Word of the day

April 1, 2014

Pillock – idiot, fool, stupid or annoying person.


Rural round-up

April 1, 2014

Venison industry at the crossroads – Keith Woodford:

In recent years the venison industry has gone backwards. Total farmed deer numbers declined from about 1.8 million in 2005 to 1.1 million in 2011. The most recent 2013 annual slaughter statistics show that 53% of slaughtered animals were females. This is a sure sign of ongoing retreat. So what has gone wrong and what can be fixed?

Back in the 1980s, AgResearch data from Invermay Research Station suggested that red deer were more efficient at converting grass to meat than non-deer species. We now know that on an overall farm system basis that notion was wrong.

The female deer reproductive system has been designed by nature to only produce one progeny per year. This productive disadvantage would not matter too much if the price premium was large, and for a long time this was the case. . . .

New conservation fund announced:

A Community Conservation Partnership Fund to support the work of voluntary organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects was launched today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith at the opening of the new Hoddy Estuary Park in Nelson.

“Thousands of New Zealanders contribute to conservation by building tracks, controlling pests, planting trees, and restoring native wildlife. This new fund is about the Government providing finance for the plants, traps, poisons, equipment and coordination to support this voluntary work,” Dr Smith says.

The new fund of $26 million over the next four years is to be distributed to community organisations in an annual contestable funding round of between $6 million and $7 million a year. Projects may be funded over multiple years, reflecting the time it takes to complete projects of this sort. . .

Chatham Rock, would-be seabed phosphate miner, files second EEZ marine consent application:

(BusinessDesk) – Chatham Rock Phosphate, which wants to mine phosphate nodules from the seafloor on the Chatham Rise, has submitted a draft marine consent application to the Environmental Protection Authority.

The application is the second to be submitted under new EEZ legislation. TransTasman Resources, which wants to hoover ironsands off the seafloor more than 20 kilometres off the coast from Patea is currently going through the first ever hearings under the new regime.

CRP’s application comes after more than four years’ work and $25 million of investment in environmental impact assessments, market evaluation, and development of relationships with mining partners, most notably Dutch dredging firm Royal Boskalis. . .

Investment over decade shows merit of ewe’s milk - Alison Rudd:

A decade ago, Southland businessman Keith Neylon did not know the first thing about sheep’s milk.

Now his company, Blue River Dairy, milks more than 10,000 ewes daily; runs a factory turning out butter, five cheese varieties, ice cream and milk powder; exports products to seven countries; and has just launched sheep’s milk infant formula on the New Zealand and Chinese markets.

Reporter Allison Rudd spoke to the agricultural innovator.

Keith Neylon nurses a cup of coffee in the cafe and tasting room at the Blue River Dairy factory, formerly the Invercargill town milk supply plant. He’s in the middle of an interview, but he still has his eye on his customers. . .

Pilot training course in deer handling to start :

A training course in how to manage and handle farmed deer has been developed, with a pilot run starting in Southland next month.

For several years, training opportunities had been very limited so a 12-month level 3 training course had been developed to ”fill the gap”, Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) producer manager Tony Pearse said.

A pilot block course is being held at Netherdale deer stud at Balfour on April 9, followed by one in South Canterbury in the spring. After that course ended, there would be courses in the North and South Islands in response to a hopefully increasing demand, Mr Pearse said. . .

Fake products risk NZ honey exports:

A Waikato University scientist says there is a risk that fraudulent products will wreck the international reputation of New Zealand honey exports.

Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris says it is extremely urgent that New Zealand sets up standardised labelling of honey, especially the lucrative manuka variety.

New Zealand produced more than 16,000 tonnes of honey in 2012 and 2013 and in 2012 honey exports were worth $120 million with manuka honey making up about 90 per centof that.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has formed two working groups to come up with a robust labelling guideline for manuka honey – one made up of scientists and one from the industry. . .

 


Memories are made of this

April 1, 2014

Be a betterarian – farming with respect

April 1, 2014

Journey of a betterarian part 2 – farming with respect:

There’s more on being a betterarian here.

 

 


Employment optimism rising

April 1, 2014

Optimism about jobs is at its highest since the GFC:

New Zealand employment confidence has risen in the first quarter, suggesting the labour market is starting to reflect a general upturn in the economy.

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index rose to 109.4 in the first three months of 2014, from 103.4 in the final quarter of 2013.

The index is now at its highest level since the global financial crisis and ensuing recession although it is still weaker than before the recession hit, according to Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens.

While households’ perceptions of job opportunities improved to the best reading since December 2008, it is still deeply negative at a net -32 percent from -46.9 percent.

“The fruits of New Zealand’s economic upturn are increasingly becoming apparent to workers and jobseekers,” Mr Stephens said. . . .

Confidence is still weaker than before the recession but the trend is upwards which is encouraging and GDP growth means it is likely to get better.
• Real GDP grew by a robust 0.9% in the December 2013 quarter, and the current account deficit narrowed sharply.
• All signs remain consistent with the economy maintaining significant momentum in the first half of 2014.

• International economic data were broadly positive, despite financial market jitters.

 


Would it be churlish to ask for interest?

April 1, 2014

Winston Peters has finally deigned to repay the $158,000 of public money he and New Zealand First misappropriated for their 2005 election campaign.

Would it be churlish to ask for interest and penalties for late payment?


Parliamentary prayer to be replaced

April 1, 2014

The prayer which opens each sitting of parliament is to be axed and replaced with something more appropriate for 21st century New Zealand.

Discussion on the appropriateness of a prayer when parliament now has adherents of a range of religions and a number of agnostics and atheists had prompted the change.

Speaker’s spokeswoman Faith Ornot said the speaker was also concerned about the hypocrisy of starting with a prayer when the behaviour which followed was anything but sanctified.

“MPs aren’t allowed to use the H word in the house and we don’t think it’s appropriate to start with something which turns many of them into hypocrites,” she said.

“Instead, the speaker will tell a joke to inject a little levity into the House and start proceedings with a smile.”

Ms Ornot said that there will be a session of Laughter Yoga immediately before the House sits to get MPs into the mood.

“Laughter Yoga has proven physiological and psychological benefits which we think will improved the well-being and mood of MPs.

“It will also be introduced across the public service.”

Ms Ornot said Laughter Yoga sessions would be optional at first but compulsory for all parliamentarians and public servants from April 1 next year.

 


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