Word of the day

October 31, 2012

Truth – the quality or state of being true; the body of real things, events, and facts; actuality; conformity with fact or reality; verity; fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal.


From black dog to editor’s desk

October 31, 2012

Blogger Cameron Slater has made no secret over his battle with the black dog of depression.

Mind you, he doesn’t make a secret of much. That includes hs disdain for much of the mainstream media and now he’s joining it.

Internet shock jock goes mainstream

“Wellington, you’re on notice – be afraid.”

New Zealand’s number 1 news and opinion blogger Cameron Slater has today been appointed Editor of the Truth.

Truth is New Zealand’s last remaining Kiwi-owned national newspaper which this year turns 125 years old.

Slater has been brought on board to fundamentally change the way newspapers deliver to their audiences. Newspapers worldwide are in decline, due, Slater says, to a tired old business model that no longer works.

“We’re not going to spend $4 million on a paint job and then deliver the same tired old paid-for shit.

“Most of the media in this country is weak, and it’s paid for. The integrity in news went ages ago.”

Slater is adamant that the backbone of New Zealand – the people who work – are not getting a fair shake from government or the system. He aims to change that.

“Each and every one of us has got an investment in NZ Inc, and the majority of the people in charge of the place are taking the piss out of our investment.

“We’re going to keep the buggers honest. There’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

“To use a tired phrase – if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, so Wellington, you’re on notice – if you’re having a lend, we’re coming for you!”

Changes will be rolled out over a period of months and will include both print and a 24 hour news website to support the paper. Slater aims to alter the approach to news presentation significantly.

“We took the pulse of the nation, and it had nearly bloody died.

“No bastard wants to read old news – they can get that online. We’ll be more of a views-paper that promises to deliver REAL news, REAL opinion.

“The people are numb from the eyes down with the diet of PR’d crap they get now. I will not do it to them anymore – it’s not right.

“I assure you – the little paper that could still can!”

There will be further announcements regarding contributors and editorial direction.

Slater’s first issue will hit newsstands on Thursday 8 November 2012.

This won’t be an easy job but you don’t get to be the country’s most-read blogger by doing the easy things.

And surely nothing he’ll meet in the editor’s chair will be harder to deal with than depression.

 

 

 

 

 


Halloween more holloween

October 31, 2012

One of the many advantages of country living is that we are very unlikely to be bothered by children tricking and treating for Halloween tonight.

It isn’t a celebration for which I have any fondness.

Like Guy Fawkes it is out of season here and it’s also out of time.

It might have had some good points a generation or two ago when children made their own  costumes and showed them off to neighbours whom they knew well.

But it’s a hollow celebration now that the outfits are almost all bought and children turn up at doors of people they barely know, if not those of strangers.

Scrooge was referring to Christmas when he said, “Bah, humbug.”

But Halloween brings out the inner curmudgeon in me and I apply it to that trick and treating for what is more holloween.

That said I won’t be going as far as Credo Quia Absurdum Est to deter trick or treaters.


Rural round-up

October 31, 2012

Customers attack Sainsbury’s for ditching Red Tractor – Alistair Driver:

SAINSBURY’S has come under fire on its own website over its decision to drop the Red Tractor logo from the food it sells.

Customers have branded the decision a ‘disgrace’ and some are threatening to stop shopping at Sainsbury’s stores until the logo is reinstated. The move has also been attacked by TV presenter Jimmy Doherty, who described it as ‘an odd thing to do’.

The UK’s third biggest retailer announced it was ditching the Red Tractor logo last week, blaming concerns that consumers were becoming confused about the number of labels on food packaging. It is planning to phase the logo out across its products lines, beginning with fresh meat. . .

CAP reform must not overshadow collaboration on family-owned farms –  Tom Levitt:

SMALLER family farms need better access to rural development funds to enable them to break free of subsidy dependence, a meeting of the Family Farmers Association (FFA) in Westminster heard last week.

NFU vice-president Adam Quinney, whose wife now runs the family farm near Redditch, West Midlands, told the audience that CAP funding was still inaccessible and unfavourable to smaller farm enterprises.

He was especially scathing of rural development funding, split between environmental schemes, modernising the farming sector and helping the rural economy. He said it had been largely ‘wasted’. . .

Times change for big show – Jill Galloway:

A & P shows used to be the the highlight of the social calendar for many people. They were the event of the year and there were public holidays, so people had time off to go to the show.

Now there are just two which have statutory holidays – Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury celebrate their anniversary days the weekend of their shows.

“Twenty years ago, it was about the promotion and sale of livestock,” says Manawatu and West Coast A & P president Lawrence Satherley. Now, Manawatu Showtime, being held at Manfeild Park this weekend, is competing against the Tour de Manawatu bicycle race, the Feilding horse races at Awapuni and the stock cars in Palmerston North. . .

Farm Environment Trust Leader Bows Out After Constructive Tenure:

North Waikato farmer Jim Cotman has stood down from his role as chairperson of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust after a very successful six years at the helm.

Since the Trust was established, its flagship event, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, has gone from strength to strength and is now regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier farming awards. The Trust has also developed a range of other initiatives designed to promote environmental sustainability in New Zealand agriculture.

Mr Cotman says the Trust has played a key role in showcasing sustainable farming practices. . .

What NZ agriculture can learn from the i-Phone –  Milking on the Moove:

. . . New Zealand’s agricultural sector could do well to study Apples business model and supply chain design. I’m really struggling to think of a major NZ agribusiness that even attempts a vertical supply chain.

Fonterra is New Zealand’s economic saviour, but Fonterra is a commodity supplier. It is equivalent to a Korean company that supplies a component to Apples iPad or iPhone and receives less than 7% of the final retail price.
The red meat sector is in the same, farmers are relegated down the value chain and as a result receive only a small fraction of the retail price.
Australian dairy farmers are at the mercy of the supermarkets because they don’t control their supply chain. The same is true for our UK dairy farming friends too. . .

Standards met through pond course:

Over 100 contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent (FDE) ponds are the first to complete a training course aligned with new industry standards.

The Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Training Course was established by DairyNZ in conjunction with InfraTrain New Zealand and Opus International Consultants (Opus).

The course is based on Practice Note 21: Design and Construction of FDE Ponds, released by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) at the end of last year. . .

Australia on top in new Trans-Tasman series opener:

New Zealand has suffered a double defeat in the machine shearing and woolhandling tests against Australia in Warnambool, near Melbourne.

The Shearing Sports New Zealand team did however derive some success, with a victory to its two blades shearers denying Australia a clean sweep of the three matches at Saturday’s Romney Shears, which also incorporated the Australian national championships. . .

Public Consultation Begins On Proposed Agricultural Vehicle Rule Changes

The NZ Transport Agency is seeking public feedback proposed changes to agricultural transport law.

The proposed changes would establish a two-tier system for agricultural vehicles, based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements. The proposed changes aim to reduce compliance costs and provide greater operational flexibility for vehicle owners, without comprising safety. . .


“With help I’ve come alive”

October 31, 2012

Quote of the day:

I tell you one thing, it was hard,” he says. “I was thinking I was in a hole, but again with help of everyone I’ve come alive.” - Pedro Carazo, Christchurch restaurateur who lost his son and his business in the February 22nd earthquake.

You can read more here and find Pedro’s House of Lamb on Facebook.


And they say farms are expensive

October 31, 2012

We were splitting the partnership in a crib in Wanaka and looking for another one at the same time we were buying a couple of hundred hectares from a neighbouring farm at home.

When given the price of the section and working out the per hectare price compared with the farmland my farmer asked, “how many stock units could I run on it?”

Urban sections aren’t directly comparable with farms but Don Brash points out just how out of kilter city prices are:

For one of the least densely populated countries in the world, it is ridiculous that tiny 500 square metre sections often end up costing well in excess of $250,000 – equivalent to $5 million per hectare. Yes, there are costs of servicing these new sections with infrastructure – but $5 million per hectare?

Five million dollars could buy you about 600 hectares of reasonable farmland in the Manawatu on which you could run about 6,000 stock units.

People complain that farms are expensive. I wouldn’t say they’re cheap but they’re far more reasonably priced than the sections Dr Brash talks about.

That’s a lot of money poured into what is usually a non-productive asset, if not a liability.

A section, and the house built on it, generally cost money and earn nothing until, if the market is favourable, it’s sold when there might be some capital gain.

That contrasts poorly with farms which are – usually – productive assets that provide jobs and earn export income.


Unions oppose freer trade

October 31, 2012

Unions on both sides of the Tasman are opposing freer trade between Australia and New Zealand.

. . . Approaching the 30th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations (CER), the CTU has teamed up with its counterpart the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to fight some of the key recommendations made by productivity commissions of both countries.

The unions have written to the productivity commissions rejecting a proposal to reduce all remaining tariffs to five per cent, unless there is a public inquiry into the impact on jobs. . .

This is a blinkered approach which would hold back both countries.

Tariffs are a subsidy for businesses paid for by consumers.

They are anti-competitive, protect inefficient businesses and workers, restrict choice for customers and inflate prices.

Australia is our biggest trading partner. We have far more to gain from access to a market about five times bigger than ours than we have to lose.

But the gains aren’t all one-way.

The freer trade is across the Tasman the better it is for both countries.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,401 other followers

%d bloggers like this: