Rural round-up

19/05/2022

Drought in rural South Auckland pushing up food prices, growers say – Stephen Forbes:

Vegetable growers in Auckland’s rural south say drought conditions are playing havoc with their day-to-day operations and will only add to increased prices for consumers.

It follows the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) declaring the drought a “medium-scale adverse event” in south Auckland and the Waikato on Monday, along with a support package for affected farmers and growers.

South Auckland’s horticulture industry is centred on the Pukekohe Hub, 4359 hectares of some of New Zealand’s most fertile and productive land.

According to Auckland Council’s Climate Action Framework released in 2019 it generates $327 million a year, which is the equivalent of 26 percent of NZ’s total domestic value of vegetable production. . . 

Mass pig graves being dug as pig industry on point of collapse

Pig farmers say the industry is in crisis, with some fearing they’ll have to kill and dump animals as the pork market falls apart.

Mass imports at cheap prices, along with the pandemic fallout has seen demand for local products all but stop.

Pig farmer Hamish Mee and his wife Vicki are preparing for the worst.

An order for 219 pigs to leave their Methven farm on Sunday  . . 

Traditional German sausage stall stopping traffic in rural Taranaki – Robin Martin:

It has been dubbed the “little butchery in the middle of nowhere” – a traditional German sausage outlet that is stopping traffic in remote North Taranaki.

Bratwurst Bros has set up shop alongside State Highway 3 at Urutī – just under an hour’s drive from New Plymouth.

Urutī – population 800 – is less a settlement than a valley that offers motorists a rare opportunity to pass on this stretch of SH3.

Only about 2000 vehicles pass through on an average day. . . 

Boost for small towns as full calendar of shearing events planned – Kim Moodie:

Hopes are high for the return of competitive shearing events after two years of Covid-19 restrictions saw all but 14 events abandoned last season.

Organisers are confident they can go ahead with all 59 shearing sports competitions this season, which runs from October to April.

New Zealand shearing legend Sir David Fagan, who’s also the chairman of Shearing Sports NZ, said spots were also up for grabs to represent the country at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland next year.

“The places in the team up for grabs are two machine shearers, blades shearers and two woolhandlers in the Wools of New Zealand team,” he said. . . 

Kiwi milk company calls for the government to rethink recycling plan :

A New Zealand milk producer is calling for the Government to standardise kerbside recycling across the country, while sparing thousands of tonnes of packaging from going to landfill.

Otis, the New Zealand oat milk producer, says currently what is accepted for recycling in Hamilton is different to Dunedin, or Invercargill, Auckland or Wellington. The business says standardisation will provide greater clarity to New Zealanders and increase recycling habits.

The Kiwi start-up highlights most plant-based milks like Otis are packaged in Liquid Paper board packaging (LPB, commonly known as Tetra Pak) which has been excluded from the Government’s proposed kerbside recycling plan despite being shown to be the lowest carbon packaging option available, and capable of being made completely free of fossil fuels.

Hayley Pardoe, Otis head of marketing and sustainability, believes the Government’s recycling proposal needs to set the course for how we manage packaging resources through our economy for the coming next decades, yet some of the plan is at odds with the low carbon, circular future that New Zealanders are demanding. . . 

 


Winston Churchill’s wisdom

19/05/2022


3/10

19/05/2022

Oh dear, worse than a chimp rolling a dice –  only 3/10 in the Spinoff’s Budget history quiz.

 


People don’t want big spend up

19/05/2022

A Curia poll for the Taxpayers’ Union shows most people don’t want the government to increase its spending.

Given the current levels of inflation, do you think the Government should continue to
increase overall spending in this year’s budget, or keep it about the same?

. . . Should Govt increase spending or keep the same:
Increase spending 152 15%
Keep it the same 643 65%
Unsure 200 20%
Total 995 100%

Only 15% of respondents wants overall spending in the Budget to increase compared to 65%
who want it to stay at current levels, with 20% unsure. . . 

Only 27% of Labour and Green voters wants the Government to increase spending while
inflation is high. Of undecided voters only 8% want an increase in spending.

Net support for increasing spending by party is:
1. Greens -21%
2. Labour -25%
3. Undecideds -61%
4. National -70%
5. ACT -76%

The public is more concerned about inflation and the deteriorating state of the economy than the government which is planning to announce plans for big spending in today’s Budget.

The only cause for optimism is that the government is much better at announcing and planning to plan than doing.

This could mean most of the spending won’t have been undertaken before next year’s election when voters will have a stark choice between the old high spending government and a new one that understands the importance of reducing the burden of the state to help individuals and businesses get ahead.


Word of the day

18/05/2022

Queclarative – an utterance that has the form of a question but the force of a statement; a declarative statement or opinion expressed as a question.


Sowell says

18/05/2022


Rural round-up

18/05/2022

Dairy event will be all about change – Sally Rae:

Dynamic.

That is the theme of the South Island’s largest dairy event, SIDE 2022, which is being held in Oamaru on June 8-9.

It was the first time the event had been held in the town and it was expected to attract more than 350 farmers, rural professionals and sponsors.

Event committee member Rebecca Finlay, who came up with the theme, said dairy farmers needed to be dynamic — they could not be stuck in their ways.

There was constant change as they dealt with the likes of new compliance and regulations and they had to be agile and responsive to that change. . .

Exile on Main Street – Neal Wallace:

This week, Farmers Weekly journalists Richard Rennie and Neal Wallace investigate how two different districts, Opotiki and Gore, are trying to encourage new workers and address an ageing workforce while facing a static or falling population.

New Zealand’s rural-led economic recovery is being hamstrung by a shortage of working-age staff, an inability to retain people and intergenerational social issues.

Some rural districts already struggling for staff face even greater labour challenges in the coming years if demographic predictions proved accurate.

Work by retired University of Waikato demography professor Dr Natalie Jackson, is forecasting that in the next decade 75% of the country’s regional authorities will experience a decline in their working age population as young people either leave for bigger urban centres or are not being born. . . .

The ag-sector’s Budget 2022 wish list is for science – Business Desk:

If increasing productivity is the name of the government’s game, then the agriculture sector’s wish list for budget 2022 is all about science. 

The farming sector helped bankroll the economy through covid-19, generating 30% of the country’s export income at a time when sectors like tourism were at a standstill.

Rather than being rewarded, however, the sector is under immense pressure from rising costs, scarce labour and, increasingly, regulation and compliance.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find a farmer who doesn’t want to increase productivity and farm for better environmental outcomes but – across the board – they want more research and development to help them get there. . .

A sick joke – Rural News:

When the Covid pandemic broke out over two years ago, Jacinda Ardern waxed lyrical about the importance of the rural-based primary sector and how it would pull the NZ economy through the tough times ahead.

It has delivered on that with interest.

The sector has come together like never before, from workers on farms, in orchards and processing plants – not to mention the marketers and managers who have got our product to market on time and at good prices.

However, it’s come at a price: people in rural NZ are fatigued and are having to cope with the additional burden of a bundle of stressful compliance. . . 

All hands on deck – Peter Burke:

Growers are mucking in and helping staff to pick this year’s kiwifruit crop. At this point, the Ruby Red variety has all been picked and about a third of the gold crop has also been harvested, with workers now starting to pick the green crop.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Colin Bond told Hort News that everyone in the industry is working together to ensure the crop gets picked this season.

He says many growers themselves have been out in the orchards with the picking crew and also helping out in pack houses.

Bond says there have been instances of staff who normally just pick the fruit, doing shifts in the pack houses on wet days when it’s not possible to pick fruit. . . .

2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award winner taking all opportunities:

For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

The 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year is driven, inspirational and a great example of a farmer who is taking every opportunity the New Zealand dairy industry offers.

Will Green was named the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, the region’s Jaspal Singh became the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday, in front of more than 540 people, making it the largest dinner to be held at the new venue since opening. . . 

Fonterra responsible dairying award winner lead change through innovation :

Craigmore Farming Services, Canterbury/North Otago were named the 2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners during the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday night and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

 The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

“It was a privilege to engage with all three finalists and the quality of the presentations was exceptional,” says head judge Conall Buchanan.

Fellow judge Charlotte Rutherford from Fonterra, agrees. “The future of the industry feels in such good hands when you are able to spend time with people like our finalists.” . . 


Winston Churchill’s wisdom

18/05/2022


Sowell says

17/05/2022


Rural round-up

17/05/2022

Farmers overwhelmed by new regs – Peter Burke:

Farmers are getting overwhelmed by all the new regulations and compliance requirements they are facing now and in the future.

Leading farm consultant Phil Journeaux, of AgFirst, told Rural News that farming is a complicated enough business as it is. But he says the compliance cost on farm – in terms of time and paperwork – is growing rapidly and with the advent of all the water, animal welfare and labour regulations, the pressure is on farmers.

“I have been doing a lot of work in the last few years around greenhouse gas emissions, which is very complicated and this has yet to really hit farmers,” Journeaux explains.

“I don’t think they (farmers) understand how much paperwork and compliance they will be required to do. This whole compliance thing is becoming a really big component of farming and that’s why a lot of farmers are reaching for advisors to help them work it through.” . . 

New regulations compel consents for 2023 crops – Richard Rennie:

As many farmers grapple with a looming feed crisis this winter, planning for next winter may also demand attention sooner rather than later with changes in the winter grazing regulations effective from November 1.

The revised intensive winter grazing (IWG) regulations finalised last month may require some farmers to apply for resource consent to winter graze crops on their farm and timelines are getting tight to ensure consent is granted before crops are sown.

AgFirst director of farm consulting James Allen says time can run surprisingly short for a feed supply that is not needed for another 12 months, once resource consent application processes are factored in.

“Basically, a resource consent is required if you are looking at a new wintering programme, there are a series of conditions you have to meet and it’s likely it will take time to ensure you meet them.” . . 

‘Red wave’ sweeps national dairy awards – Sudesh Kissun:

A red wave swept through the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards last night.

And the 2022 Share Farmer of the Year Will Green rightly pointed out in his acceptance speech that red wave wasn’t about the Labour Party but Canterbury. For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/North Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

Joining Green on the podium last night, Jaspal Singh, the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000. . . 

All hands to the vine for harvest – Ashley Smyth :

A warm, dry autumn has been the saving grace for winegrowers in the Waitaki this season.

Harvest was in full swing in the Waitaki Valley this week, and it had been an ‘‘atypical’’ season for the region, new Waitaki Valley Winegrowers Association chairman Dave Sutton said.

‘‘It’s been more of a La Nina rain pattern this year, which has meant a lot of easterly rainfall, so a lot of the winegrowing regions on the East Coast — for example Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Waiheke Island — they’ve seen a lot more rainfall.

‘‘Things were looking a little bit grim, but we’ve had a beautiful ripening period, late, and it’s actually saved the vintage, I think. . . 

Calmer farming through pressure and change :

A new online programme – Know your Mindset. Do what Matters – is boosting the ability of rural communities to handle pressure and change. Dairy farmer Matt Goodwin discusses how it’s helped him.

Matt Goodwin has plenty on his plate. 

He oversees not just one farm, but two – the family’s South Canterbury dairy operation comprises a 600-cow farm and a 300-cow farm. 

It’s a big job, but Matt loves dairying.  . . 

Glass ceiling obliterated by Taupō dairy farm managers – Rachel Canning:

Three Taupō women are proving their doubters wrong as they prepare for their first season as managers of dairy farms.

The trio will each manage Pāmu Farms dairy farms located just out of Taupō.

When they started out, two had never set foot on a dairy farm and one grew up on a sheep and beef farm. One had family members who doubted she would cope with the mud, the stink, and hours outside in the cold.

Resolution Dairy Unit manager Mona Cable, Quarry Dairy Unit manager Liza Arnold and Burgess Dairy Unit manager Carol Cuttance have worked their way up from the bottom, spent time “riding the train” while their children were young, taken up study opportunities to learn about milking and effluent management systems, and all three say they still experience moments of self-doubt. . . 

 


Winston Churchill’s wisdom

17/05/2022


Redpeace hates cows

17/05/2022

When raging inflation and high debt requires the government to spend every cent wisely, its Emissions Reduction Plan falls short:

National supports the Government’s emissions budgets and emissions targets but is concerned that today’s Emissions Reduction Plan is a poor use of taxpayers’ money, says Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“We support the goal of reducing emissions in the economy, but see little evidence that this Government will be able to deliver.

“Too much of the new spending will go to corporate welfare and more working groups.

“The Government is proposing to give hundreds of millions of dollars to companies for investments they should be making anyway.

“We expect those companies to be cutting their emissions without help from taxpayers. A significant part of the Government’s plan looks like a corporate carbon bailout.

“There are elements of the plan that we welcome, including investment in research to reduce agriculture emissions and in expanding options for carbons sinks including native forests and blue carbon.

“However, much of the plan lacks the details we would expect to see after more than two years of work.

“This plan is classic Labour. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, Grant Robertson’s big idea is to spend millions of dollars for more consultants, more working groups, and poorly focused initiatives, with no real milestones for success.

“It is disappointing to see poor quality spending and corporate welfare at a time when New Zealanders’ back pockets are hurting and they want assurance their money is being carefully spent.

“Today’s plan will only add to the perception that this Government talks a big game but does not deliver – whether for the climate or housing or mental health or anything else.”

The Taxpayers’ Union makes a similar point about misspending:

James Shaw is exploiting the commentariat’s failure to understand the Emissions Trading Scheme in order to justify costly middle class welfare and handouts for big business, says Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.

On cash for clunkers:

“This is brazen middle class welfare dressed up as climate action,” says Mr Houlbrooke. “Giving a fat cash enticement for New Zealanders to switch to electric vehicles is unlikely to benefit poorer households, who will not be in the market for an electric vehicle (even a subsidised one). In fact, scrapping used cars will drive up costs for the poor due to reduced supply in the used market.”

“When this policy was tried in the US, it mainly ended up subsidising purchases that would have happened anyway.”

On corporate welfare:

“Shaw has announced he’s sloshing another $650 million into the ‘decarbonising industry’ corporate welfare fund. This is the pot of money that has seen millions handed over to the likes of Silver Fern Farms, ANZCO, and DB Breweries so that they can upgrade their heating systems. Smaller competitors never seem to get a look in. Regardless, as we have previously pointed out, the funding is redundant: based on the Government’s own numbers, big businesses already have a strong enough incentive to replace boilers and avoid ETS levies.”

Handouts from the GIDI fund so far can be browsed here: Round 1Round 2Round 3.

On the elephant in the room:

“The vast majority of interventions announced today will fail to reduce emissions. That’s because, outside of agriculture, New Zealand’s emissions are capped and traded under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Interventions to force down emissions in say, transport, merely free up carbon credits to be burnt in other sectors.”

“As the United Nations’ IPCC put it: if a cap-and- trade system has a sufficiently stringent cap then other policies such as renewable subsidies have no further impact on total greenhouse emissions. Why does James Shaw think he knows better than the UN’s international climate experts? Of course, simply using the ETS to efficiently reduce emissions would make for fewer announcements and fewer photo-ops with schoolkids, cycleways, and electric vehicles.”

Once again the government shows it doesn’t understand the ETS and the waterbed effect of reductions of emissions in one area allowing increases in another for no net improvement.

However, there is some good in the Emissions Reduction Plan:

Federated Farmers is pleased the government has recognised solutions to agricultural emissions lie in new technologies and tools, and is stepping up investment on that front.

“Nitrate and methane inhibitors, gene editing, animals bred for their lower methane ‘burping’ – they’re the kind of advances that will enable New Zealand’s farming sector to continue to perform for the nation’s economy while maintaining our world-leading meat and dairy carbon footprint,” Feds President and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

It will be important to understand how the proposed new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions fits with existing bodies such as the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, the Pastoral GHG Research Consortium (PGGRC) and the international bodies New Zealand partners with, such as the Global Research Alliance.

“New Zealand farmers have been funding millions of dollars into greenhouse gas mitigation tools since 2003 via the PGGRC,” Andrew said.

Do we need another organisation when all of these are already doing good work?

It will also be crucial that our regulatory framework is worked on at the same time as acceleration of research and commercialisation of these tools “so that when they’re ready, we can get on with using them.

“At present there is no category to register feed inhibitors for use on our farms, for example,” Andrew said.

“And Feds again make the point we’ve made many times previously – serious investigation and society-wide discussion is needed on the role genetic technologies – particular gene editing – can play in the thorny environmental issues confronting us. Feds supports giving food producers and consumers the choice with gene editing technology.

“If we are not open to all solutions, we risk losing our world-leading emissions footprint as other countries embrace the innovation we are ignoring.”

Andrew said those who continue to claim the answer lies in just cutting fertiliser and going totally organic need to look at what has just happened in Sri Lanka. “That’s the short-sighted path that nation’s government pursued and now they’re in a food and economic crisis they’re desperate to reverse and get back to where they were.”

That short-sighted path is the one that GreenRedpeace wants:

Greenpeace has dubbed the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan an ‘Omissions Ridiculous Plan’, for its failure to address New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter – the dairy industry.

Lead agriculture campaigner Christine Rose says, “Intensive dairying is the number one cause of climate pollution in Aotearoa, so it’s absolutely staggering to see that the Emissions Reduction Plan fails to include policy that would reduce cow numbers or phase out the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser that drives emissions.””This Emissions Reduction plan is not credible because it fails to deal with the dirty great cow in the room – New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter – intensive dairy,” says Rose.

Where’s the evidence that cows are the number one cause of climate pollution. Does Redpeace understand the difference between methane and CO2?

Despite initial Climate Commission recommendations that New Zealand needed to reduce the livestock herd and area farmed, the Government has not included these policies in the plan. Other nations have been taking such steps, including the Netherlands which plans to cut the herd by 30% by 2030.

The Netherlands aren’t nearly as efficient at producing milk as we are, nor is dairying such a big part of their economy.

The Government’s projections show the ERP will reduce agricultural emissions by as little as 0.33 Mt CO2e over the 2022-2025 period which is less than 1% of the industry’s projected emissions.

The ERP’s approach to agriculture relies heavily on industry self-regulation – through He Waka Eke Noa – which is also expected to reduce emissions by only 1%.

“Instead of just cutting cow numbers, the Government is relying on industry promises, hypothetical, and unproven techno-fixes to agricultural emissions, and the freshwater reforms that the dairy industry is undermining at every step,” says Rose.

The Emissions Reduction Plan gifts $710 million to the agricultural industry – a quarter of the entire Climate Emergency Response Fund which it has not contributed towards.

“Despite the climate emergency, industrial dairy has yet again been given a free pass that now comes with a huge subsidy from the rest of New Zealand.

“This is a kick in the guts for New Zealanders who are effectively subsidising the intensive dairy industry due to the industry’s exemption from the ETS.

“To truly deal with the climate crisis the Government needs a far better plan than they have produced today. A plan that cuts cow numbers, phases out synthetic fertiliser and drives the transition to more plant-based regenerative organic farming,” says Rose. 

Can Redpeace present any reputable science backing their prescription as being both better for the environment and sustainable?

How expensive does Redpeace want food to become?

How much a reduction in export income and consequent reduction in living standards does Redpeace think is acceptable?

The organisation probably hasn’t considered those questions and wouldn’t be interested in the answers.

The diatribe above shows, it simply hates cows, doesn’t care that fewer cows here would lead to more cows elsewhere, where production is much less efficient, and has no idea that the high social and economic costs of its policy would do little for emissions here and lead to an increase globally.


Word of the day

16/05/2022

Aerumnous – full of trouble.


Sowell says

16/05/2022


Rural round-up

16/05/2022

Government Bill ends high country farming as we know it :

The Labour Government has concluded its campaign to end generations of thoughtful stewardship of the South Island’s high country, National’s spokesperson for Land Information Nicola Grigg says.

“Today’s passing of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill effectively ends a decades-old relationship between the Crown and high country pastoral leaseholders.

“The Bill states its purpose as ‘maintaining or enhancing inherent values across the Crown pastoral estate’, and it will, instead, have the opposite effect.

“These leaseholders have been effective custodians of this land for generations, but the Government will now impose a punitive regime devoid of any knowledge of practical implementation and will see environmental outcomes worsen rather than improve. . . 

India bans wheat exports as heatwave hurts crop, domestic prices soar – Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj:

India has today banned wheat exports, just days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year, as a scorching heatwave curtails output and domestic prices soar to an all-time high.

The government said it would still allow exports backed by letters of credit already issued, and to those countries that requested supplies “to meet their food security needs”.

Global buyers were banking on supplies from the world’s second-biggest wheat producer after exports from the Black Sea region plunged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Prior to the ban, India had aimed to ship a record 10 million tonnes this year.

The ban could drive global prices to new peaks and hit poor consumers in Asia and Africa. . . 

Can-do approach keeps garage going – Sally Rae:

In the sleepy North Otago township of Duntroon lives a couple who have overcome massive obstacles to continue to operate a business in their much-loved community. Business editor Sally Rae reports.

There’s a quote written in chalk on the blackboard outside the Duntroon Garage.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” it tells visitors to the rural business in heartland North Otago.

Inspirational quotes might be a dime a dozen but this one is no twee slogan — it is the perfect summation of the unassuming couple behind the business, for whom the term inspirational seems strangely inadequate. . .

DCANZ welcomes New Zealand Action to Fix Canada dairy import system :

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand ( DCANZ) is welcoming the announcement today that New Zealand has invoked dispute settlement proceedings with Canada over the implementation of its dairy obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Canada has adopted an approach to administering CPTPP quotas which breaks the rules of the agreement and has severely restricted use of the limited market access,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.

“Trade agreements are only as good as their implementation. We fully support the New Zealand Government in taking this step to ensure the rules are enforced and the agreed access is usable.”

Canada is a highly protected market for dairy products with tariffs as high as 300%. CPTPP outcomes for access to the Canadian dairy market were limited to a series of reduced tariff rate quotas, and the administration system Canada has put in place for these quotas has seen the right to import primarily given to domestic processors who are direct competitors to New Zealand exporters of those products. This has resulted in pitifully low quota fill rates averaging just 8% in the latest quota year. . . 

Vegetable prices stabilising as growers begin to meet demand – industry body :

There are signs fresh vegetable prices are stabilising as winter nears, with growers responding to supply issues, an industry player says.

Food prices have continued to rise, with a perfect storm of Covid-19 related supply chain issues, inflation, a war in Europe and sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as bad weather, all contributing to consumer pain.

But vegetable supplies throughout winter are expected to be good and the prices stable, according to Vegetables New Zealand chairperson John Murphy.

Murphy, a Blenheim-based grower of garlic and shallots, told Morning Report growers had struggled lately, had responded to supply and demand issues that have saw supermarket chains bump up prices. . . 

Successful rural resilience programmes receive MPI funding boost  :

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has renewed funding for two successful programmes training farmers, growers and other rural people to manage pressure and adapt to change.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) has been allocated $339,000 to expand its popular ‘Know Your Mindset. Do What Matters’ and ‘Our Resilient Farming Business’ programmes.

Piloted across 2020 and 2021, the programmes have already supported more than 300 rural women and men to better manage stress, prioritise wellbeing, and cultivate financial resilience in the face of change.

“Disruptions and supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the many challenges facing farmers, growers and whenua Māori owners,” MPI’s acting director of rural communities and farming support Andrew Spelman said. . . 


The case against meddling with GST

16/05/2022

The steep increase in the price of food has led to inevitable calls to exempt at least some foods from GST.

Good tax is oxymoronic but simple taxes are better taxes and GST is simple.

Australia’s isn’t and here’s a good argument for not following them by complicating ours:


Less for more

16/05/2022

Getting less while spending more money is a disturbing feature of the government and its agencies:

There’s the eye-watering $1.9 billion for mental health:

National’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Spokesperson Matt Doocey has written to the Auditor-General to request an investigation into why the $1.9 billion the Government allocated to mental health has not resulted in any material improvements in mental health outcomes.

“The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission’s damning report released last month found that improvements in mental health have not materialised under Labour despite the $1.9 billion of extra funding, with little change in access and wait times for mental health and addiction services. . . 

Then there’s Waka Kotahi:

The Government has been on a spin doctor hiring spree, with the number of communications staff at NZTA more than doubling in four years, National’s Transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Labour is all spin and no delivery. They can’t get things done so they rely on spin doctors to try to cover up their failures in transport, wasting taxpayer money on doubling NZTA’s comms team rather than upgrading roads.

“The number of comms staff at NZTA has ballooned to the equivalent of 88 full-time staff in 2020/21, up from just over 32 full-time staff in 2016/17.

“The amount of money being spent on these spin doctors is eye-watering. Comms staff earning over $100,000 a year has increased almost 10-fold under Labour, from the equivalent of 6.6 full-time staff to almost 65.

“It doesn’t end there. Despite more than doubling the number of full-time comms staff, the Government is billing taxpayers over $75 million a year for consultants. That’s up from $31 million in 2016/17.

“In fact, NZTA spent almost as much on consultants as on construction for the NZ Upgrade Programme between 2019 and March 2022. During that time, $145 million was spent on consultants compared to $202 million on construction.  

“Labour has created a culture that is tolerant of wasteful spending. This is taxpayer money that would be better spent on building better roads and upgrading our transport infrastructure. . . 

All those consultants and extra staff and all the extra money they cost, yet the agency still produces an advertisement that shows a driver swerving to avoid a possum, contrary to the safety advice that drivers shouldn’t try to avoid a small animal.

All those consultants and extra staff and all extra the money they cost and the agency is substituting lower speed limits instead of the work needed to make roads safer.

All those consultants and extra staff, costing more and delivering less.

Immigration NZ is also guilty of  doing less with more money:

The Government has hired over 500 more staff at Immigration New Zealand since 2017 yet visa processing times have exploded, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Labour has been on a bureaucrat hiring spree since they came into Government, but still can’t deliver better outcomes for New Zealand.

“The number of office staff at Immigration New Zealand has gone from 1357 in 2017 to 1879 in March 2022 and the Minister has increased spending by $150 million.

“Yet there were 100 fewer staffers employed to process visa applications in that time, and the processing time for a visitor visa application has blown out from 21 days in 2017 to five months in 2022.

“So the Government has delivered more bureaucrats to Immigration New Zealand and wasted more taxpayer money, for worse outcomes.

“Labour simply cannot get things done. It’s not enough to just make the announcement, spray the cash, hire more public servants and walk away.

“With the border set to reopen in just over eight weeks, more visa applications will come flooding in to add to the major backlog we already have.

“They’ve made their big announcement about opening the border, but exactly how they’re going to process visas and get people into the country, which we desperately need, remains to be seen.” 

This waste would be bad at the best of times, it’s even worse when inflation is raging.

A good government would be aiming to get more for less, instead ours is accomplishing less and spending more.


Word of the day

15/05/2022

Queeving – the slow bending back and forth of treetops in the wind.


Milne muses

15/05/2022


Kosmos

15/05/2022

KOSMOS
by Walt Whitman

Who includes diversity and is Nature,
Who is the amplitude of the earth, and the coarseness and sexuality of the earth, and the great charity of the earth and the equilibrium also,
Who has not look’d forth from the windows the eyes for nothing, or whose brain held audience with messengers for nothing,
Who contains believers and disbelievers, who is the most majestic lover,
Who holds duly his or her triune proportion of realism, spiritualism, and of the aesthetic or intellectual,
Who having consider’d the body finds all its organs and parts good,
Who, out of the theory of the earth and of his or her body understands by subtle analogies all other theories,
The theory of a city, a poem, and of the large politics of these States;
Who believes not only in our globe with its sun and moon, but in other globes with their suns and moons,
Who, constructing the house of himself or herself, not for a day but for all time, sees races, eras, dates, generations,
The past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.

Hat tip: The Marginalian


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