You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in classrooms.
— Thomas Sowell (@ThomasSowell) July 9, 2020
Eighty three of the world’s wealthy are asking governments to tax them more:
Businessman and philanthropist Sir Stephen Tindall is among the world’s richest people urging governments to raise taxes on the rich, as the world grapples with the economic impact of Covid-19.
Tindall is one of 83 millionaires who signed an open letter which said “today, we, the undersigned millionaires, ask our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently”.
“As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world,” it says.
“So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice.”
Are they saying this in the knowledge that they have been and are paying all the tax they should, that they haven’t arranged their affairs to minimize their personal or business taxes?
Oh and how many of them have applied for government subsidies? If they have, would they like to start by repaying at least some of that?
The letter says: “No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door.”
But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.” . . .
They do have lots of money and they’ve got that through hard work and shrewd investments. Do these people really think the government would spend their money better and do more good with it than they can?
If so they are free to give the national coffers a lot more money than they owe in tax at any time.
But there aren’t very many really rich people in New Zealand and governments aren’t as good at using other people’s money as successful people are at using their own.
If they really want to make a positive difference the wealthy would be better to invest their money themselves in businesses that would increase or create jobs, preferably ones that would also earn export income to replace at least some of what we’ve lost from international tourism and education.
These successful businesses would then contribute to the tax take without the need for the punitive tax rates the wealthy are suggesting.
If they prefer something more philanthropic they could build and run charitable hospitals and schools to reduce the burden of providing health and education services publicly.
Either way they would waste less and achieve more than the governments they are so eager to give more to would.
Judith Collins is National’s new leader.
Gerry Brownlee is her deputy.
Perdure – to remain in existence, continue to exist; endure; last indefinitely or permanently.
Urban spread: farmer accuses councils of economic vandalism – Tom Kitchin:
A small group of Hawke’s Bay landowners are fighting to ensure what’s described as “a cancerous” spread of urban development doesn’t destroy quality crop lands on the Heretaunga Plains.
Councils agree that something must be done, but say it’s not an overnight fix.
Most days for the past 25 years, Richard Gaddum has gone up into the hills on his cattle farm above Havelock North to take in the view.
It captures the vast plains with the hills and mountains beyond. . .
Wool report: on ‘cusp of renaissance‘ – Sally Rae:
A wool working group has finally released its long-awaited report, saying it believes natural fibres are “on the cusp of a renaissance” and a new approach is needed.
The Wool Industry Project Action Group was established in 2018 to look at opportunities to improve returns for the beleaguered crossbred wool sector.
New Zealand was one of the world’s most significant producers of strong wool; it produced around 10% of global wool of all micron types and around 20% of the 500 million kg of strong wool produced globally, the report said.
But increased competition from synthetic fibres had reduced demand for strong wool and led to a long-term contraction of the sector. . .
Action now needed for wool say industry leaders – Sally Rae:
National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests chairman Craig Smith says the big thing missing from the wool working group’s report is an action plan to deliver the recommendations.
Mr Smith, who is general manager of Devold Wool Direct, was part of the working group in the early stages when it was set up in 2018.
“We all know the wool industry is in a bloody tough space but we didn’t want it to be just another report.”
But the report that had been produced reiterated the industry was in a bad place, and something needed to be done about it — “and here’s a few ideas”, he said. . .
Night Shift – Milk Truck Driver – Andrea Vance:
Throughout the night, a fleet of tankers is on the road collecting milk from all over the country. Meet a man behind the wheel of one of them.
In the silent, starless night, Darren Mason’s enormous truck thunders off the state highway and onto a country lane, churning up a cloud of dust.
Sleepy cows rise onto their knees in fright, frozen breath suspended in the chill air. A lone dog starts to bark somewhere in the distance.
The tanker rolls into the yard, its headlights illuminating two huge stainless steel milk vats. . .
Courgette prices jumped 74 percent to an all-time high of $21.42 per kilo in June 2020, as imports from Queensland continued to be barred, Stats NZ said today.
Overall vegetable prices were up 7.6 percent in June, also influenced by seasonally higher prices for tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and courgettes. These rises were offset by typical falls for winter crops including potatoes, onions, and carrots.
Both tomatoes and courgettes are more expensive than usual at this time of the year. . .
The art of Michelle Clarke – Cheyenne Nicholson :
A Canterbury farmer who is a self-confessed creative type says it hasn’t been the easiest of roads turning a passion for art into a fully-fledged business but she has done just that and is drawing inspiration from rural life. Cheyenne Nicholson reports.
CANTERBURY farmer Michelle Clarke has trod a rather wobbly career path and even when she settled on art it very nearly didn’t happen.
But now she has forged a successful art career that has grown her business, The Art of Michelle Clarke, into a full-time job. Her photographs and artwork grace the pages of magazines and walls all around the country and more recently she has turned her hand to writing and illustrating a children’s book.
Michelle and husband Stephen Tuck manage on a 224-hectare dairy farm at Hororata where they milk 750 cows. . .
NewstalkZB has just announced breaking news that Todd Muller has resigned as leader of the National Party.
Todd’s statement reads:
I have taken time over the weekend to reflect on my experience over the last several weeks as Leader of the Opposition.
It has become clear to me that I am not the best person to be Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the New Zealand National Party at this critical time for New Zealand.
It is more important than ever that the New Zealand National Party has a leader who is comfortable in the role.
The role has taken a heavy toll on me personally, and on my family, and this has become untenable from a health perspective.
For that reason I will be stepping down as Leader effective immediately.
I intend to take some time out of the spotlight to spend with family and restore my energy before reconnecting with my community.
I look forward to continuing to serve as a loyal member of the National Party team and Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty.
I will not be making any further comment.
Please respect the privacy of my family and me.
This is a bombshell but the right decision for him and one that took a lot of self knowledge.
Leading the Opposition is a tough job at the best of times and he didn’t have any of the honeymoon new leaders usually get.
The caucus now has the job of voting in a replacement and then uniting behind the new leader.
There is no time for internal strife, the country needs a strong and united Opposition and one that is capable of becoming the government in a very few weeks.
The Serious Fraud Office has commenced an investigation over donations made to the Labour Party in 2017.
The SFO said in a statement this afternoon that it is presently conducting four investigations in relation to electoral funding matters.
A fifth matter that the agency investigated relating to electoral funding is now before the courts.
“We consider that making the current announcement is consistent with our past practice in this area of electoral investigations and in the public interest,” the SFO”s director Julie Read said.
In the interests of transparency and consistency, the SFO announced the commencement of all these investigations, she said.
However, the SFO said it had no further comment to make on the Labour Party investigation.
The department’s ongoing investigations include one into the New Zealand First Foundation and two other separate investigations into Auckland Council and Christchurch City Council mayoral electoral funding.
The fifth relates to donations paid to the National Party, which has led to criminal charges Independent MP Jami-Lee Ross and three other businessmen.
The SFO has not laid charges against the National Party, its staff or members but that distinction might be lost on anyone not into the minutiae of the case against Ross and the three businessmen.
The Serious Fraud Office says it is on track to make a call before this year’s election on whether to lay charges in relation to the New Zealand First Foundation, which has been bankrolling the New Zealand First Party. . .
David Farrar says the charges probably result from an art auction:
If I am correct that this is what the SFO is investigating, then it will come down to whether Labour valued the artworks fairly. That determines who get listed as the donor.
Let’s say a painting went for $25,000. Now if the painting is worth $20,000 normally then the artist is deemed to have made a $20,000 donation and the bidder a $5,000 donation as they paid $25,000 for something worth $20,000.
And only donations over $15,000 get the identity published, so the person who paid $25,000 for it, has their identity hidden.
But what if the painting wasn’t really worth $20,000. Let’s say that is a nominal value but in reality it is only worth $7,000. Then the donor has made an effective donation of $18,000 and should have been disclosed. . .
Having Labour, the NZ First Foundation, two former Labour MPs who are now mayors and donors to the National Party under investigation isn’t ideal. But it’s better than suspected transgressions of Electoral Law and political donations being swept under the carpet.
However, even political tragics might be tempted to say a plague on all their houses and calls are already being made for public funding of political parties.
That is not the answer to the problem of breaking the law.
The answer is good law that people follow with good processes for ensuring they do and strong consequences if they don’t.
Argent – silver; silvery white; silver as a heraldic tincture; of the tincture or metal silver; silver coin; money.
Why is the Tahr Foundation fighting to keep them in New Zealand?
The Tahr Foundation has released a short video that shows just what Himalayan tahr mean to Kiwis and why so many people are fighting so hard to maintain them in New Zealand.
The video is a powerful reminder of the extent that tahr are now woven into the fabric of everyday New Zealand life.
New Zealand’s Tahr – They Are Us is available at https://youtu.be/SQyEwlgYSB4
“From people that work in the hunting industry and make a living from these animals to those from all other walks of life that just love spending time in the mountains amongst them, this video shows just how much tahr mean to so many Kiwis,” says Tahr Foundation Spokesperson Willie Duley.
“For the professional and recreational hunters, climbers, trampers, school teachers, sportsmen, helicopter operators and families that appear in this video, tahr not only enhance their experience in the mountains but in many cases are the reason for it.”
“We also want to see tahr properly managed and our alpine flora and fauna preserved because those of us who love the mountain environment and spend so much of our time there have the greatest stake in looking after it.”
“Despite our win in the High Court which confirmed DOC had not properly consulted with us, it is still extremely disappointing that they have been allowed to carry on in the interim with 125 hours of culling and the eradication of all tahr including bulls in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.”
“This interim culling still has the potential to decimate the tahr resource and the livelihoods of thousands, which is exactly what we have been fighting against and will continue to do so until an agreement is reached” says Duley.
“We feel the Minister and DOC are riding rough-shod over those of us with an interest in tahr, and the people that appear in this video and the near 50,000 others that have signed our petition are asking that their voice be heard.”
“It’s time this almost annual conflict was ended, and we’re given the opportunity to sit down with all stakeholders and constructively work together.”
“The Tahr Foundation wants to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council to come up with an enduring management strategy that fits with the realities of modern New Zealand and will work for both recreation and conservation. This is neither impossible nor too much to ask.”
IrrigationNZ believes Government investment in the water sector is a step in the right direction – but calls for a broader strategy to encompass all water infrastructure, including storage and policy development.
Today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the Government will invest $761 million for a much-needed upgrade to water services across the country.
IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Soal says the proposal to reform water service delivery into large-scale multi-regional providers(for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater)will provide greater opportunities for investment in water infrastructure (such as water storage) that will improve outcomes beyond three waters, to include water for irrigation, reallocation, and the environment. . .
On 3rd July 2020 Potatoes NZ submitted an application to Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment for anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products originating in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The application is based on the real threat of material injury to the New Zealand potato industry.
The threat is a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands.
This situation has arisen through the impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic causing supply chain disruption in hospitality industries worldwide. . .
Making quality beef genetics easier for dairy farmers to access is the aim of a new industry partnership.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics and LIC are collaborating to help fulfil growing demand for beef genetics suitable for New Zealand dairy cows.
The collaboration has seen the creation of the B+LNZ Genetics Dairy Beef Progeny Test, devised to identify quality beef bulls and help enable their widespread use for dairy beef.
Beef breeders can nominate their best bulls for consideration for the programme, with successful bulls then becoming part of the progeny test scheme. . .
The Professional Hunting Guides Association is welcoming the High Court decision on DoC’s controversial tahr campaign.
The High Court in Wellington was asked on Wednesday by the Tahr Foundation for a judicial review of DoC’s plan to kill thousands of Himalayan Tahr in the Southern Alps.
In a decision released this afternoon, the court ruled in the Tahr Foundation’s favour over the lack of consultation with hunting groups.
Professional Hunting Guides Association president James Cagney says the decision is a huge relief. . .
A High Court decision has stopped this clumsy and incompetent Government from destroying a $17 million industry and hundreds of jobs, National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage gave permission for a large-scale cull of tahr to start on July 1st. The High Court decided to halt the controversial plan to kill thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps, which is not only a win for hunters, but for the many New Zealanders whose jobs were on the line.
“Eugenie Sage has made this brash decision before where she tried to enact a large-scale cull unsuccessfully. She must go back and consult with hunters and key stakeholders. . .
The Welsh government has confirmed that sustainable farming will remain at the heart of future agriculture support post-Brexit.
An official response has been published to last year’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation, which received over 3,300 responses from farmers and landowners.
The consultation proposed that future funding should support farmers who operate sustainable farming systems and protect the environment.
NFU Cymru replied to it by urging the Welsh government to be ‘careful, considered and measured’, and to develop future policy through a ‘process of evolution rather than revolution’. . .
Wreathe – to cover, engulf, surround (especially of vapour or fire); to twist in coils; writhe; to take on the shape of a wreath; encircle or adorn with or as with a wreath; to move or extend in circles or spirals.
Farm owner rejects carbon bids to buy East Coast station – Tom Kitchin:
A Gisborne farmer is ecstatic that a large sheep and cattle station in Tolaga Bay – which has just changed hands for the first time in nearly half a century – will not be turned into forestry.
Earlier this week the Labour Party announced plans to introduce legislation limiting forestry conversions of the most productive land, if it wins re-election.
Annette Couper is saying goodbye to Mangaheia Station, a farm that’s been in her family since the 1970s.
She said selling up was tough, but none of her daughters were farmers. . .
Shortage of skilled operators – Yvonne O’Hara:
Invercargill agricultural contractor Daryl Thompson is more than “extremely worried” about finding enough skilled and experienced staff to operate his expensive equipment for the coming season.
“On a scale of one to 10, ranging from not worried to extremely worried, I am sitting at a 12.”
Mr Thompson, of DThompson Contracting, usually employs 50 to 60 people in Southland during the season, including trainees and retired farmers. . .
The Tahr Foundation is welcoming the High Court decision halting DOC’s controversial plan to kill thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps.
The Foundation asked the High Court for a judicial review of DOC’s plan to exterminate all Himalayan Tahr in national parks and sharply reduce tahr populations in other areas.
The application was heard in the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday and Justice Dobson has just released his decision this afternoon.
In the decision, Justice Dobson says that DOC is to reconsider its decision to proceed with the 2020-2021 plan after consulting with interests represented by the Foundation and other stakeholders. . .
This month marks the 70th anniversary of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service, which was initially set up in 1950 to help a struggling post-war sheep sector.
The Service was established as a joint venture between the Meat Board and Wool Board after a 1947 Royal Commission study recommended establishing a Sheep Industry Board to collect and document factual information about farm production and economics.
This continues to be done today, as it was back in 1950, through the Economic Service’s Sheep and Beef Farm Survey.
As well as giving insight into the state and financial health of New Zealand’s agricultural industry, the information gathered through the Survey is used to inform local, regional and central government policy, underpin forecasts and trends in meat and wool production. It also enables farmers to benchmark their own businesses against others in their cohort. . .
Plans to sell and lease back its portfolio of properties are part of a range of ways Cavalier is financing its natural fibre strategy, chief executive Paul Alston says.
Alston said listing the firm’s three industrial sites in Auckland, Napier and Whanganui is about transforming the company into a high-end, premium flooring brand rather than strengthening the balance sheet.
“We are comfortable with current debt levels,” he said, referring to the sale and lease back plans and noted the firm can access more bank funding to cope with any covid-related impacts. . .
Over £2 million is being made available to Scottish landowners and farmers to help them play their part in creating more woodland.
The support is part of Scottish Forestry’s Harvesting and Processing Grant, which will help farmers and foresters buy specialist woodland equipment.
This could range from poly tunnels, seed trays through to mounding equipment, work site welfare units and small scale sawmills for wood processing. . .