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Latest news headlines from Reuters

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Finally I’ve found something that does eat cats

The other week I posted a photo on Facebook of a cat that I ironed out with a .22-250. That little 40gr Hordany varmint round had torn its head right off.

People were outraged…some defriended me, one person threatened to punch my face in.

We left the cat lying in a paddock and nothing touched it. The hawks ate the hare and the rabbit we shot but nothing touched the cat. I’ve never seen anything eat a cat until today.

Cat owners have been warned of the dangers their feline companions face when venturing outdoors after video emerged of bald eagles feasting on the body of a dead cat near Pittsburgh.

Footage from a live web camera mounted at the Hays bald eagle nest, located a few miles from the center of Pittsburgh, showed the eagles serving up the cat to hungry eaglets. Concerned cat owners bombarded the local Audubon Society about why the eagles had preyed upon the cat. Read more »

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Maybe the grip is too tight

Nick Grant at NBR writes about the luvvies outrage over a NEWS READER leaving her job of 23 years.

I have three words in response to the hysterical pitch of many reports about broadcaster Hilary Barry’s resignation from MediaWorks.

Get. A. Grip.

Possibly the most risible headline relating to Ms Barry’s “shock” departure was splashed across the New Zealand Herald’s homepage.

“Can TV3 survive Hilary Barry’s departure?” it breathlessly asked.

Yes, of course, it will.

Precisely. And doesn’t Duncan Grieve, Matt Nippert and David Fisher all look stupid today as Mark Weldon continues in his job and the staff haven’t all had an insurrection. I mean think about it…where would they all go if they all jacked it in…there are only so many places at TVNZ, and Sky is bare bones, and that leaves the life-boat at Radio NZ. It is a small market and they are essentially trapped. So they can whinge and moan to their luvvie mates all they like nothing is going to happen.   Read more »

Guest Post – Reform or Recline?

Politics is forever the dichotomy between doing what is popular and what is needful.  The old saying that turkeys do not vote for an early Christmas is so true.  For the leaders that thrive on being popular, polling has become their crutch.  They can sway with the lightest of breezes weaving through an election cycle with the most positive of polls.  The politicians who like to reform and see their election as a mandate to “do something” are far and few between.  You could name our reformers on the fingers of one hand.

Reformers need a window of opportunity.  They need a set of circumstances that create the chance to swing their axe without having to stop and check their rear vision mirror.  Muldoon very ably set up such a window for Douglas to have three or four years of axe swinging.  We still bemoan the infamous ‘cup of tea’ but in reality Douglas and Prebble had more time to wrestle their changes through than most reformers have had through history.  Douglas said on many occasions reforms needed to be exacted quickly even if a little dirty or lacking final refinement.

Reality is that the big majority of us hate change.  We get comfort from the status quo even if we know full well that it is underperforming. The other obvious problem is that for every failure there is roughly the same number of solutions as there are voters.    Read more »

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I love ducks too, they’re delicious

Some womble from Waikato University wants to ban duck shooting…because she loves ducks.

Well I love ducks too; that’s why I shoot them. They’re delicious.

I read the recent promotion of duck shooting advertisement in the Herald on Sunday with disquiet. You see, I have always been one to stick up for the underdog (in this case the underduck). The duck certainly needs an ally. It’s not as if they can build trenches in the wetlands and shoot back at the hunters.

I’ll begin with a story. As with all good stories there are two sides. In this case there is the duck and the hunter. I am interested in the duck’s side. Let’s make this more personal and imagine two paradise ducks. They are endemic to New Zealand, but it is legal to shoot them during duck-shooting season, as long as you adhere to bag limits and have a permit.

The female duck is a beautiful chestnut with a pure white head. She partners for life with a male, who is dark grey with a black head. Visualise them, if you will, sleeping contentedly, their heads tucked beneath their wings awaiting the sunrise.

As the sun rises and they take to the air, the glint of the rays sparkling on water droplets clinging to their chestnut and dark grey feathers. And then a crack. Yelps of human joy as a one of the ducks falls wounded back to the water, her neck arching in spasms and her legs peddling awkwardly.

A splash as the hunter’s dog wades in to retrieve the hapless duck in her death throes. She is placed in a bag. The first of many on opening day, May 1, 2016.

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the duck did not want to die, and will be mourned by her partner for the rest of his life.

But it’s all good fun isn’t it? It’s woven into the very cultural fabric of rural life. Duck hunters have planned for this, lived for it all year.

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Food producers need to learn lessons from Big Tobacco

I’ve given speeches around this topic, I’ve written before about it.

Sugar is now being demonised like tobacco, and the same tactics are being used against producers as those used against Big Tobacco.

Two years ago at a food conference I told the packed room that they were next in the health battle. Food manufacturers giggled as I explained how they were next in the firing line. The only people in the room who weren’t giggling were the tobacco companies.

It turns out that I was right and they were wrong. They are now in a fight for the life of their business.

If sugar is the new smoking, then the makers of fizzy drinks and fattening cakes need to learn some lessons from big tobacco.

Big food companies have achieved pariah status, with sugar taxes already implemented in Mexico and France and a levy planned for the U.K. in two years’ time. Last week, sugar producer Associated British Foods accused the government of trying to demonize the product and questioned whether that strategy would help reduce obesity rates.

But it is just that outsider status that has helped lift tobacco companies’ performance. Over the past five years, big tobacco has handed investors a 101 percent total return, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Global Tobacco Product Manufacturing index, well ahead of the MSCI World Index’s 42 percent. That is a phenomenal performance for a class of securities shunned by some investors on ethical grounds.

Slapping taxes on cigarettes has hurt the volume of sales. But it also made it easier for tobacco companies to slip through price increases. Food companies need to use emerging sugar taxes to take control of pricing. Big tobacco has traditionally been reluctant to engage in price wars. Not so the food sector, which often gets dragged into supermarket price skirmishes.

And while the initial going will be tough for food companies, the inevitable industry turmoil that will arise from tough regulation will pick off weaker players and make for a stronger group of survivors. That has worked for big tobacco.

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Blenheim Consumer Advisory: Please pick the right kind of builder

Mental Health Break