Tumeke! rankings: homepaddock 21


The Tumeke! blogosphere rankings of New Zealand political and news blogs for June are on-line.

Homepaddock is at number 21 which is nearly 100 places better than May, the first month it registered.

The rankings are based on a formula which takes into account unique visits, incoming links, number of posts and comments.

In light of that I offer my thanks to Tim Selwyn who does the comprehensive ranking, the other blogers who link to Homepaddock, the people who visit and those who comment – even when you don’t agree with me I enjoy your contribution to the discussion.

Homepaddock was launched very quietly at the end of April, the first link to a post came from  The Hive three weeks later which took the number of daily visitors from around 40 to nearly 300. Readership dropped back a little, with peaks when others linked to posts and the highest number of daily visitors came early last month in the wake of a link from Kiwiblog. (which is number 1 in the rankings).

The blogs from which most traffic comes are Keeping Stock  and No Minister; and visitors often call after they’ve been at Inquiring Mind or Poneke.

The stats counter always registers overnight visitors, presumably either insomniacs in New Zealand or people who live in different time zones.

Whoever and wherever you are, thanks for popping in.

Nat’s tax cuts


National will keep the October tax cuts and bring in the second stage of it’s tax cut programme in April next year, if it becomes the government. It will introduce a third round of tax cuts in 2010.

Vernon Small reports:

Labour’s second round of tax cuts was not due to take effect till April 2010, but Mr Key said National would not ask taxpayers to wait another 18 months for the second cut.

“They have waited far too long already,” he said at the the opening of the party’s election year conference in Wellington this morning.

This announcement was, not surprisingly, met by applause from the 700 or so delegates, of which I am one.

They’re racing now…


The day is fine and the track’s firm for the Campaign Race Club’s triennial meeting.


The first race is the Information Steeplechase where Media by Free Speech out of The News will be hard to beat although Spin Doctor a gelding by My Version out of Selected Facts is expected to run well.


Fresh Scandal by Hypocrisy out of Greed is at short odds; Minor Diversion by The Opposition out of Glee made his mark in earlier races but will have to work hard to beat Party Policy, the stallion by Big Picture out of Philosophy.


Last to the starting gate is Democracy by The People out of Liberty. This horse is often under rated but has staying power.


They’re racing now and Minor Diversion and Fresh Scandal have shot away from Spin Doctor with Media on their tails. A length behind is Party Policy with Democracy at the rear. 


Over the first jump and Party Policy gained in the air so it’s Party Policy then Media a nose ahead of Minor Diversion. Fresh Scandal is struggling in the mud, Spin Doctor is trying hard but is finding it heavy going and Democracy is speeding up.


Round the bend they come and Party Policy running strongly with Media in second place, half a length back to Democracy then it’s Minor Diversion from Spin Doctor and Fresh Scandal has run out of steam.


They’re approaching the final hurdle now, Media’s putting in a great effort, neck and neck with Party Policy a good length ahead of Democracy. Spin Doctor is struggling, Minor Diversion is well back and Fresh Scandal brings up the rear.


Up the home straight now Democracy is making up lost ground  and as they cross the finish line it’s Democracy by a nose from Media with Party Policy in third.


Up, up, up for fert price


The price of superphosphate  is likely to increase to $700 a tonne according to Ballance Agrinutrients chair David Graham.

That would be a 218% increase in 18 months and a 49% rise since June.

A year ago, superphosphate was selling for about $220 a tonne, but Mr Graham said $700 a tonne was not unrealistic given soaring international prices.

Fertiliser is the biggest item on most farm budgets. The price is already putting a dent in the high dairy payout, it will be even worse for sheep and beef farmers even with the improved prices.

And those who think a drop in the value of the dollar is good for primary producers might want to consider the impact on the price of fertiliser.


Embedded water new hurdle


First it was food miles, now it’s the carbon footprint and soon it might be embedded water.

The NZ Farmers Weekly (not on line) warns that virtual or embedded water – the amount used to produce food – could be the next hurdle primary producers have to leap over for export markets.

…this is a natural extension of carbon footprint analysis, only more specific to New Zealand’s pasture and irrigation-based farming systems.

If we thought we were in trouble on our carbon footprint, consider what the bean-counters might make of our water use. It’s questionable how well placed New Zealand would be, for instance, if European Union food officials started routinely asking for an audit of our water use from farm to shipment or flight.

The push for livestock traceability would pale in comparison.

Fortunately judging by a Crop and Food Research project announced last week, agricultural scientists seem to have seen the threat coming. The Crown Reserach Institute aims to develop plants with much-imporved root systems that require less water, pesticides and fertiliser, enabling New Zealand to compete strongly in overseas markets where consumers are increasingly demanding “green” food products.

This project tagged “roots for sustainability” seems a natural response to farmer demands for cheaper and longer-lasting plant growth – and better profitability. But like so many forms of farming innovation, it can also be seen as a response to changing political and social trends.

Mainstream awareness of embedded water is unlikely to be far away and NZ would be in the spotlight because of its growing dependence on man-made irrigation schemes.

When the world is short of food there will be something amiss if we are penalised for using innovative techniques which boost production providing we use them efficiently and sustainably.

Hopefully Crop and Food research is correct in asserting that its project … will see more effective water, nutrient and pesticide use, with reduced nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions.

All of which have environmental and economic benefits.

To alternatively do little is to allow the concept of embedded water to leak into people’s way of thinking and for farmers’ reputations to again take a battering. If this latest environmental concept indeed sticks between people’s ears, agriculture will need to come up with quick answers and real solutions.

Pointing out that putting unnecessary hurdles in the way of producers inevitably leads to higher costs for consumers won’t do it. We need to be prepared to counter both the facts and the emotion this notion will generate.

Only one party can change the government


The latest Roy Morgan Poll  shows National at 47.5% support (down 4.5) Labour up 1.5 to 32.5 %; Greens up .5 to 6%; NZ First dropped 1.5 to 5%; Maori Party up 2 to 3%; Act up 2 to 2.5% and United Future dropped 0.5 to 0.5%

This is Act’s highest level of suppport since March 2007 and will reflect Rodney Hide’s strong attack on Winston Peters.

People who think voting for possible support partners for National will help it form the Government might want to remember that although there are no certainties with MMP, the party with the highest vote on election day will have the greatest mandate to lead the next government. So the best way to get Labour out is to vote for National.

Not convinced? Think back to 2002 – Act got 7.1% of the vote and 9 MPs, and we got a Labour-led government.

The only way to change the government is to ensure National has the most votes.

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