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.


January 31 in history

January 31, 2014

1606  Guy Fawkes was executed for his plotting against Parliament.

1673 Louis de Montfort, French catholic priest and saint, was born (d. 1716).

1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opened at London Lock Hospital.

1797 Franz Schubert, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1828).

1814 Gervasio Antonio de Posadas became Supreme Director of Argentina.

1849 Corn Laws were abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).

1862 Alvan Graham Clark discovered the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an eighteen inch telescope at Northwestern University.

1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee became general-in-chief.

1865  Henri Desgrange, Founder of the Tour-de-France, was born (d. 1940).

1872 Zane Grey, American Western writer, was born.(1939)

1876 The United States ordered all Native Americans to move into reservations.

1881  Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina was born  (d. 1931).

1884 Theodor Heuss, 1st President of Germany (Bundespräsident), was born (d. 1963).

1918 A series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night led to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships.

1919 The Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow.

1919  Jackie Robinson, American baseball player,  first black player in Major League Baseball, was born (d. 1972).

1921 New Zealand’s first regular air mail service began with a flight by the Canterbury Aviation Company from Christchurch to Ashburton and Timaru.

NZ’s first regular airmail service begins

1921 Carol Channing, American actress and singer, was born.

1921 Mario Lanza, American singer was born (d. 1959).

1923 Norman Mailer, American writer and journalist, was born  (d. 2007).

1929 The Soviet Union exiled Leon Trotsky.

1930 3M began marketing Scotch Tape.

1938 – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was born.

1943 German Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus surrendered to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of World War II’s fiercest battles.

1945 US Army private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion, the first such execution of a US soldier since the Civil War.

1946 Terry Kath, American musician (Chicago), was born (d. 1978).

1946 Yugoslavia‘s new constitution, modelling the Soviet Union, established six constituent republics (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).

1950 President Harry S. Truman announced a programme to develop the hydrogen bomb.

1951 Harry Wayne Casey, American singer and musician (KC and the Sunshine Band), was born.

1953 A North Sea flood caused over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands.

1956 John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, English singer (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd.), was born.

1958  Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.

1958  James Van Allen discovered the Van Allen radiation belt.

1961 Mercury-Redstone 2Ham the Chimp travelled into outer space.

1966 The Soviet Union launched the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna programme.

1968 – Nauru became independent from Australia.

1971 Apollo 14 Mission – Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lifted off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

1971 – The Winter Soldier Investigation, organised by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicise war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, began in Detroit.

1990 The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.

1995 President Bill Clinton authorised a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.

1996 An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.

2000 Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.

2001 In the Netherlands a Scottish court convicted a Libyan and acquitted another for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed into Lockerbie in 1988.

2003 The Waterfall rail accident near Waterfall, New South Wales.

2009 - At least 113 people were killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, Kenya.

2010 – Avatar became the first film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide.

2011 – A winter storm hit North America for the second time in the same month, causing $1.8 billion in damages across the United States and Canada and killing 24 people.

2013 – An explosion at the Pemex Executive Tower in Mexico City killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Word of the day

January 30, 2014

Obtuse – annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand; characterised by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity; stupid or unintelligent : not able to think clearly or to understand what is obvious or simple; slow on the uptake; not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull. 2. not sharp, acute, or pointed; blunt in form; rounded at the extremity; indistinctly felt or perceived, as pain or sound; an angle of more than 90° and less than 180°.


Rural round-up

January 30, 2014

Major forest industry safety review launched:

An independent panel is to conduct a major review into the high number of serious and fatal injuries in the forest industry.

The panel members are business leader George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and business safety specialist Mike Cosman. Their appointment and their terms of reference have been endorsed by forest industry organisations, ACC, relevant government agencies, the NZ Council of Trade Unions and the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum.

The review, which is expected to take up to six months to complete, is being funded by the Forest Owners, Forest Industry Contractors and Farm Forestry Associations, with administrative support and other resources provided by the government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand.

Forest Owners past-president Bill McCallum says the forest industry makes an important contribution to New Zealand, providing jobs, export earnings and helping to lift economic growth. . .

Forest Contractors Welcome Expert Review Team:

Following the announcement earlier today of the start of the Forest Industry Workplace Safety Review process, the original architects of the review say they are pleased with the makeup of the review team.

“It was our executive board that first raised concerns with the corporate forest managers back in March 2013” says Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) spokesman John Stulen, “so we are pleased to see that a very strong and completely independent team of experienced safety professionals has been engaged to carry out the work.”

“We’ve worked closely with the Forest Owners Association and union leaders to ensure that a robust process was put in place.

The time we have taken to set up this up and ensure the review is impartial will give piece of mind to everyone.

All workers in our industry and their families can be assured they can speak frankly and openly and expect to have their concerns heard.” . . .

Industry-led forestry inquiry welcome:

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the announcement of an industry-led inquiry into forestry safety, which will commence next month.

“I am pleased the forestry industry has taken ownership of the inquiry as enduring safety solutions in our forests cannot be made by government enforcement alone,” Mr Bridges says.

“The number of workplace deaths and injuries in forestry is too high and any action to reduce that toll deserves support.

“The Government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe NZ, will make a significant contribution to the inquiry. It will provide secretariat and other support, and will also make a substantial submission. . .

Iwi seeks dam benefits:

Hawke’s Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu wants to know how it might benefit financially from a proposed dam, without becoming an investor.

It’s one of three iwi who have made an agreement with the regional council to talk about making changes to the Ruataniwha Dam plans.

Ngati Kahungunu runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says discussions will take in to account the interest of the tribal people along the river.

The tribe has asked for all information on the dam so it can examine the data and reach its own conclusion on the benefits of any water storage scheme, he says. . . .

Maori trust to build East Coast dam:

A Maori organisation has won the right to build a dam on the East Coast.

Wi Pere Trust has got the tick of approval from Gisborne District Council to store water at Whatatutu.

Supplies will be taken from Waipaoa River and the dam will hold enough water to service tribal farmland, vineyards and orchards for 20 days during any drought. . . .

Contest to set speed fencing world record:

Speed and skill will be the key combination needed in Waikato this week to establish a world record for speed fencing.

The challenge, which involves putting battens on a fence, will be a feature of the Grasslandz Agricultural Machinery Expo, taking place at Ereka, between Morrinsville and Hamilton tomorrow and Friday.

It’s organised by Fairbrother Industries, a New Zealand company that makes post drivers and other fencing equipment for the local and export markets. . .   .

Sheep And Beef Sector Boost With Genetics Investment:

The announcement today that the Government will invest $15 million into sheep and beef genetics research over next five years has been welcomed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen.

The Government has said it will contribute funding for genetic research to allow the sheep and beef sector to further improve genetic gain and the development of new traits that can be farmed on hill country.

Petersen said the Government’s funding commitment was a pleasing show of confidence in the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, with the potential to significantly boost farmer profitability and that of the New Zealand economy.

“This investment supports a whole range of research, identifying new breeding traits that will produce more efficient animals and those that meet consumer preferences in our valuable export markets. . .

Following the announcement earlier today of the start of the Forest Industry Workplace Safety Review process, the original architects of the review say they are pleased with the makeup of the review team.

“It was our executive board that first raised concerns with the corporate forest managers back in March 2013” says Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) spokesman John Stulen, “so we are pleased to see that a very strong and completely independent team of experienced safety professionals has been engaged to carry out the work.”

“We’ve worked closely with the Forest Owners Association and union leaders to ensure that a robust process was put in place.

The time we have taken to set up this up and ensure the review is impartial will give piece of mind to everyone.

All workers in our industry and their families can be assured they can speak frankly and openly and expect to have their concerns heard.”


Thursday’s quiz

January 30, 2014

It’s your turn to ask the questions.

There’s an electronic box of Central Otago stone fruit for anyone who stumps us all.


Jo Hayes’ maiden speech

January 30, 2014

I was in parliament for Jo Hayes’ maiden speech yesterday.

It was a very moving occasion, topped off by her family singing a waiata when she finished.

Kei āku nui, kei āku rahi, kei āku whakateitei ki te whenua, āku tamarahi ki te rangi.  Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Matua Paikea Ariki Apanui, ka tirotiro noa ki nga pae maunga o Hikurangi rāua ko Whetumatarau, hei manu taiko, hei manu taki o ngā waiora o Waiapu rāua ko Awatere hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Hinerupe rāua ko Awatere.

Kei tāku tua, kei tāku aro, āku whakaruruhau Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora rāua ko Te Whānau o Te Aotaihi, kua eke noa i runga te waka o Horouta, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.

Te kuku o tōku manawa Te Whānau Apanui rāua ko Te Whānau o Rangihuna,  ngā uri whakatipu o Porourangi tēnā koutou katoa.

From the whenua of my father Paikea Ariki Apanui,I look to the mountains of Hikurangi and Whetumatarau as they keep watch over the eternal rivers of Waiapū and Awatere whose sacred waters flow through and give sustenance to my marae of Hinerupe and Awatere.  I am guided by my hapū, Te whānau a  Tūwhakairiora and Te whānau o Te Aotaihī and transported on my sacred waka of Horouta.  I acknowledge my Apanui and Rangihuna whānau of Ngāti Porou.

I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Whaea Te Arorangi Karaitiana, ka tirotiro hoki ki nga pae maunga o Rangitumau rātou ko Ruapehu ko Tararua, hei manu taki, hei manu taiko o ngā waiora o Ruamahanga rātou ko Whanganui ko Waipoua hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Te Oreore, rātou ko Te Puke ko Akura hoki.

Kei tāku aro, kei tāku tua, āku whakaruruhau ō Ngāti Hāmua, rātou ko Te Uenuku, ko Akura, kua eke noa i runga ngā waka o Kurahaupo rātou ko Aotea, ko Takitimu, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.

Te kuku o tōku manawa Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa ka mihi matakuikui ano hoki ki ngā uri whakatipu o Te Whānau Karaitiana rātou ko Te Whānau Te Whareponga, ko Te Whānau Herewini tēnā koutou katoa.

From the lands of my mother Te Arorangi Karaitiana the mountains of Rangitumau, Ruapehu and Tararua make way for the flow of knowledge and strength from my rivers of Ruamahanga, Whanganui and Waipoua.  I take shelter in the arms my marae Te Oreore, Te Puke and Akura knowing full well that the whānau and hapū of Ngati Hāmua, Te Uenuku and Akura work to support my iwi of Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.  From my waka of Kurahaupo, Aotea and Takitimu I acknowledge my Karaitiana, Te Whareponga and Herewini Whanau.

Mr Speaker, Tena koe and thank you for inviting me to speak my first words in this House. I am privileged and humbled that I am able to do this in front of my superiors and my peers, my whānau and friends here and at home, and surrounded by the taonga that represents the many wars the people of this nation fought on our behalf so we could live in peace in this our whenua – Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key, tena koe tōku rangatira. I am ecstatic to be joining the National caucus team under your outstanding leadership, I bring to you and the National caucus my can-do attitude, my loyalty, and my ability to work diligently within the team and for the people of this country.

Mr Speaker, I wish to mihi to our coalition parties, my whānaunga and co-leader of the Maori Party, the Honourable Tariana Turia, co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, and the Honourable Dr Pita Sharples; the leader of United Future, the Honourable Peter Dunne, and the leader of Act New Zealand, the Honourable John Banks. 

I also want to mihi the leaders and members of Parliament from the Opposition benches, and the press gallery.

Mr Speaker, I started my life in the small rural town of Eketahuna the second child of PK and Kate Apanui. My father worked on Te Hoe station in Alfredton and played rugby for Eketahuna and the under 21 Wairarapa Bush side.  As a child my parents moved from Eketahuna to yet a smaller rural town of Rangiwahia.  It was here where I spent my childhood.  Both my parents dedicated their lives to ensuring we had kai on our table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads.  We were poor in money, yet rich in love and support for each other. 

Yes Mr Speaker, I come to Parliament from a tight knit whānau with a background of hard work and an attitude that nothing is insurmountable.  My father believed that if one worked hard, one would reap their just rewards.  He knew that our world would be so different to his and so he instilled the whakatauki (proverb) E Tipu E Rea from our tūpuna and one of the first Maori MPs Sir Apirana Ngata.  Those words encouraged us to take hold and learn the ways of the Pakeha world while holding on to our Maori world.  My father modelled that whakatauki throughout his life – he wanted our future to be one of reaping the rewards that we all worked hard for.

Mr Speaker in 1997 my father succumbed to cancer and is buried at Ᾱkura in Masterton and I miss him dearly because I was his wild child – turned good.
 
I am fortunate to have my mother in the gallery this afternoon along with my whānau, extended whānau, hapū, and Iwi.  Mum was the disciplinarian and educationalist of my parents and today she is a Nan but also a Great Nan and a kuia for Wairarapa, and a member of the Wairarapa kaumatua group.  Kia ora Mum, kia ora whānau whānui.

Mr Speaker, it wasn’t until I left home that my life changed dramatically.  At age 22 I became an unmarried mother, on the domestic purposes benefit with little to no education qualifications.  It was this fright that changed me forever and I adopted the saying “if it has to be, then it’s up to me”. So I started a successful re-education programme which persists.

Along the way I met my soulmate, a man who took me and my son into his life and has believed in us. A man who at times says little but does a lot. A man who I am proud to have by my side, and one whom I am proud to stand by his side.  We are equal partners in everything we do and I love him to bits. Mr Speaker please meet my husband, Pat. Kia Ora Pat

Our son’s Mat and Ben, who are unable to be here today, have bought immense pleasure and pride to our lives as we have watched them and guided them towards adulthood.  They are now men of the world with all the lessons that that brings.  Thanks to my daughter-in-law Shan for producing two beautiful mokopuna, Carter and Eli. For it is them who carry the future of all our tomorrows and Nani J loves you.

Mr Speaker, I have been blessed with a number of opportunities in my life, but these would have been for nought had it not been for the people that I have met along the way. And there are too many to mention here but you all know who you are and I thank you for your support and guidance.

To my friends who have come here today to support me and to those who are watching at home, I thank you all for without you even knowing it your influence and support of me has been invaluable.

Mr Speaker, as you can see I come to Parliament having walked many roads and learned many lessons yet still I want more, because I haven’t finished yet.

My past has shaped my future, my family is my foundation, my mokopuna keep me real, and my friends continue to support me on the many journeys I have made and are yet to make.

Mr Speaker, today I take the road less travelled than others and one where I can utilise my skills and experience and learn new ones. I come to Parliament after contesting the 2011 election in the Dunedin South electorate and winning the party vote – a historical feat for the National Party and one that I am most proud.  I thank the Dunedin electorate teams and send you my heartfelt thanks to Robyn Broughton, Pippa Newstead, the Young Nats, and volunteers

Mr Speaker, I bring a wealth of experience, both community and professional.  I was one of the first school boards of trustees to take on the Tomorrow’s Schools challenge, serving for a number of years at our local primary schools as chair and treasurer.  Then later as deputy chair of FAHS Feilding High School.

I bring my professionalism in the health, education, welfare, business, and rural sectors.  I have worked in the community and for the community, I have worked for government agencies and in local government, and throughout my career I have taken people with me as the journey has not been about me alone.

Mr Speaker, I am proud to be a member of National and I want to thank our party president Peter Goodfellow, the board with a special mention to regional chairs Kate Haslett and Roger Bridge, electorate chairs Ele Ludemen and Malcolm Plimmer, and the service centre staff for all their hard work.

Most importantly though I pay tribute to the many volunteers and party supporters that make this party a great party to be a member of and to be a servant of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, as the newest National MP, I bring a rigid determination to make a difference for all people of Aotearoa New Zealand and to be an outstanding hardworking National member of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, ka mutu taku korero tuatahi kei roto i tenei whare.

Nā reira koutou, kua rāmenemene mai i runga i te whakaaro kotahi, ara te whare tāwharau nei.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Jo has worked very hard and waited a long time to get to parliament.

She brings a wealth of experience including something she didn’t mention – when she was young she did an apprenticeship in arc welding.

Best of all she brings the knowledge of the importance of loving family and the value of hard work.


Picture paints many thousand lies

January 30, 2014

On TV3 this morning, Labour leader David Cunliffe blamed the difference between the baby bribe bonus he announced and what it would actually deliver as a slip of the pen.

But it wasn’t just the speech that gave a very wrong impression, it was almost all the back-up material given to media and advertising:

That clearly shows paid parental leave on top of the baby bribe, it doesn’t make it clear it would only kick in after paid parental leave finished.

A picture can paint a thousand words – this one paints many thousand lies.

There’s a very big difference between the 59,000 families Cunliffe said would get the baby bribe for 52 weeks and the real figure minus the 25,000 who get paid parental leave and the 15,000 who get the parental tax credit who won’t get it for the whole year either.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says Cunliffe needs to answer seven crucial questions at his photo-opportunity today if he is to start the year with any credibility at all:

  1. How many families with new babies would actually get an additional $60 per week for one year under his package, given that it wouldn’t be paid to families while they are receiving Paid Parental Leave, and given that he is proposing to scrap the Parental Tax Credit which already provides up to $1200 to 15,000 families of new-born babies?
  2. Why did he say in his speech: “today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start investment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life”, when that statement is so obviously false and deceptive?
  3. Why is he blaming his staff members for getting the line in his speech about the package wrong when it is clearly his speech and this was the most significant element of it?
  4. Who wrote the speech given he takes no responsibility? Is it true he wrote the speech himself?
  5. Why did he announce last week that he had “saved $1.5 billion a year” when quite clearly he hadn’t?
  6. What specific programmes would he cut in New Zealand’s accounts to generate the savings of $1.5 billion a year he said he had made last week?
  7. Does he think it is right to attempt to con New Zealanders not once, but twice, in the first week of the political year?

“Mr Cunliffe needs to be upfront with New Zealanders and not constantly try to pull the wool over their eyes if he to be taken remotely seriously as an opposition leader,” Mr Joyce says.

He has to do even better if he’s going to look like a Prime Minister in waiting and he won’t do that while Cunliffe is looking more and more like Conlife.

 


OCR unchanged for now

January 30, 2014

The Reserve Bank has left the Official Cash Rate at the record low 2.5%.

New Zealand’s economic expansion has considerable momentum. Prices for New Zealand’s export commodities remain very high, especially for dairy products. Consumer and business confidence are strong and the rapid rise in net inward migration over the past year has added to consumption and housing demand. Construction activity is being lifted by the Canterbury rebuild and by work in Auckland to address the housing shortage. Continued fiscal consolidation will partly offset the strength in demand. GDP grew by 3.5 percent in the year to September, and growth is expected to continue around this rate over the coming year.

While agricultural export prices are expected to come off their peak levels, overall export demand should benefit from improving growth in the global economy. However, improvements in the major economies have required exceptional monetary accommodation and there remains uncertainty about the timing of withdrawal of this stimulus and its effects, especially on emerging market economies.

Annual CPI inflation was 1.6 percent in 2013, and forward-looking measures of firms’ pricing intentions have been rising. Construction costs are increasing and risk feeding through to broader costs in the economy. At the same time, there appears to have been some moderation in the housing market in recent months. The high exchange rate continues to dampen inflation in the traded goods sector, but the Bank does not believe the current level of the exchange rate is sustainable in the long run.

While headline inflation has been moderate, inflationary pressures are expected to increase over the next two years. In this environment, there is a need to return interest rates to more-normal levels. The Bank expects to start this adjustment soon.

The Bank remains committed to increasing the OCR as needed to keep future average inflation near the 2 percent target mid-point. The scale and speed of the rise in the OCR will depend on future economic indicators.

This gives a little breathing space before what is expected to be an increase in the OCR and subsequent increases in interest rates.

The message in this statement is clear – it’s not if there will be an increase but when.

That doesn’t just mean an increase on interest it will almost certainly put pressure on the value of our dollar.


Battle for birds

January 30, 2014

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith has launched DOC’s largest-ever species protection programme called ‘Battle for Our Birds’.

“Our native birds are in decline and the kiwi will not exist in the wild for our grandchildren unless we do more to protect them. Rats, stoats and possums must be controlled to stop them killing 25 million native birds a year. It is like having a Rena disaster, which killed 2000 birds, every hour,” Dr Smith says.

“This problem is particularly urgent this year because we are facing a one in 10 to 15 year large beech mast that will drop about a million tonnes of seed in autumn. This flood of food will trigger a plague of an additional 30 million rats and tens of thousands of stoats. When the seeds germinate in spring, these starved predators will annihilate populations of our endangered birds.

“This ‘Battle for Our Birds’ programme increases pest control in 35 forests to protect 12 native species, and mainly involves using 1080. An additional 500,000 hectares will be treated in this mast year, increasing the proportion of public conservation land protected from these pests from five per cent to 12 per cent. It also involves expanding DOC’s on-going pest control work by 50,000 hectares each year over the next five years.”

The twelve target species are the great spotted, brown and tokoeka kiwi, kaka, kea, whio (blue duck), mohua (yellowhead), kakaraki (orange-fronted parakeet), rock wren, long and short tailed bats, and giant snails. It will save millions of other native birds like fantails, robins, tui, kereru, riflemen, bellbirds, tomtits and warbles, reptiles like geckos, insects like weta, trees like rata, and plants like mistletoe.

The bulk of the 35 forests where the protection work will occur this year is in South Island beech forests in the Kahurangi, Abel Tasman, Arthur’s Pass, Westland, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. The other reserves in the South Island are the Catlins and Waikaia in Otago, Mt Dobson and Upper Hurunui in Canterbury, Haast, Maruia and Mokihinui on the West Coast, and Pelorus and Isolated Hill in Marlborough. The five forests in the North Island to receive protection this year are Pouiatoa in Taranaki, the Whanganui and Tongariro National Parks, and at Pirongia and Awaroa in western Waikato.

“The details of the exact areas, timing and mix of pest control tools will be finalised over coming months. We need to monitor the mast seed drop and the resulting pest plague, and engage with affected communities.

“This pest control programme does involve the use of aerial 1080, but does not mean record use. Pre-feeding, improving bait quality to avoid crumbs attractive to birds, helicopter rather than fixed-wing aircraft distribution, GPS, and the development of repellents for non-target species have enabled major improvements in 1080 control methods. Bait application rates have reduced from 30 kilograms to one kilogram per hectare.

“I know there are people, regardless of the science, who will oppose the use of poisons. The comprehensive conclusions of the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Environment Protection Authority make plain that 1080 is safe and the only practical tool that will work. Reason must trump prejudice about poisons when the very species that define our country like kiwi are at stake.”

This programme will cost about $21 million over the next five years out of DOC’s $335 million annual budget and is possible because of savings from last year’s restructuring, partnership funding, efficiency gains from improved pest control technologies, and economies of scale in this large project

“The ‘Battle for Our Birds’ is New Zealand’s largest ever species protection programme. It’s about backing our kiwi, kaka and kea over rats, stoats and possums,” Dr Smith concluded.

The plan has the backing of parliament’s environment watchdog:

. . . Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright warned of the “pest explosion” in December and she’s welcoming Dr Smith’s move.

“The potential toll on our native wildlife is enormous,” she said.

“I’m delighted with Dr Smith’s considered response to this very major threat to New Zealand’s native flora and fauna.”

Dr Wright says 1080 is the only tool to control the plagues of rats and stoats that follow a mast event.

Forest and Bird says the 1080 plan should be standard:

“Conservation group Forest and Bird says increased pest poisoning in response to an expected boom in rat and stoat numbers should be the new baseline. . .

“Without this increase in predator control, there will be a real possibility that we will lose a bird species this mast year,” said F&B advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell.

“DOC should be funded properly for dealing with this event. But, if this level of predator control is not maintained, the money could easily be wasted. For this reason the programme over the next five years should become the new standard for DOC’s aerial 1080 operations.” . . .

Native flora and fauna are under threat from imported pests in the best of years.In mast years the increased danger calls for an extraordinary response and the planned 1080 blitz  is necessary.

Beech mast 2014 logo.

There is more on the plan at DOC’s website.


Middle miss out in Labour’s plan

January 30, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe bemoaned the plight of middle income families who were struggling, in his state of the nation speech.

He then announced a plan which he said would give every family earning up to $150,000 a $60 a week when they had a baby.

What he said isn’t what the proposal would deliver.

Prime Minister John Key told the whole story in Question Time yesterday:

. . . Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Firstly, I would be interested in the Leader of the Opposition tabling this source that he keeps using saying that one in five New Zealand children own only one pair of shoes. I would be very interested, because that is what he has been saying. We know from his speeches that when he says 59,000 families will all get $60 a week for 52 weeks, it is not true—25,000 of them get paid parental leave, and will not get it for 52 weeks. Today we learnt that 15,000 currently get the parental tax credit, and they will not get it for 52 weeks either. In fact, one in three families are the only people who will get $60 a week for 52 weeks of the year, and they are beneficiary families and the new working poor, who, according to Labour, earn $150,000 a year. . .

Calling Cunliffe a liar isn’t permitted under parliamentary protocol.

Patrick Gower doesn’t face that constraint and writes Labour is dishonest on baby bonus:

The Labour Party has been putting voters wrong about its baby bonus.

Labour has been deliberately misleading, and in my view dishonest by omission.

On Monday night I told 3 News viewers that under Labour’s $60 a week baby bonus policy, families would get $3120 a year for their baby’s first year.

A simple calculation you might think, of $60 mutiplied by 52 weeks, given David Cunliffe announced in his State of the Nation speech: “That’s why today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start payment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life.

Now most normal people would think that means “all” those parents will get the payment “for the first year of their child’s life”.

But it wasn’t true – not that you would know that from Cunliffe’s speech, media stand-up, the MPs who were there to “help” and all the glossy material handed out to us.

The Labour Party has been putting voters wrong about its baby bonus.

Labour has been deliberately misleading, and in my view dishonest by omission.

On Monday night I told 3 News viewers that under Labour’s $60 a week baby bonus policy, families would get $3120 a year for their baby’s first year.

A simple calculation you might think, of $60 mutiplied by 52 weeks, given David Cunliffe announced in his State of the Nation speech: “That’s why today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start payment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life.

Now most normal people would think that means “all” those parents will get the payment “for the first year of their child’s life”.

But it wasn’t true – not that you would know that from Cunliffe’s speech, media stand-up, the MPs who were there to “help” and all the glossy material handed out to us.

Because buried in the material was a website link that takes you to a more detailed explanation policy.

And on page six of that policy document, in paragraph 3, it revealed the payment would commence at the “end of the household’s time of using Paid Parental Leave, ie. after 26 weeks in most cases.”

So translated, in most cases, the $60 a week payment is not for the first year, but for the second six months.

Obviously 3 News had already broadcast that it was for most babies for a year and a total of $3120.

The truth is it was for most babies for the second six months and was $1560.

Now Cunliffe and Labour knew this $3120 for one year figure was wrong, but nobody rang to correct it.

Usually political parties and the taxpayer-funded spin doctors are screaming down the phone if there is an error (and rightfully so, I might add), but in this case Labour was dead quiet.

And I believe that’s because Labour wanted the punters to think it was $60 for a year.

They were desperate to get cut-through and were happy to omit key information and let the wrong message get out there.

And I think that is deliberately misleading and dishonest from Labour.

At some point, I’m sure senior Labour people made a decision to omit key details on the day to maximise publicity – it was no mistake.

This is what politicians of all colours do; they don’t care if they mislead the public, they are venal and desperate and just want to win. It is not just Labour, it’s all of them. It’s really sad.

And it goes on: Labour’s Sue Moroney has just explained to me that there are 60,000 births in New Zealand each year, 59,000 of those families earn under $150,000, 26,000 are eligible for paid parental leave, meaning 33,000 will get the $60 for the full twelve months.

That means Cunliffe should have said 33,000 people will get the baby bonus for a year, which is not “most” of the 60,000 families that have babies each year.

Bearing in mind Labour’s policy does not start until April 2016, with six months of paid parental leave the majority of $60 payments won’t kick in until October 2016 – that would likely be almost two years after a 2014 Labour Government.

Cunliffe also struggled to explain yesterday whether families would be judged on their pre-baby double income (ie. two earners of $140,000 each, getting $280,000) or after-baby income $140,000.

This seems a pretty straightforward aspect to me, and I wonder if it was policy-on-the-hoof. He either didn’t know the policy properly or was trying to avoid showing how generous the policy is. . .

That’s generous with other people’s money to beneficiaries and the new working poor who until very recently Labour would have called rich pricks.
But not very generous to the people in the middle that the speech gave the impression the policy was designed to help.

 

 

 


January 30 in history

January 30, 2014

1018 – The Peace of Bautzen was signed between Poland and Germany.

1648 Eighty Years’ War: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück was signed, ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain.

1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded.

1661 Oliver Cromwell, was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.

1790  The first boat specializing as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne.

1806 The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), was opened.

1820 Edward Bransfield sighted the Trinity Peninsula and claimed the discovery of Antarctica.

1826 The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, opened.

1835 In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but failed and was subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen.

1841 A fire destroyed two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

1847 Yerba Buena, California was renamed San Francisco.

1858 The first Hallé concert was given in Manchester marking the official founding of the Hallé Orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

1862 The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.

1882  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, was born (d. 1945).

1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling.

1911 An amendment to the Gaming Act at the end of 1910 banned bookmakers from racecourses in New Zealand. Bookies were officially farewelled at the now defunct Takapuna racecourse.

Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

1911 The destroyer USS Terry (DD-25) made the first airplane rescue at sea saving the life of James McCurdy 10 miles from Havana.

1911 – The Canadian Naval Service became the Royal Canadian Navy.

1913 The House of Lords rejected the Irish Home Rule Bill.

1925 The Government of Turkey threw Patriarch Constantine VI out of Istanbul.

1929 Lucille Teasdale-Corti, Canadian surgeon and international aid worker, was born (d. 1945).

1930 Gene Hackman, American actor, was born.

1930 The world’s second radiosonde is launched in Pavlovsk USSR.

1931 Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author, was born.

1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1937 Vanessa Redgrave, English actress, was born.

1941 – Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1945  World War II: The Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sunk in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, leading to the deadliest known maritime disaster, killing approximately 9,000 people.

1945  Raid at Cabanatuan: 126 American Rangers and Filipino resistance liberated 500 prisoners from the Cabanatuan POW camp.

1945 Hitler gave his last ever public address, a radio address on the 12th anniversary of his coming to power.

1947 Steve Marriott, English musician (Humble Pie, The Small Faces), was born  (d. 1991).

1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.

1951 Phil Collins, English musician, was born.

1954 Queens EliZabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh left New Zealand, bringing to an end the first tour by a ruling monarch.

Queen farewells New Zealand

1956 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s home was bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1960 The African National Party was founded in Chad through the merger of traditionalist parties.

1960 Lily Potter, (fictional character) Mother of Harry J. Potter and Member of The Order of the Phoenix, was born.

1962 King Abdullah II of Jordan, was born.

1964  Ranger 6 was launched.

1968 Prince Felipe of Spain, was born.

1969 The Beatles‘ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

1971 Carole King’s Tapestry album was released, it became the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sold 24 million copies worldwide.

1972 Bloody Sunday: British Paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civil rights/anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.

1972 Pakistan withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

1979 Varig 707-323C freighter,  disappeared over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

1982 Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code, which was 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot programme called “Elk Cloner”.

1989 The American embassy in Kabul closed.

1994 Péter Lékó became the youngest chess grand master.

1995 Workers from the National Institutes of Health announced the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.

1996 Gino Gallagher, the suspected leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, was killed while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit.

1996 – Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.

2000 Off the coast of Ivory Coast, Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed into the Atlantic  killing 169.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Word of the day

January 29, 2014

Agerasia - the quality of not growing old; the absence of the signs of age; youthful appearance in someone/thing old.


Rural round-up

January 29, 2014

Cattle top NZ’s most dangerous farm animal list - Chris Hyde:

Cattle are New Zealand’s most dangerous farm animals according to ACC.

Figures obtained by Fairfax Media under the Official Information Act show that in 2013 there were 2262 cattle-related injuries requiring ACC funding.

Sheep were in second, inflicting 1612 injuries, while the horse also had a hoof in the payout of 1285 claims.

Cattle were not, however, the most dangerous farm animal in all areas of the country.

For example, in the Manawatu district, Manawatu District farmers in particular flocked to ACC in 2013, claiming 43 sheep-related injuries in the calendar year, a number that earned the sheep the title of Manawatu’s most dangerous farm animal – beating out cattle on 40. . .

End of an era as breeders downsize and head to town - Jill Galloway:

Steph Holloway and Hamish Hawker are getting out of their breeding farm at Hunterville, after a long family association with the property.

Five generations of Holloway’s family, including her, have worked on the hill country farm.

She said she and Hawker sold 600 two-tooth ewes at last week’s Feilding ewe fair. A further 1300 mixed-age ewes were sold at the sale on Friday.

Holloway said that while they could stay on the farm until May, they were already looking for a smaller finishing farm closer to town.

“Our breeding unit was 800 acres [324 hectares], and it was 50 minutes to Feilding, where I work. We want 200 acres [80ha], and it will mean a day or two a week on the farm.” . . .

Synlait ups the milk price ante:

Canterbury milk processor Synlait has fired the dairy equivalent of a full broadside by upping its forecast milk price for 2013/14 to a range of $8.30 to $8.40 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS).

“Before Christmas, the coop Westland Milk Products lifted its in-season forecast to $7.90-$8.30 kg/MS. Now we see Synlait joining the fray to be in the same ballpark as Fonterra,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Of course, Open Country operates a continuous payout while we know Miraka will be highly competitive as will be that darling of value-add, Tatua.

“For farmers, this level of farm gate competition is positive with other processors getting closer to joining the market. . .

Decline in dairy cow fertility may have halted:

New dairy industry data indicates a long-term decline in dairy cow fertility may have been halted.

It’s an issue that’s been challenging dairy scientists and farmers in New Zealand and overseas, because cow fertility is fundamental to dairy farm productivity and profitability.

Dairy New Zealand strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold says the lower fertility was linked to the import of American Holstein cows into the country in the late 1990s. . .

“Importantly, we are getting advance rates that will help cashflow following the train wreck drought hit season that was 2012/13. . . .

What it takes to compete in the global dairy industry – Dr Jon Hauser,

The dairy industry is a hot topic in Australia at the moment. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, a prized dairy asset in southwest Victoria, is up for grabs. There is currently a 3 way bidding war between local publicly listed dairy company Bega, farmer co-operative Murray Goulburn, and the Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

This week United Dairyfarmers Victoria organised a meeting of farmers in Warrnambool. The UDV is a farmer representative group charged with lobbying government and industry on behalf of Victorian dairy farmers. They invited me to talk about the global dairy market – what it takes to compete, and what industry capital and marketing structures are best suited to serving farmer interests. This article reproduces the main content of the presentation. . .

Going the distance to get to school - Shane Gilchrist:

As another school year looms so, too, does the weekday routine of actually getting children to class. For some, that means going the distance, as Shane Gilchrist discovers.

Off to school on a sunny morning into the farm truck and heading to the boat. Open the gate, out of the truck and into the boat. Lifejackets on and we are heading to Camp Creek. That is where we meet the school bus to get to school …

”If it is a smooth lake we play and you can move or guess what we are going to do for the day. But on a rough lake we have to sit in our seats for the whole way. When we get there I race to the bus. I get on and one of my friends said, `You are early – it was only 8.20 when you should be there at 8.30′. But it doesn’t really matter …”

Eight-year-old Alice Wallis’ story might be relatively short, but her weekday journey is a wee bit longer than that typically taken by the many thousands of New Zealand children who return to school next week.

Even though Makarora School can be seen from Minaret Station, on the western shore of Lake Wanaka, it still takes 45 minutes to make the one-way trip by (as Alice has explained) farm truck, boat then bus. . .


What is your mental age?

January 29, 2014

What is your mental age?

Mine’s 34 – just a couple of decades different from the actual one.


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