Challenge is trade

October 18, 2014

Prime Minister John Key was asked about advice for other leaders and said:

I think the big challenge for everybody is international trade,&rdquo he says. If you want to look at what drives economic outcomes, it is access to markets, it is education – the skill base of your people – and flexibility of your labour markets. All the other factors will take care of themselves.” . . .

This explains the government’s prioritising free trade agreements, education and labour law reform.

The quote is a small part of an interview in The Telegraph headlined: John Key: the poor boy who saved New Zealand’s economy.

I recommend reading it in full.

 

 


Do we still need to write?

October 6, 2014

Yay or nay?

When fine motor skills were being handed out, I was somewhere else.

A variety of skills as diverse as sewing and applying nail polish with any degree of finesse are beyond me.

I can get away without having to do art and any more than basic sewing, and leave my nails in their natural state.

But the one fine motor skill I need and don’t have but require often is handwriting.

I type when I can but sometimes that’s not an option and it always worries me that whoever has to read what I write will think what I write is as ill-formed and immature as my writing.

My writing is appalling in spite of the best efforts of successive teachers.

I gather that a lot less emphasis is put on it in modern classrooms.

There is less need for writing than there used to be, but are we short-changing children if we don’t teach them to write, and read, real writing?


Where does the money come from?

September 29, 2014

I came across this advertisement during the election campaign but didn’t use it because I believed people were better giving their party votes to National.
Photo: We say you cannot have economic growth or higher living standards by attacking farmers and locking out foreign investment.<br /><br /><br />
If you share these values, vote for them. See our plan at <a href=http://www.act.org.nz.”; width=”504″ height=”504″ />

However, the plea for the party vote, aside, the message about where the money for services comes from is right and reinforced by this story:

Research cash from milk industry could be put in same category as that from armament companies:

Research funding from the dairying and soft drink industries could be declined on ethical grounds under proposals being worked through by the University of Canterbury.

The university is in the midst of a wide-ranging debate about ethical research funding – who academics should and shouldn’t accept money from, and for what research purpose.

Currently, research funding from the tobacco and armaments industries could be declined.

Some academics have argued that should extend to certain industry-funded alcohol, gambling, dairying, mining and soft drink research.

Others believed there should be no prohibition and that the acceptance of funding should be left to individual moral judgements. . .

The issue appears to be water quality.

It’s not a good reflection on the scientific rigor that researchers would write off a whole industry on the strength of what some farmers used to do and take no notice of what’s being done to improve matters.

Dairying farming has been contributing to the deterioration of water quality but farmers and those who supply and support them are making good progress on cleaning up their practices.

There is still more work to do and it will need good science to help. Would researchers turn down money from the industry if it was investigating ways to improve its environmental impact?

This issue, lumping dairying with alcohol and arms, highlights the dark green anti-farming stance which counts the costs but not the benefits.

The dairy industry produces milk which is an important source of nutrients for people here and even more overseas.

The food we export earns a lot of the money which enables us to pay our way in the world and import goods and services from other countries.

The tax paid by farmers and those who service and supply them and process, distribute, market and sell what they produce is what funds universities and hospitals.

If they’re going to turn down money from dairy companies, will they also turn down the tax revenue from the industry which funds the institutions where they work?


Rural round-up

September 28, 2014

Building an educated workforce – Rick Powdrell:

How about that election result then! The most interesting result took place up in Te Tai Tokerau with Labour‘s Kelvin Davis being elected.  Can I give a big thumbs up to the average Kiwi voter who responded to electoral nastiness by sending one political movement packing.

New Zealanders have dodged a bullet and it restores your faith in democracy.  The party I am thinking about wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about what we farmers do on-farm either.

In this election, it was clear to me that some people do not understand that farming is the most international business we have.  A business you can’t up sticks and transfer with the click of a mouse.  It’s here because the people, climate, soils and temperature are all right here.  Industries collectively generating $35 billion a year; 73 percent of our merchandise exports.  . .

Nepalese adding value in Waimate – Sarah Rowland:

When Ikawai dairy farmer Lyle Green employed Nepalese Ashok Shrestha 11 years ago he was so impressed with his works ethic he looked for more.

Green’s uncle had told him of a hard-working Nepalese man who wasn’t being treated well in his job and to employ him if he could, but at the time Green had no vacancies.

However, when a position opened he tracked down Shrestha and employed him.

It turned out to be one of the best choices he had made for his business, he said.

When another employee left for another position Green asked Shrestha if he had a friend who wanted to come to work for him and he said he had two. . .

Loving it for the lifestyle – Gerard Hutching:

”I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” says Landcorp dairy farm manager Letitia Hamill.

At the age of 22, Hamill is the second youngest Landcorp farm manager in the country. And as a woman, she is a relative rarity for the state-owned enterprise, which has just five female managers out of 137.

Hamill manages one of the nine Landcorp Moutoa dairy farms in the Foxton region. At 68 hectares and running 216 cows, hers is one of four smaller properties in the complex. . .

Boost for breeding as salmon return to river  – David Bruce:

About 1% of a first release of 2000 salmon raised in the Waitaki River returned in the past fishing season, boosting breeding in a stream whose water was used to raise them.

The Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society started hatching salmon at a hatchery next to Welcome Stream and released its first 2000 tagged fish in 2012.

They were due to start returning in the past season, and the first was caught in February.

Society secretary Linn Koevoet said five of those fish were weighed in at a competition and another three were reported caught. . .

‘Shear for life’ fundraiser - Yvonne O’Hara:

Two farmers hope to raise $24,000 for the Cancer Society by shearing sheep during a 24-hour ”Shear for Life” marathon in Tarras in February.

Farmer James Hill, of Teviot Valley, and stock manager Cole Wells, of Tarras, want to raise money for the society in memory of family members who had died of cancer.

Mr Hill’s father Dick died of stomach cancer in 2012 and Mr Wells lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. . .

Dairy delegation heads to US - Narelle Henson:

A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. 

The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand’s major competition in the Chinese market.

The USA’s milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ”mega-dairies”, with 2000 or more cows.

Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder is going on the nine-day trip, and said lessons in keeping costs down would be a major focus. . .

 

Tongariro triumphs at Otiwhiti -Jackie Harrigan:

Told you we should have left the shield in the van.”

That was the triumphant cry from one of the supporters of the agri-skills team from Tongariro School last week when they won the Land Based Training Otiwhiti Station Interschool Challenge Shield at the Rangitikei station for the second year in a row.

Tongariro team leader Chicago Albert was proud of his team and of the win, saying they had been training hard to retain the shield. 

“I reckon it’s really cool to come back and win for a second time.” . .


National working for and in the south #5

September 16, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 5:


Matters that matter

September 7, 2014

This week National made several announcements on matters that matter:

A re-elected National-led Government will improve freshwater quality by investing $100m to buy and retire farmland next to important waterways. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
National is committed to building a stronger economy and improving the quality of our environment, which is why we’ll require dairy cattle to be excluded from waterways by mid-2017. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
We’ll deliver world-class connectivity to even more people, extending the roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband to a further 200,000 New Zealanders. ntnl.org.nz/1t1RAF2 #Working4NZ We’ll boost funding for special needs by providing an additional 800,000 teacher aide hours. ntnl.org.nz/1vUMAqE #Working4NZ

None of these would be possible or sustainable without National’s sound and careful economic management.


There’s hope

August 29, 2014

Two school boys have won a change of policy at their school:

. . . The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground. . . .

There’s a fine line between being safe enough and too safe.

When life gets too safe it becomes more dangerous because people stop taking responsibility for themselves.

These two boys, with the support of most parents, board and staff, have done their schoolmates a favour allowing them to take acceptable risks.


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