further work.  

Today’s release of the now five year’s running Sustainable Dairy: Water Accord report shows there are still areas that need work, but overall dairy farmers should be proud of what they’ve achieved in a very short timeframe.

Amongst those matters that need further work are the 6.15% of significant non-compliance with effluent management requirements.

But overall Federated Farmers wants to give a big positive shout-out to what hard working farmers have achieved for the environment in the last 12 months. . .

Lamb export prices spring to a new high :

Export prices for lamb reached their highest point in the June 2019 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This level is the highest since the series began in 1982, and follows steady increases from the second half of 2016.

“Both lamb and beef prices rose this quarter, up 4.7 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, on the back of strong overseas demand,” overseas trade statistics manager Darren Allan said. . . 

Burgers and climate: the real beef

I have two burgers. One is a beef burger from McDonald’s on the left and the other on the right is a Beyond Meat, plant-protein burger from A&W.

You’ve been told by companies, groups and the media to choose; to eat less meat because one is better for the environment, and we’ve been led to believe that by picking one over the other, we’re doing our part in climate change and being more environmentally-friendly.

What if I told you that both burgers are doing their part and all agriculture is part of the solution, not the problem? What if I told you it’s not one versus the other when it comes to climate change? What if I told you there is more to the story than these companies are sharing? . . 


Another sign of softening economy

September 3, 2019

Fewer new vehicles are being sold:

For the fourth month in a row, fewer new vehicles were sold in August compared to the same month last year confirming that the overall market for the year will be down on 2018.

Motor Industry Association Chief Executive David Crawford says that for the month of August the number of new vehicle sales were 4.5% lower than August last year.

He says overall year-to-date sales were down by 5.1% percent on the first eight months of 2018, a reduction of just over 5,400 fewer vehicles sold in 2019 to date.

“Growth has disappeared from the 2019 market and we are expecting an out turn for 2019 at about 6% below 2018 levels.” . . 

 Commercial vehicle registrations of 4,101 were down 10.1%,  which is 460 vehicles compared with sales last August. That is another sign the economy is softening and confirms surveys showing business confidence is low.

The anti-car brigade might be pleased with this news, but it’s not fewer vehicles in total, it’s fewer new ones.

This means people are buying second-hand or keeping older vehicles longer rather than buying new more fuel-efficient and safer ones.

 


Do you want your taxes to fund political parties?

September 3, 2019

Another attempt to get state funding of political parties is underway:

. . .Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson wants foreign donations banned altogether, anonymous donations limited to just $1000 (it’s currently $15,000) and an overall cap of $35,000.

“At the moment big business can buy influence over our political system – there is no limit to what they can donate… At the moment, our current laws are ripe for dodgy dealing.” . . .

But without donations, political parties will have to rely on taxpayer funding to run their campaigns. Hager says this would be preferable to the status quo.

“Rather than them going off to get all sorts of slightly dodgy, slightly mildy legal but corrupt kind of ways from everyone who’s got lots of money, you just pay some public money… It’s just like we pay our police so they don’t have to collect bribes… we pay MPs so they don’t have to work on the side.”

If a politician can be bought for less than $15,000 we’ve got the wrong people as MPs.

If any politician can be bought for more than that we’ve got the wrong people as MPs.

The current law requires donations of $15,000 or more to be declared so any influence would be visible.

While many taxpayers would object to that, Hager says the cost would be a “tiny fraction of a percentage” of the “tens of billions” of dollars the Government spends every year, and worth it to ensure big business and wealthy foreigners don’t have undue influence over our politicians. . . “

If foreign donations are the problem, the law could require all donors to be citizens. It could go further and require all donors to be people and not organisations.

That would excite the unions and the parties they prop up. Matthew Hooton pointed out on RNZ yesterday it’s not just the money they contribute there’s the time and people power they put into supporting their chosen parties.

The cost of public funding of parties might be a ‘tiny fraction’ of government spending but that tiny fraction would be better spent on almost anything else the government funds or left in taxpayers’ pockets.

It’s hard enough to stomach some of the ideologically driven projects governments waste money on without expecting people to fund parties whose philosophies and policies they vehemently oppose as well.

Some parties have fewer, if any more, members than the 500 minimum required to register. Should they make it into parliament MMP gives them power well in excess of their size. Funding them as well would exacerbate the unfairness.

Parties are voluntary organisations. If they can’t attract enough volunteers and supporters to fund them, that’s their problem and not one which taxpayers ought to be forced to solve.


Quote of the day

September 3, 2019

I can see no hope at present of such a vaccine being produced… I have adopted a frankly defeatist attitude towards the problem of poliomyelitis and I hope that future developments will prove me wrong… No means of controlling poliomyelitis is at present visible. – Frank Macfarlane Burnet who was born on this day in 1899.


September 3 in history

September 3, 2019

36 BC  In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, admiral of Octavian, defeated Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey, thus ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.

301 San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.

590  Consecration of Pope Gregory the Great.

863  Major Byzantine victory at the Battle of Lalakaon against an Arab raid.

1189  Richard I of England (Richard “the Lionheart”) was crowned at Westminster.

1260  The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.

1650  Third English Civil War: Battle of Dunbar.

1651  Third English Civil War: Battle of Worcester – Charles II of England was defeated in the last main battle of the war.

1666  The Royal Exchange burned down in the Great Fire of London

1777  Cooch’s Bridge – Skirmish of American Revolutionary War in New Castle County, Delaware where the Flag of the United States was flown in battle for the first time.

1783  American Revolutionary War: The war ended with the signing of theTreaty of Paris by the United States and Great Britain.

1798  The week long battle of St. George’s Caye began between Spanish and British off the coast of Belize.

1802 William Wordsworth composed the sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge.

1803  English scientist John Dalton began using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.

1812  24 settlers were killed in the Pigeon Roost Massacre.

1838  Dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a Free Black seaman, future abolitionist Frederick Douglassboarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from slavery.

1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Siege of Metz began.

1875 – Ferdinand Porsche, Austrian-German engineer and businessman, founded Porsche (d. 1951)

1878 More than 640 died when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alicecollided with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames.

1899 – Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australian virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1985)

1905 – John Mills, New Zealand cricketer (d. 1972)

1914  William, Prince of Albania left the country after just six months due to opposition to his rule.

1933 Yevgeniy Abalakov reached the highest point of the Soviet Union – Communism Peak (7495 m).

1935  Sir Malcolm Campbell reached speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive a car over 300 mph.

1939  World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allies. In contrast to its entry into the First World War, New Zealand acted in its own right.

New Zealand declares war on Germany

1940 Pauline Collins, English actress, was born.

1941 Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experimented with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

1942 Al Jardine, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.

1942  World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn led an uprising in the Lakhva Ghetto.

1944  Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz.

1945 – Three-day celebration was held in China, following the Victory over Japan Day on September 2.

1947 Eric Bell, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born.

1950 “Nino” Farina became the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.

1951 The first long-running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its first episode on the CBS network.

1955 Steve Jones, English musician (Sex Pistols), was born.

1958 Pioneering heart surgeon Brian Barratt-Boyes performed New Zealand’s first open heart  surgery using a heart-lung bypass machine.

First open-heart surgery in NZ

1967  Dagen H in Sweden: traffic changed from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.

1971 Qatar became an independent state.

1976 The Viking 2 spacecraft landed at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

1987  In a coup d’état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.

1994 Sino-Soviet Split: Russia and the People’s Republic of China agreed to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.

1997 A Vietnam Airlines Tupolev TU-134 crashed on approach into Phnom Penh airport, killing 64.

1999  87-automobile pile-up on Highway 401 freeway just east of Windsor, Ontario, after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis: Day 3: The Beslan hostage crisis ended with the deaths of morethan 300 people, more than half of whom were children.

2014 – Heavy monsoon rains and flash floods leave over 200 people dead across India and Pakistan.

2017 – North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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