Can’t grow trees in thin air

January 24, 2018

Forestry Minister Shane Jones admitted to the AM Show that he’s struggling to find enough land to plant the billion trees he promised:

The Government in this context is not going to go into the business of buying land.

“There is a lot of land out there – [but] the farmers are leery [and] the Māori often find it difficult to agree, as you’re seeing in Waitangi.”

The Government will only boost the current 50 million trees bring planted annually by 10 percent this year, Mr Jones says. That would bring the total to 55 million – well short of the target.

“It’s not realistic to say it can be done exclusively by the Government,” Mr Jones says, adding it was “always a target for the industry”.

The billion trees was supposed to be policy, National MPs Simon Bridges and Nick Smith say it looks more like a mirage.

We learnt on Friday that Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is now hoping to plant just five million extra trees this year,” Regional Development Spokesperson Mr Bridges says.

“At 5 million trees a year, it would take 200 years to achieve a billion trees. I know Mr Jones is not the hardest worker but stretching a ten year target out to 200 years would be an impressive under-achievement even for him.”

Forestry Spokesperson Nick Smith says this back down on the flagship forestry policy is hugely embarrassing and damaging to the Government’s economic and environmental credibility.

“The Government initially promised 100 million extra trees per year. This was then cut in half by including 50 million trees already being planted each year. The latest back down further reduces the new planting planned for this year to only five million,” Mr Smith says.

“The new target for 2018 is now no different from what is already happening. An average of 55 million trees were planted each year over the last seven years, increasing to 62.5 million in 2016, the last year of full data. The Minister’s new promise of 55 million trees being planted this year is barely any promise at all.”

Mr Bridges says this change in target is on top of plans to change the overseas investment rules so the values of forest investments drop significantly. That will only decrease forest plantings.

“We are three months in and not a single tree has been planted – so the Government is around 24 million trees behind target already. . .

You can’t plant trees in thin air.

There might be some land in the conservation estate that would be suitable for planting and there might be some land on Landcorp farms where forestry is an option.

But even with that, the government hasn’t got enough land for all the trees it’s promised nor has it the money to buy more for forestry.

That leaves the bulk of the planting up to farmers and other private individuals and businesses who for very good reason are wary about putting their money into enterprises based on a government policy which looks more like a mirage than a sound investment.

 

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Quote of the day

January 24, 2018

But in Australia a model child is – I say it not without thankfulness – an unknown quantity.
It may be that the miasmas of naughtiness develop best in the sunny brilliancy of our atmosphere. It may be that the land and the people are so young-hearted together, and the children’s spirits are not crushed and saddened by the shadow of long years’ sorrowful history.
There is a lurking sparkle of joyousness and rebellion and mischief in nature here, and therefore in children. –   Ethel Turner  who was born on this day in 1872


January 24 in history

January 24, 2018

41 Gaius Caesar (Caligula), known for his eccentricity and cruel despotism, was assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. Claudius succeeded his nephew.

76 – Hadrian, Roman Emperor, was born (d. 138).

1670  William Congreve, English playwright, was born (d. 1729).

1679 – King Charles II disbanded Parliament.

1742 – Charles VII Albert became Holy Roman Emperor.

1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.

1857 The University of Calcutta was formally founded as the first full-fledged university in south Asia.

1859  Political union of Moldavia and WallachiaAlexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as ruler.

1862  Bucharest proclaimed capital of Romania.

1862 – Edith Wharton, American author and poet, was born (d. 1937).

1864 Marguerite Durand, French feminist leader, was born (d. 1936).

1865 General Cameron left Wanganui with 1200 Imperial troops to invadesouthern Taranaki.
Imperial forces invade South Taranaki

1872 Ethel Turner, Australian author, was born (d. 1958).

1916 – In Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the federal income tax constitutional.

1920 – Doris Haddock, American political activist, was born (d. 2010).

1924 –Petrograd, formerly Saint Petersburg, was renamed Leningrad.

1928 Desmond Morris, British anthropologist, was born.

1930 – Bernard Matthews, British poultry industry figure , was born (d. 2010).

1941 Neil Diamond, American singer, was born.

1952 Vincent Massey was sworn in as the first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada.

1957 Adrian Edmondson, English comedian, was born.

1961 – 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs broke up in mid-air over North Carolina. One weapon nearly detonated.

1972 Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi was found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.

1977 Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, during the Spanish transition to democracy.

1978 Soviet satellite Cosmos 954, with a nuclear reactor on board, burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere, scattering radioactive debris over Canada’s Northwest Territories.

1980 – The ambassador of the Soviet Union, Vsevolod Sofinsky, was ordered to leave New Zealand for giving money to the pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party.

Soviet ambassador expelled

1984 The first Apple Macintosh went on sale.

1986 Voyager 2 passed within 81,500 km (50,680 miles) of Uranus.

2003 The United States Department of Homeland Security officially began operation.

2009 – The storm Klaus made landfall near Bordeaux. It subsequently caused 26 deaths as well as extensive disruptions to public transport and power supplies.

2011 – At least 35 died and 180 injured in a bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

2014 – Three bombs exploded in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, killing about 7 people and injuring over 100 others.

2014 – The Philippines and the Bangsamoro agreed to a peace deal that would help end the 45-year conflict.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


365 days of gratitude

January 23, 2018

C.S. Lewis said if we could read only old books or new we should choose the old.

If you chose the old I guess in time the new would become old so you’d get to read them too.

But the idea that I might be dictated to so that I was able to read only one or the other feels like Hobson’s choice to me.

I have a lot of old favorites which I re-read and enjoy afresh but I also enjoy discovering new works by authors whose earlier volumes I’ve liked and encountering works by authors new to me.

I am fortunate to have the ability and, quite often, the time to read old books and new and I”m grateful for that.


Word of the day

January 23, 2018

Brook – a small stream, creek or natural flowing body of water; to allow, accept or tolerate; abide, bear or suffer.


Rural round-up

January 23, 2018

Record lamb and mutton receipts and second highest for beef:

Red meat export receipts reached a record high for the December quarter of the 2017-18 season, according to an analysis by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service.

The record was driven by high export volumes and average Free-on-Board (FOB) per tonne at record values for lamb and mutton, and near record values for beef, while the New Zealand dollar (NZD) has remained relatively strong.

Andrew Burtt, B+LNZ chief economist, said lamb and mutton farm-gate prices were up 30% and 59% respectively for the first quarter of the season (October-December 2017) compared to the previous season. Cattle prices were relatively steady – up 5%. . . 

MPI says disease is contained – Annette Scott:

Despite the growing number of properties testing positive for the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) remains adamant it has the disease contained.

MPI on Wednesday confirmed three new infected properties, two in Southland and one at Ashburton, bringing the total number of properties testing positive to 17, including one in Hawke’s Bay.

The number of restricted place notice properties is 34 and the number of properties for casing is 206. . . 

Fonterra ‘extremely disappointed’ as Beingmate’s forecast loss widens, again – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra says it is “extremely disappointed” that China’s Beingmate Baby & Child Food, in which it has an 18.8 per cent stake, has issued another earnings downgrade – this time to a loss of $171-$214 million for the December 2017 year.

The previous forecast was for a loss of RMB350m to RMB500m ($75m to $107m).

Fonterra said it was assessing the implications the loss would have on its first half result.

“As an investor in Beingmate, we are extremely disappointed by this announcement and the on-going performance of the company,” Fonterra said in a statement. . .

Mackay vs McKay in celebrity shears:

Jamie Mackay will be back at Waimumu to defend his speed shear title, this time going head to head with Rural Exchange presenter and former sports commentator Hamish McKay.

The inaugural Southern Field Days Speed Shears, held at the 2016 event, had The Country presenter Jamie Mackay go head to head with National leader Bill English.

Mackay walked away with bragging rights and he is coming south to compete again in this year’s “Celebrity Shear Off”. . .

Farm groups back TPP deal as Australia, Japan issue new March deadline – Kelsey Johnson:

Canadian farm groups are doubling down on their support for the revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wants the multilateral trade deal finalized by March — with or without Canada and Mexico.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has been in negotiation since the United States pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last January. Eleven members nations are involved in the discussions, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and Canada.

During a state visit to Japan this week, Turnbull said Australia and Japan want the new agreement finalized and an agreement-in-principle signed by March, according to reports from The Australian Financial Review. . . 


Does mainstream media help or hinder farming?

January 23, 2018

Key findings from Nuffield Scholar, Anna Jones’ report Help or Hinder?  How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public were:

The urban/rural disconnect is real, more so in Western and urbanised societies, and both the media and farming industry are contributing to it.

Some mainstream media coverage is clouded by urban bias, knee-jerk distrust of agribusiness, failing to differentiate between campaigners and informers and an over-reliance on too few sources with an overt political agenda. There is a severe lack of agricultural specialism among general news journalists.

Farmers and industry are fuelling the disconnect through a lack of openness and transparency, disproportionate defensiveness in the face of legitimate challenge, disunity among farming sectors and a sense of ‘exceptionalism’ or entitlement to positive coverage.

The public debate and narrative around agriculture is being dominated by farming unions and lobbyists. Politics at an industry level is drowning out individuals at a farm level, contributing to more distrust.

Her full report is here.

Jones visited USA, Kenya, Denmark, Ireland, France and Belgium. Would her findings be very  different here?

New Zealand has some very good rural journalists in the print media including the Otago Daily Times’ Sally Rae; Stuff’s  Kate Taylor, Gerald  Piddock and Gerard Hutching; NZ Farming Weekly’s Neal Wallace, Annette Scott, Richard Rennie, Tim Fulton, Alan Williams; Pam Tipa and Nigel Malthus at Rural News and RNZ’s  Alexa Cook.

We also have a good variety of rural shows on radio and television.

Jamie Mackay does an excellent job of covering farming and wider rural issues on The Country as does Andy Thompson on The Muster.

Country Calendar seems to cover more lifestyle and alternative farmers now but still does very good work. Rural Delivery was always interesting but now it’s failed to get NZ on AIr funding probably won’t be back.

RNZ  has Country Life and its Friday night and early Saturday morning slots don’t matter so much when it’s easy to listen online at a time that suits better.

We are generally well served by rural media and rural journalists in general media.

The problem is other journalists outside rural media who don’t understand farming and wider rural issues.

They’re the ones who buy the anti-farming propaganda often wrapped in faux-green wrapping; the ones who pedal the emotion and don’t have the inclination or time to check the facts.

They’re the ones who serve farming and the wider rural community badly and undo much of the good rural media and journalists do.

 


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