Word of the day

January 31, 2014

Satorial – of or relating to a tailor, tailoring, or tailored clothing, or style of dress.


Pedal power generating economic boost

January 31, 2014

New cycle trails are already generating an economic boost.

Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Evaluation Report shows that visitors using the NZCT are staying one to three nights and spending between $131 and $176 a day per person.

The evaluation report was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows that although the trails are still very new, they are making good progress in terms of job creation and contribution to the local economy.

Interviews with trail managers, surveys of business owners and trail users, and four cycle trail case studies were undertaken for the evaluation. The case studies looked at a range of cycle trails, including remote trails and popular day-trip and urban destinations – the Mountains to Sea Trail in Manawatu, the Hauraki trail in Waikato, the Motu Trail on the East Coast and the Queenstown Trail.

Overall about one-quarter of businesses surveyed believed the trails had been good for their business, and about half believed it would be in the future. An impressive 98 per cent of users said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their cycle trail experience and 97 per cent of trail users said they were likely to recommend the trail to others.

The Chair of NZCT Inc. Richard Leggat says the trails have been busy this summer with visitors and cycling enthusiasts alike.

“While it is still early days for the cycle trails, they are making great progress towards achieving their goals of creating a high quality tourism asset for New Zealand. It’s gratifying to get such excellent feedback from trail users,” says Mr Leggat.

The trails have already received international recognition for their quality, receiving the honourable mention award at the International Trails Symposium in April last year. . .

The Alps to Ocean (A2O) Cycle Trail passes near our home on its way from Mt Cook to Oamaru Harbour.

It’s not finished yet – several sections are still on roads – but it’s already proving popular with cyclists.

It’s bringing people to a part of New Zealand they might not otherwise visit and providing opportunities for existing and new businesses servicing and selling to cyclists.


Rural round-up

January 31, 2014

Auckland siphoning Waikato’s future:

Federated Farmers is concerned that the Auckland Watercare firm’s application to take water from the Waikato will see lost opportunities for economic growth in the Waikato.

“This part of the Waikato River is already nearly full allocated with water takes, at 10 percent of its one in 5 year low flow (Q5), so if this application is approved, Waikato ratepayers lose out,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers provincial president for Waikato.

“Watercare are asking for a further 200,000 cubic meters a day on top of the 150,000 they already take, to supply a city that doesn’t pay rates in the Waikato. Our council needs to be thinking about the long game here and what benefits there are in giving away Waikato’s resources, which are needed to maintain and build Waikato’s economy. If this consent proceeds under the current rules it is going to strangulate Waikato’s ability to grow. . .

Grassland science leader rewarded - Annette Scott:

More intensive farming has increased demand for greater pasture performance in New Zealand but Professor Syd Easton is confident there is technology and expertise to keep farmers well served. He talked to Annette Scott.

Emeritus Professor Syd Easton has been awarded the Ray Brougham Trophy for his significant contribution to grassland farming.

The AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North-based scientist is the third AgResearch scientist to win the prestigious pastoral science award. . . .

Bottom lines of animal welfare James Houghton:

A key component of farming is animal welfare and what influences that is culture and legislation. What we see in every industry is a bottom and top percent that stand out from the rest.

As is common in business and society, we focus on the bottom percent because they are the ones that need to change. In agriculture, the majority are doing a fine job of farming but there is still room for them to improve – looking to our top percent who are the game changers and leaders of the industry. However, our bottom dwellers are letting the industry down, and it is time for them to shape up or get out. We don’t want you if you can’t manage the basic requirement of treating your stock with respect and care. Likewise, this goes for those who disrespect and neglect the environment.

Animal welfare cases are never cut and dry, we need clear-cut standards and a fair and balanced approach to employment law cases, if we want to make those who are letting the industry down to be accountable. The Federation is proactive in educating its members about best practice and how to meet animal welfare requirements. We work well with key stakeholders on this issue, such as WSPA, The New Zealand Veterinary Association and DairyNZ, because we all have a vested interest in the welfare of animals. . .

Farmers back the battle for birds:

Federated Farmers is backing the Department of Conservation’s ‘Battle for Birds’ by extending the use of Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) to 500,000 hectares of the DoC estate, ahead of an anticipated explosion in mice, rat and mustelids due to the 2014 mast season.

“With one million tonne of seed due to fall in the 2014 mast season we are almost certain to see an explosion in rodent numbers and with them, their major predators,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Game & Pest spokesperson.

“Once this easy food supply ends in the spring, this plague of pests will turn on our native fauna as an easy meal. 

“When we have a tool that works, like Sodium fluoroacetate, then we must use it to keep these pest populations in check. . .

Lifestyle sells rural work – Stephen Bell:

Rural employers need to provide a good lifestyle and demonstrate a path exists for career advancement to attract young people to the countryside, Victoria University researcher Dr Michael Sloan has found.

Sloan surveyed 24,000 people as part of his thesis and found people moving from urban areas to the country had less social life satisfaction after the move but had greater outdoor satisfaction with the man-made and natural environments.

He spent three years comparing people’s expectations of moving to urban and rural areas with the reality after the move. . .

Farmers to put reputation at steak:

Nationwide, farmers are preparing their entries for the annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

The event, entering its twelfth year, recognises New Zealand’s most tender and tasty steak, an award taken seriously by industry professionals.   

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is an opportunity to showcase the dedication and skill so evident in New Zealand beef farming.

“The quality of New Zealand beef is a product of the hard-work and dedication of our farmers and this event rewards these efforts, making it a competitive and highly regarded award,” says Champion. . .


Friday’s answers

January 31, 2014

Andrei posed the questions yesterday and wins an electronic box of Central Otago stone fruit for stumping us all.

It can be claimed by leaving the answers below.


No exceptions for tariffs under TPP

January 31, 2014

The Trans Pacific Partnership must eliminate all tariffs on agricultural and seafood products:

A coalition of 18 New Zealand agricultural and food organisations, led by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Fonterra Cooperative Group, has written to the Ministers of Trade and Primary Industries outlining its concern that some TPP members are seeking to avoid tariff elimination on some products.

The letter sets out to Ministers Tim Groser and Nathan Guy that the coalition will not support a TPP agreement that does not include comprehensive liberalisation in the agricultural and seafood sectors by all participating countries.

The group says it is vital that the agreement provides comprehensive tariff elimination as set out in the objectives of the 2011 TPP Leaders meeting in Honolulu. The group is concerned that:

  • If any one country is allowed to claim exceptions for sensitive products, other TPP partners will inevitably demand the right to do the same. This could quickly lead to the unravelling of the agreement.
  • Allowing any one country to claim an exception for “sensitive” products sets a dangerous precedent for other countries in the Asia-Pacific region seeking to join the TPP Agreement at a future date.

A Ministerial meeting to discuss TPP issues is expected to be held in late February 2014.

A little exception for some tariffs would be like being a little bit pregnant – it wouldn’t stop there.

Tariffs protect the inefficient at the cost of better producers .

They also add costs for consumers who pay more and have less choice.

An immediate end to all tariffs might be unrealistic but the TPP must ensure that is the goal that must be reached sooner rather than later.


Hypocrisy nothing to do with race

January 31, 2014

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is accusing East Coast MP and Police Minister Anne Tolley of racism after remarks in parliament yesterday.

. . . Speaking during the debate on the Prime Minister John Key’s opening statement to Parliament, Tolley said she was insulted by Green Party claims that she was out of touch.

She said said her role as an electorate MP included meetings with constituents who were among the poorest in the country.

“I’m actually insulted to be lectured about how out of touch I am with average New Zealand by a list MP who has no constituents, lives in a castle and comes to the House in $2000 designer jackets and tells me I’m out of touch,” Tolley said. . .

Asked about Tolley’s comments, Turei said racism was behind the attack.

“I’m shocked that the National Party would attack me and my home and my appearance. I think it is a racist attack,” she said.

“I think they seem to think it is all right for them to wear perfectly good suits for their professional job but that a Maori woman from a working-class background is not entitled to do the same. I think it is pure racism.” . .

Rubbish.

She was being criticised for hypocrisy, her race had nothing to do with it.

Opposition MPs, and the left in general,  like to think they are champions of the poor and the only ones who understand poverty.

What they don’t understand is that many on the right have been poor but they’ve done something about it.

Two excellent speeches in parliament this week provided very good examples of that.

One from one of the longest serving MPs, Act’s John Banks, the other from National’s newest MP, Joanne Hayes.


Woeful week for Labour

January 31, 2014

The timing of Labour leader David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech suggests the party’s political strategy is nearly as bad as its policies.

Grammy wins by Lorde and Joel Little got the headlines. The speech didn’t even make a mention on the front page of my local paper, the ODT.

The week went downhill from there for Labour and its leader as the glitter came off the baby bribe policy when it got closer examination.

The living wage leapt from around $38,000 for a family with two children to $150,000 then twice that for a couple with a baby.

Next day the  party threatened to ban Facebook.

By Wednesday Cunliffe was back-tracking on his speech and blaming the deception on the slip of a staffer’s pen.

Photo: Conning Cunliffe has some explaining to do!

Was it only one word?

He said:

 . . 59,000 families with newborn babies, they will all receive a Best Start investment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life. . .

Change the will to can and you get:

. . . 59,000 families with newborn babies, they can all receive a Best Start investment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life . . .

That is still very different from the whole story which is they would only get that if they gave up paid parental leave and the parental tax credit.

Yesterday he took responsibility but fumbled again:

His policy promised “to ensure all women have access to free antenatal classes, with a focus on first-time mums and those who would benefit the most”.

It said antenatal assessments would be available to all women at 10 weeks, and Labour would set targets for district health boards to deliver that. . . .

Asked whether free antenatal classes was a new policy, Cunliffe said “free antenatal classes have been to some extent available”.

“What we are being very clear about is that we will have them for all expectant mums,” he said.

Labour would increase the target for 10-weeks checks to ensuring 80 per cent of mothers would get them.

Asked again whether antenatal classes were free to all mothers now, he said: “Not in every case, but I will have to check on the details.”

He said his advice was that it was not generally freely available to everyone, but he could not say who would miss out.

Pressed on his knowledge of policy detail, he said: “When was the last time you asked John Key a question to five decimal places?”

The Ministry of Health’s site makes it clear that free maternity and pregnancy services, such as 10-weeks checks, are available to virtually all, including those in the country on some visas.

But it says “there may be some charges for antenatal or childbirth education classes, and some tests at a private laboratory”.

Ante-natal checks are free in the public health service.

The problem isn’t one of cost, it’s that some women don’t access the services even though they wouldn’t have to pay for them.

What a week – on Monday he was outshone by Lorde, on Tuesday his party was banning Facebook, on Wednesday he was trying to defend the difference between what he said and the fine print of the policy, yesterday he showed he didn’t know that what he was promising is already available.

What will today bring?

Labour and its leader have been out of sight and out of mind all summer.

If this week is any indication of their strategy, policies and political management, staying there would have been better than being in sight and in mind so woefully.


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