Rural round-up


Getting low riding out the big blow – Tim Fulton:

Tom Kearney, his wife and family hunkered down in a bedroom and rode it out when the nor’wester whacked their farm near Ashburton.

The Kearneys’ home at Winslow was well sheltered but it felt for a while like the windows might blow in, Kearney said.

“We’ve got a young daughter and another one on the way in about three weeks time so it could have got a bit frightening if it (the baby) decided to turn up a bit early.”

The sheep farmers expect they lost up to 1000 trees in the gale, about half the trees on the property. Some of thee shelter-belt trees were 50-60 years old. . .

Response needed on black grass – Annette Scott:

The black grass damage is done and the focus now must go on establishing a robust response plan, Methven cropping farmer Ian Letham says.

Letham farms along the route the contaminated seed took on its journey to a Methven seed-dressing plant.

“I’m extremely concerned about this issue,” he said of a biosecurity breach that resulted in the spillage of the noxious weed black grass in Mid Canterbury. . .

NZ-linked Chinese dairy firms rank highly – Jamie Gray:

Chinese dairy companies Yili and Mengniu – both of which will soon have factories in New Zealand – now rate among the top 15 of the world’s biggest dairy companies in terms of turnover, rural lending specialist Rabobank said.

Rabobank said Yili is now ranked at 12th, up from 15th last year, while Mengniu went to 15th from 16th.

Yili has plans to manufacture in South Canterbury while Yashili – which is in the throes of being taken over by Mengniu – is building a factory at Pokeno, on the southern outskirts of Auckland.

The top five rankings – with Fonterra at number four – remained unchanged from last year. . .

Genetics programme critical for improving productivity – Allan Barber:

Two complementary programmes have just been announced which promise to deliver improved sheep traits which will compensate for lower production and generate greater profits.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics is a proposed new partnership between B+LNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) which will combine existing levy payer funding of $2.9 million with $1.5 million of third party investment to be matched by $4.4 million from MBIE.

B+LNZ currently invests its share in the activities of Sheep Improvement Limited, Central Progeny Test and Ovita which has been a joint venture with AgResearch for the last 10 years. This will now be wrapped up into B+LNZ Genetics, while AgResearch will provide major input into the new programme which will broaden the historical breeding excellence focus to determine breeding values and genetic ability to perform on hill country. . .

Vision projects #4 – Credo Quia Absurdum Est:

I see agribusiness biotechnology startups in the news every week.  They usually have the words “Massey University”, or occasionally the school for backward farm kids “Lincoln” attached to them.

There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have Invercargill attached to them.

But we have had decades of wasteful spending on airport runways, pastoral land at Awarua and other ridiculous projects that are not going to create community wealth or jobs.

Invercargill needs to play to its strengths. . .

Pāua Data Logging to Better Manage the Fishery:
Commercial pāua diving is entering the electronic age with logging of every shellfish taken.

When the new season opens on Oct 1, every diver in the Pāua 2 fishery will be wearing a data logger that will record each captured pāua’s location, depth, weight and the water temperature.

The small electronic boxes strapped to wetsuits unload their data on the supporting dive boat, which will provide a reef by reef picture of what is happening in the fishery.

“This will allow us to spread the catch effort, ensure an area is not over exploited and better manage a sustainable fishery,” Tony Craig, Pāua 2 Management Group chairman, said. . .

If it’s not a beauty contest. . . ?


Nineteen women aged 17 to 25 entered the  2012 Miss Alexandra Swimsuit Competition.

. . . Judges Jacqui van Dam, Tim Riwhi, Carolyn Lyons and Amber Kinnaird said it was not a beauty pageant – it was about style, confidence and personality. . .

No doubt the judges knew what it was they were judging.

But if it wasn’t a beauty contest, why were the contestants in swimsuits and why only women?

Don’t men have style, confidence and personality?
Update – Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the first Tui Billboard of the year after finding an even better quote:

“It’s not about a beauty contest, just the personality that comes through in the questions they are asked and the confidence they have when they wear their outfit – the colours and how the bikini suits the personality”

Hmm – I bet a bikini wouldn’t suit some personalities no matter how sparkling they are.


Councils should stick to knitting


Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule has welcomed  comments  from Auditor General Lyn Provost on local authority Long Term Plans:

It notes councils’ financial strategies in their Long Term Plans (LTPs) are characterised by:

  • reducing or deferring spending
  • stabilising or reducing overall debt.

Regarding rates, it is noted that “the year-on-year movement is on average five per cent (for Auckland Council the average is 6.1 per cent and for all other local authorities the combined average is 4.3 per cent).

“The findings are in stark contrast to the justification for the recent Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, which has just received the Royal Assent. The Bill was introduced in response to a perceived crisis in the way councils manage their finances,” says LGNZ President, Lawrence Yule.

“The sector continually seeks efficiencies and savings and the audit process will always focus a Council’s attention on this approach. This report shows that these improvements are being made.”

Although the report also highlights the challenges facing councils in funding infrastructure, it states “overall, local authorities are planning to live within their means.”

Debt when used wisely can be a way of spreading the costs of infrastructure over a period of time.

Debt  used wisely can be a way of spreading the cost of infrastructure which has inter-generational benefit over its lifetime.

But that doesn’t mean that the LGA 2002 didn’t require amendments because Ms Provost said:

However, a question remains about what specific information in the LTPs (and in the audited annual financial statements) is most helpful for informing judgements about the financial prudence and long-term financial sustainability of an individual local authority or the sector as a whole.

What constitutes prudence and long-term financial sustainability is a matter of judgement, and there are currently few agreed methods of analysis. As a result, it is difficult to be definitive about the state of an individual local authority or the sector. . .

The AG points out that some capital expenditure is often associated with the need to upgrade systems to meet new standards which reinforces the justifiable complaint from councils about the burden imposed on them by successive governments.

The AG concludes:

As part of the Better Local Government initiative, the Local Government Efficiency Taskforce is considering the nature of planning, accountability, and decision-making of local authorities. We have offered our insights (consistent with those outlined in this report) to the Taskforce. We have also suggested that local authorities present a more strategic focus on the main issues (including prospective financial information and level-of-service intentions), and provide access to supporting data and policies through the local authority’s website.

I continue to encourage local authorities to consistently invest in preparing shorter, clearer, and more informative LTPs, so the community is able to take part in more informed and effective consultation on a local authority’s intentions.

The future sustainability of local government services such as roads, water, libraries, and rubbish disposal are critical to our communities. Delivering on these LTPs in an effective and efficient manner is the next challenge.

The report says:

In the last two years, local authorities have been good at budgeting for their operational expenditure, but overestimated their likely levels of capital expenditure. We consider this under-expenditure indicative of the challenges of delivering a diverse range of projects each year. However, there is scope for the sector to improve reporting in this area so that it is easier for the users of local authorities’ annual reports and LTPs to understand whether forecast projects have been delayed, whether there is a tendency for conservative overestimating, or whether cost savings have been achieved. In the LTPs, capital expenditure for 2012-22 is forecast at $37 billion. Of this, 59% is to meet increasing demand (often as a result of growth) or to improve levels of service.

The overestimation of likely levels of capital expenditure in the past two years raises questions about the realism of local authorities’ longer-term assessments of the cost of their asset renewal and expansion programmes, as forecast in the LTPs. This emphasises the importance of robust asset management plans (AMPs) as the foundation of every LTP. . . .

However, we are concerned that a small number of non-metropolitan local authorities are planning large increases to their debt levels. We assessed these local authorities as financially prudent, but they face greater risks in the accuracy of their forecasting, growth patterns, and ability to deal with the unexpected as their capacity to respond to shocks reduces.

Conversely, a number of mostly smaller local authorities are planning for little or no debt during the 10-year period. If these local authorities are carrying out large capital projects, this raises some questions about the appropriateness of their financial strategies and equity between ratepayers in paying for long-term infrastructure projects. These two contrasting approaches demonstrate the importance of a clearly described financial strategy that enables the community to understand the current and long-term implications of the local authority’s forecast use of debt, particularly in the context of asset condition and forecast capital expenditure levels. . .

My interpretation of that is that councils need to stick to their knitting, and ensure the patterns they use are simple and easily understood by ratepayers.

Hat Tip: Credo Quia Absurdum Est.

Jobs don’t come from doing nothing


The Opposition is frothing about the Household Labour Force Survey which showed a small increase in unemployment to 6.8%.

But they’re the ones who oppose every move the government makes to reduce costs, move those who can work off benefits into jobs and the development opportunities which will create more jobs.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce is right, the unemployment rate underlines the need for New Zealand to take up all our opportunities for productive growth.

The results show that it is important we allow businesses the opportunity to grow and create jobs across the economy,” Mr Joyce says.

“This includes the intensification of agriculture, the development of aquaculture, greater foreign investment, encouraging hi-tech industries, expanding oil and gas exploration, and progressing an international convention centre in Auckland.

“Those that oppose some or all of these things need to understand you can’t have more jobs without taking up these opportunities.

“It’s vital that we put out the welcome mat to businesses given the backdrop of the Global Financial Crisis and the on-going impact of the Canterbury Earthquakes.”

. . . “Our focus is on ensuring businesses have access to the necessary innovation, capital, skilled workers, resources, supporting public infrastructure and markets they need to be internationally competitive,” Mr Joyce says.

“The good news is that in the past two years 55,000 new jobs were created in New Zealand despite some of the toughest economic head winds the World has seen. However, the reality is that if we want more and better jobs then we need to encourage more successful, growing and competitive companies to be based here.”

Jobs don’t come from doing nothing.

(Photo borrowed from Credo Quia Absurdum Est).

We have to do something but not just anything. It’s no use postponing the day of reckoning with tax, borrow and spend policies as Labour did.

We need productive jobs which earn export dollars.

It’s time to stop saying no and learn how to say yes to opportunities boost economic growth and environmental protection.





Sir Brian Talboys 1921 -2012


Sir Brian Talboys, eight-term National MP for Wallace, former Cabinet Minister and Deputy Prime Minister has died.

Sir Brian, who represented the Southland electorate of Wallace for eight elections from 1957, served as a Minister in the National Governments of Sir Keith Holyoake and Sir Robert Muldoon. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Muldoon from 1975 to 1981. 

    Born in Whanganui in 1921, Sir Brian served in the air force during World War II. After the war, he settled in Southland as a farmer and entered politics, winning the Wallace seat in 1957. 

    He was agriculture minister, science minister and then education minister under Holyoake, before becoming deputy leader of the National Party in Opposition in 1974, under Muldoon. 

    After National’s victory in the 1975 election, he became deputy prime minister and served in that role for the first two terms of the Muldoon Government, retiring in 1981. 

Credo Quia Absurdum Est notes that Sir Brian wrote to the NZRFU urging them to reconsider their invitation for South Africa to tour in 1980; and that he was named as a Companion of the Order Of Australia for his work on trans-Tasman relations..


Prime Minister John Key paid tribute to Sir Brian:

“I was saddened to learn of Sir Brian’s death and my thoughts are with his family at this time,” Mr Key says.

Sir Brian was a member of Parliament from 1957 to 1981 and served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1975 to 1981. He served as a minister across a range of portfolios, including agriculture, science, foreign affairs and trade.

“Sir Brian was a gracious and articulate politician who was always looking for solutions. He represented the best of the pragmatic tradition of the National Party.

“He had a truly international view of New Zealand’s place in the world and was a strong advocate of our trade interests in a time of profound change.

“He was heavily involved in the creation of CER and represented New Zealand’s interests when the UK joined the European common market.

“Sir Brian will be remembered for his wide and distinguished contribution to New Zealand politics,” Mr Key says.

Which century is this?


The surname Beer could well give you a penchant for brewing but it doesn’t guarantee you entry into a home-brew competition:

Rachel Beer, 36, this week tried entering her home brew in a competition at Saturday’s upcoming Lake Hayes A&P Show only to find out it’s a “blokes only” contest.

“Who cares if I have or haven’t got balls?” Beer fumes. “At the end of the day a home brew is a home brew.”

Beer, whose tipple is called ‘Beer’s Beer’, was told by the chief steward she could enter but wouldn’t be judged.

Someone needs to tell the show committee it’s the 21st century.

Hat Tip:Credo Quia Absurdum Est

Adding value


Quote of the day:

 When I was appointed marketing manager of a national sporting organisation, a wise old hand gave me a bit of advice I have always applied to any sales or marketing job.

That advice was that I had to raise enough to pay for my salary and overheads as well as all the other programmes and people.  If I didn’t pay for myself (through funding and revenue opportunities), then my role was an impost on the organisation and I wouldn’t last very long.  Nothing like that sort of incentive to keep your job. –  Credo Quia Absurdum Est

The $158,000 question


The $158,000 question still hasn’t been answered: when is Winston Peters going to repay the money he owes us?

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has tried to find out:

I have asked him – in person (never seen an about turn so fast), via email (several emails, no answers) and during a phone-in interview on the radio where they activated the kill switch, the pinkos.

Someone might also want to ask how he’s funding this campaign since he can’t do it at the taxpayers’ expense.

Would there be any link between that funding and all the advertisements on Trackside?

There were certainly links between funding and racing when Peters was last in a position to dispense largesse.

I blogged on that three years ago and included this which was in the print edition of the Sunday Star Times but not online:

What Racing Has Done For Winston:

* Vela family, with interests in NZ Bloodstock at Karaka and Pencarrow Stud in the Waikato, reportedly donated at least $150,000 in amounts under $10,000 between 1999 and 2003 to NZ First.

* Wealthy breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, of Cambridge Stud, launched his own campaign to get NZ First back into parliament, spending thousands of his own money on newspaper advertisements. The racing industry also backed the party through its Fair Tax campaign.

* Billionaire expat Owen Glenn, a racehorse owner, donated $100,000 to NZ First’s electoral challenge of the 2005 result in Tauranga.

What Winston Has Done For Racing:

* Reduced totalisator duty to 4% from a headline rate of 20%, pumping around $32 million a year into the industry.

* Decreased the tax write-down period for stallions and broodmares, encouraging more people to buy racehorses for tax advantages and potentially benefitting breeders by millions.

*This year’s Budget allocated a further $19m for a co-sponsorship scheme over a three-year period to enable “substantially higher prize money offered by the creme de la creme of New Zealand races.”

It is most unlikely that Owen Glenn will be donating to Peters this time round but others in the racing industry might not yet have had their fingers burned. If they were thought they were likely to make money from more of this sort of policy helping his campaign wouldn’t be so much a donation as an investment.

It’s national roast day


When I was a child every Sunday was roast day.

The meat was almost always mutton served with gravy and mint sauce and accompanied by roast potatoes, carrots and other vegetables in season. My favourite was swede and I dreaded early spring when it we had to eat broad beans.

Left over cold meat provided the filling for sandwiches for school lunches for the next couple of days. That was definitely preferable to the alternative of grinding it up and topping it with mashed potato for shepherds pie.

Ah how things have changed. Sunday dinners in our house are no longer the set pieces they were in my childhood and we rarely have roasts unless we’re feeding visitors. Even then we’re more likely to barbeque a boneless leg of lamb than roast it.

That’s probably the norm now which is no doubt why someone felt the need to make today national roast day.

To my farmer’s disappointment, we won’t be taking part.

UPDATE: Credo Quia Absurdum Est shows much more enthiusiasm for the celebration.

How to spot a meth lab


A public service annoucnement at  Credo Quia Absurdum Est shows how.

Gamble paid off financially


Hone Harawira’s gamble of forcing a by-election has paid off financially.

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the numbers:

  • A 10% pay rise to $148,500 as a “party leader”.  Shame there’s no-one to lead.
  • $100,000 for party leadership funding
  • $22,000 for research operations
  • $105,192 for his electorate support team

But politically?

He got 5,611 votes  which is almost half the total votes cast but a majority of just 867 over Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

But just 11,606 people of the  33,060 enrolled voted. That’s hardly a strong mandate, even given by-elections always have a lower turnout.

As for the people in Te Tai Tokerau?

For a couple of years from 2008 they were represented by a member of a government coalition partner. Now they’ve got the leader of a brand new party who’s shown he’s not very good at consensus or co-operation.

Mystery solved?


Roarprawn has a biscuit mystery:

Kayes Kitchen in Southland is producing rugby ball-shaped bikkies but they’re not saying who the client is.

But Credo Quia Absrudum Est reckons he’s worked it out.



Did you see the one about . . .


The tertiary education conundrum – Mydeology thinks it’s time for a rethink.

I wannabe a pseudo scientist – has Michael Edmonds got a deal for you!

21 accents – Zen Tiger on 21 ways to say . . .

If you want a hundred trillion dollars – Anti-Dismal on hyperinflation.

What makes some people vote – Lindsay Mitchell on the power of positive personality.

Science journalism is not the same as science – Larvatus Prodeo on the science news cycle.

91863 – Credo Quia Absurdum Est deals with a spam phone caller and also has a funny story about Mummy’s job.

What does your tax buy?


Ever wondered exactly where the tax taken from your hard earned income goes?

You can find out here.

The biggest proportion goes to the Ministry of Social Development (about 27% if my calculations are correct). Health,  Education, Inland Revenue,  Treasury, Transport, Defence Force, Labour, Police and Corrections get the next biggest cuts. After that its spent on Economic Development, Justice, Building & Housing, Foreign Affairs and Trade,  then Research, Science and Development.

Then the money goes to Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, Conservation, Internal Affairs, Defence (not sure why the Ministry of Defence is different from the Defence Force), Culture and Heritage, States Services Commission, Justice, Te Puni Kokiri, Land Information NZ, Customs, Parliamentary Services, Statistics, Fisheries, Food Safety Authority, National Library, Crown Law and Government Security Communications Bureau.

After that the money goes to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Education Review Office, Archives New Zealand, Parliamentary Counsel Office, Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Ombudsmen, Serious Fraud Office, Pacific Island Affairs, Women’s Affairs and the last few cents go to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Calculations are based on the 2010 Budget and there have already been changes, for instance Archives and the Parliamentary Library have been combined and a Primary Industry Ministry is being formed from Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

If you earn $20,000 it calculates you pay $2,520 in total of which $681.13 goes on welfare and 10 cents contributes to the environment commissioner.

If you earn $50,000 you contribute $8,020 to the public coffers, $2,167.73 to the social development ministry and 32 cents to the commissioner.

Those on $100,000 pay $23,920. MSD takes $6,65.34 and the commissioner gets 96.

If you’re earning $500,000 you pay $155, 120 in tax contributing $42,143.62 to the MSD and $6.24 to the Environment Commissioner.

Hat Tip: Credo Quia Absurdum Est.

Did you see the one about . . .


The revenge of the customer! telecom, Vodaphone, 2 Degrees – you could be next – Janet at Brian Edwards Media has something for anyone who’s ever dialed a help-line.

And welcome the cut and paste post – Laughy Kate with some short but pithy letters.

Superbowl the reply ad  and Suberbowl XLV – Credo Quia Absurdum Est has a couple of funny ads.

It’s goodbye from me for now – Whowuddarthort made an impact in just two months but work has to come first.

Did you see the one about . . .


(Brain) farting in church – Credo Quia Absurdum Est on politics at the school’s end-of-year mass. While you’re there he’s also got 10 top money savings tips for the new Stadium SOuthland.

Hypotheses please – Dim Post graphs mentions of NZ in Goggle’s new toy the ngram viewer.

Before you think about booking a cheap flight – laughs (and some bad language) at Brian Edwards Media.

Han(g)over for Lawyers – Cactus Kate writes an alternative media release.

A real live book – A Cat of Impossible Colour has the first copy of her book.

What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?


What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the answer in an email from a teacher:

“…we teachers have been told the entire campaign by the principals and the NZEI would be dropped in a second if the Government agreed to take school assessment data and make it top secret – i.e. not public, not even if someone made an Official Information Act request. . .

That’s nothing to do with education it’s all to do with a fear that the public will be able to compare schools.

Other quotes in that post show opposition is also motivated by politics. That’s confirmed by this post:

The Dominion came up with the strange response of children needing to come before philosophy – pathetic. Philosophy is a search for the truth: how can a rejection of the truth be good for children.

Never mind that needed a question mark, now I know why my life is so wrong.  I’ve been putting my children ahead of philosophy.  Bugger.

In a related post CQAE asks How far is too far?

 Kiwiblog also comments on Principal Compares Minister to Hitler too and has another post on the politics of those who oppose the standards .

Whaleoil has several posts on the politics of the opposition too including:

Tweetchers tweeting about National Standards.

 More Labour meddling in education.

Politically neutral protest.

and Auckland Primary  Principal’s Association hijacked by Wellington school.

The standards are simply a tool to show how well children are learning.

No-one’s claiming they’re a perfect tool but they are necessary. One in five young people leave school with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills and the first step to changing that is early identification of the ones who are struggling.

Rather than fighting the tool the teachers should put their energy into ensuring the pupils who need help get it because that is what really matters.

Did you see the one about . . .


Spending cuts don’t take money out of the economy – Liberty Scott makes economics simple.

Story in two sentences – Will Type for Food has sport with spooner.

It was 20 years ago this way – Not PC on red tape tangles. Also there is Icarus – Gabriel Picart – Not PC on fine art and fine words with a reminder about inspirational posters at Inspirationz.

How fast to shake to get dry – Science Answers – Aimee Whitcroft at Sciblogs on  optimal oscillation needed by a hairy beastie shaking itself dry.

They picked on the wrong people – Credo Quia Absurdum Est on corporate rowing gone wrong.

And (Hat Tip Credo Quia Absurdum Est) – the BBC sums up human achievement in 60 seconds:

Quote of the week


“According to Dr Oppenheimer, however, these findings add to the body of literature which indicates that voter behaviour is irrational and that factors totally unrelated to politics affect the outcomes of elections.”

From posture and political psychology in the Economist..

Hat Tip:  Credo Quia Absurdum Est

Did you see the one about


Same planet, different world Oswald Bastable on bookless homes.

Mapping internet sensation stereotpypes – Lucia Maria has found some new world wit.

Muppets in blue goNZo Freakpower casts the blue end of the blogosphere as Muppets.

How did the poor come to be poor – Anti Dismal on why understanding wealth matters more than understanding poverty.

Building inpsectors – Credo Quia Absurdum Est on why practical experience beats the a bloke with a folder.

Reaching Atip – Cactus Kate explains fashion week.

Be careful Gareth – Patrick Smellie on the fine line between integrity and hubris.

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