Cows gatecrash stag party


A stag party came to an abrupt halt when a van the blokes were travelling in crashed into a herd of cattle on the road between Waikouaiti and Waitati.

Police say it appears the cattle got on to the road through an open gate.

No-one’s saying how the gate came to be open but tresspassers deliberately or accidentally leaving gates open is an on-going problem for farmers.

However,  large animals can get on to the road without using gates.

My farmer and a friend had an unexpected encounter with a stag – of the four legged kind – on the same stretch of road several years ago.

It leapt off a bank in front of them and ended up with its head through the windscreen. It died on impact and the car was a write-off. But neither of the men was seriously injured and while shaken, both were sufficiently composed to note it was a wild stag not a farmed one.

PGW visiting SFF tomorrow?


The grapevine suggests that Craig Norgate will be visiting SIlver Fern Farms in Dunedin tomorrow and is not expected to have the finance that would enable PGG Wrightson to take a 50% stake in the company.

This doesn’t mean Norgate is giving up on his plans for getting in to the meat industry, it’s possible he’ll have other options for discussion.

They didn’t do it this term


Peter Dunne says United Future will keep the next government honest.

As Fairfacts Media at No Minister pointed out, they didn’t do a very good job this term.

And apropos of being honest – have they repaid all the money they owe us from the over-spend at the last election yet?

Good policy doesn’t come in sound bites


A lot of the criticism of the economic package National annoucned this week has been rooted in what’s-in-it-for-me?

But, as Bill English said on Agenda today, good government is about much more than that:

 . . . I think there’s a misjudgement where people are looking for nice sounding ideas but our job is the prudent and responsible management of incentives and the prospects for growth across the board and that’s why much as people don’t regard it as sexy. Further investment in infrastructure doing more sooner affects every single business every single household and that’s why we’ve given ourselves the room to do it. Labour say it’s reckless, we don’t, we believe it’s vital and actually it’ll help soak up a lot of the unemployment that’s coming out of the construction sector which is – you know parts of which have just simply gone dead. Another pervasive policy here is around regulation, we’ve developed these complicated overlays of regulation from good times under a government who thought there was a rule for everything.

. . . It’s simply not good enough to say these things done matter, they do, they affect every single business and some rinky dink scheme that might sound good on the news isn’t going to help the business who is dealing with the challenges of the Building Act, the Resource Management Act, you know the rules that have got as silly as telling us what kind of shower heads we can have in our homes.

He also spoke about the importance of growth.

Well we’re not comfortable with the opening of the books and bear in mind they were opened last Monday we produced a package on Wednesday and as we said then we’d made a start which is a lot better than our political opponents who have known about this for months, accused National of being reckless for proposing a bit of borrowing and then turn up with a 50% increase in government borrowing, I mean how can you trust people like that? So we’ve made a start, if we become the government we would want to pull those deficits back, but I have to say from the history of governments coming out of government books and recessions the thing that has the most impact on the government’s books is actually the rate of growth coming out of the recession, and the Treasury forecasts around that aren’t that good and we would need to work hard to lift that rate of growth because that is the thing that’ll have the most impact alongside controlling government expenditure.

The full transcript of the interview is here.

You don’t see this in a gym


On cold wet mornings, there’s not a lot to recommend walking round the farm as an exercise.

But on a sunny spring day it comes with bonuses such as this:

Fonterra responds on ethics


Last week’s NBR led with a story linking the disbanding of Fonterra’s ethics committee with the San Lu crisis and I commented on it here.

The comapny’s CEO Andrew Ferrier responded to the NBR with a letter to the editor this week saying the story was without foundation.

It’s not on line so here’s an abridged copy:

The suggestion that Fonterra has become a less ethical organisation under my leadership is outrageous and I reject it utterly. There is simply no factual basis for this story. . .

The article was entirely based on observations by the former external chairman of our internal ethics committee, Dr Simon Longstaff.

. . . As management and staff at Fonterra can verify, integrity and ethics are absolutely at the core of Fonterra’s way of working and corporate values and of my management style.

It was my decision . . . to disband the committee in the form that it was because I wanted to elevate ehtical considerations to the highest level of management under my personal direction.

Ethics has to be instilled and driven through an organisation from the very top and should not be the responsiblity of a middle and lower level management sub group.

. . . My and Fonterra’s every action in handling the San Lu crisis has been driven at all times by the highest ethical considerations. . . Fonterra’s sole priority was the health and safety of Chinese consumers and taking every practical step within the constraints of the Chinese system to protect them. . .

I have no questions over Fonterra’s ethics and agree with the importance of instilling ethics through an organisation rather than regarding them as an adjunct.

My concern is that Fonterra’s very high standards did not seem to be shared by San Lu in which it had a 43% investment.

Neither company can be blamed for the melamine poisoning which was an act of sabotage. But had the ethics and quality standards which Fonterra requires in every link of the production chain in New Zealand been required by San Lu in China the contamination would almost certainly have been picked up before anyone’s health was put at risk.

The company has learned the hard way about the difficulty of investing in other countries whose systems and standards are so different from ours. But the real test will be what it does now to ensure its standards are met everywhere it operates and that may mean it has to have a majority share in any overseas investments.

yet another excuse for work avoidance


John Ansell has joined the blogospehre.

If you don’t need a witty and provocative excuse for work avoidance, you’re better not to go there.

Hat tip: Kiwiblog

Outlook stormy


Head to head on Eye to Eye


It’s a sad commentary on the importance of current affairs in the intellectual wasteland of television that Agenda and Eye to Eye are lost in the programming no man’s land of Sunday morning.

But this morning’s Eye to Eye is a head to head between Matthew Hooton and Winston Peters which will get an audience in spite of when it’s screened.

Roarprawn has the background part 1 here, part II here and part III here.

Matthew Hooton tells his story here.

And the NZ Herald says the temperature got so high during filming that recording was stopped and a lwayer was called in.

Poor shower power bad for mental health


Power-shower lovers of the world unite – science is on our side.

There’s a mathmetical formula for the perfect shower.

The balance of privacy, pressure, time and temperature in the shower all need to be carefully moderated to create the perfect shower experience, according to Mindlab International.  

The team led by neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis developed the formula for Cheltenham-based manufacturers Mira Showers

. . . Dr Lewis said: “Creating the optimum shower is no easy feat, but a worthwhile endeavour. It offers psychological benefits; by varying the temperature of the water and the power of the jets, relaxation or stimulation can be aided.

 “Endorphins are then released in the brain to make our mood more positive and feel energised.

 “Also, because our skin contains a thousand nerve endings per square inch, creating the perfect shower to stand under is crucial in creating intense and extremely pleasurable physical sensations.

 “As an added bonus, showers generate negative ions that also have an uplifting effect on mood, so help to further reduce stress, wash away frustrations and dissolve muscle tension.”

All this and you smell sweeter too.

The shower formula took into consideration the following seven essential elements: water pressure, environmental conditions, privacy factor, time length of shower, temperature of shower in degrees Celsius, fixture type and spray pattern.

As goNZofreakpower (who led me to this story) says:

. . .  there’s a good likelihood that 6 litres per minute water pressure could lead to psychological impairment and unwarranted levels of stress. Who knows, maybe low pressure showers might even be a form of child abuse!

But there might be some good news in the bad news of the shower power story because it could be the one to wash away nanny state.

It’s been a watershed for Kerre Woodham:

. . . But to hear that the Department of Building and Housing is to regulate the water pressure of my shower is a step too far. As of February, the maximum allowable flow rate in new homes or renovated bathrooms will be six litres a minute. At present, most showers run at 16 or more litres a minute.

Oh, they tried to soft-soap us and tell us we wouldn’t know the difference – but if there’s one thing I regard as sacrosanct, it’s my ablutions.

. . .  And when it comes to showering, being blasted by a spray of water with the strength of a water cannon is to know one of the blessings of living in the First World. I’ve had lesser showers before, showers where they’ve tried to make up for the lack of water by increasing the force, and it’s like showering in needles. Starting the day doing a St Sebastian is not something I recommend.

 . . .  But do you know what galls me beyond belief? I cannot believe I have to justify my desire for a good strong shower! I cannot believe I have to make a case for having the water pressure of my shower the way I like it. It’s all alarmingly Jesuit. Cold, dribbling showers are only a step away from hair shirts and daily thrashings – all because we have the temerity to have bettered ourselves. Bloody Greens.

I blame myself. Other people saw this level of legislation coming and were shouting warnings years ago. I had my head in the sand. I thought people were being alarmist, or over-reacting, or just a bit one-eyed in their political thinking.

But oh no. They were right and I was wrong. I still don’t know who I’ll vote for this election, but Nick Smith may have won me over with his robust defence of the right to shower in peace. Praise John Key and pass the blue rinse.

 Keeping Stock is similarly steamed up.

Bureaucrats ban barbed wire


A gardener has been forced to take down the barbed wire he put round his vegetable patch to deter thieves and vandals because the bureaucrats are concerned the intruders might hurt themselves.

Bill Malcolm erected the 3ft fence after thieves struck three times in just four months, stealing tools worth around £300 from his shed and ransacking his vegetable patch.

But Bromsgrove district council has ordered the 61-year-old to remove the waist-high fence on health and safety grounds.

. . . A spokesman for Bromsgrove council said: ‘With regard to the barbed wire, when this is identified on site, we are obliged to request its removal or remove it on health and safety grounds.’

Now we know what a brick wall would sound like if it could speak.

27 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and last night’s opening addresses of the wee parties support the case against public funding of political parties.

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