This Friday’s poem is Calling You Home, read by the poet Helen Rickerby.
It’s a day late, but my happy birthday to Plunket which was founded on May 14th 1907, is no less sincere for that.
I was invited to my first Plunket sub-branch meeting when I was only just in maternity clothes. Like most other women in the district I became a member, served on the committee and then stayed on long after my children were no longer eligible for Plunket services.
The sub-branch raised funds to support the work of Plunket nurses, it was a social outlet and also provided support for members.
When our first baby was born the Plunket nurse was a neighbour, living only a little over a kilometre away and while I never needed to call her in an emergency, it was reassuring with a first baby, and one born six weeks early, to know there was a professional so close.
She moved when the baby was just over a year old and another nurse looked after our second and third babies who had brain disorders.
I can’t overstate how supportive she was. She continued making what she called love visits to the third baby long after the official quota of home calls was used up. Only in hindsight do I understand she wasn’t just keeping an eye on him, she was also looking out for his older sister and making sure I was coping.
You don’t have to have babies with problems to appreciate Plunket services. I don’t know any parent who didn’t value the help and advice they got and the home visits are an important part of that.
Every now and then someone wanting to save money suggests changes to the universal home visits, but the universal visits are an integral part of Plunket’s strength.
Going into homes allows nurses to see where the baby lives and notice things that wouldn’t be obvious in a clinic visit.
Equally important, going in to every home means there is no stigma about the visits and because of that the Plunket car outside a house is welcomed where a Public Health nurse’s car might not be.
Plunket has performed an invaluable service for babies and their parents for 102 years and it is needed just as much now as when it was founded.
Roger Hall was commissioned to write a play for Plunket’s 100th birthday. I recommend Who Needs Sleep Anyway to anyone who’s had a baby or even been a baby.
Agriculture Minister David Carter is questioning Fish & Game’s leadership after its failed attempt to gain public access to pastoral lease land.
“I seriously question the use of hunting and fishing licensing fees in taking this action, and I will be discussing this further with the Minister of Conservation.
“I am concerned this divisive action was taken when there was no foundation for Fish and Game’s claim for greater public access to high country stations.
“A pastoral lease gives the runholder the right to say who has access to their leasehold land. This is no different from private property owners,” says Mr Carter.
“The fundamental duty of Fish and Game is to advocate for hunters and fishers, and to help enhance their relationship with rural landowners. . . “
How refreshing to have a Minister who stands up for farmers and rightly questions whether Fish and Game should be using licence fees for its political and litigious campaigns.
Anecdotal evidence from hunters and fishers suggest the Minister is more in touch with their concerns than the body their licence fees funds.
This misguided court action was expensive for licence holders, tax payers and farmers and it’s not just money but goodwill that was wasted.
Federated Farmers said the court action was a disaster:
The challenge was a failed attempt to by-pass all the work associated with walking access and it is a spiteful and damaging waste of the fishing and hunting license fee money. . .
“This decision brings relief for affected High Country farming families, as they now know Fish & Game members won’t be entitled to walk all over them,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers High Country chairman.
Both Federated Farmers and the High Country Accord played an instrumental role in the formation and development of the Walking Access Commission.
“We have contributed positively to the development of rules for public access that give pastoral leaseholders and their families security and certainty. Meanwhile, Fish & Game’s Executive has sadly played nothing but a negative and destructive role. . .
“High Country pastoral leases impose strict conditions on us as farmers. The judgment acknowledges that leaseholders are responsible for much more than just grass.
“It’s only right that farmers have the ability to control and manage access to such land. This decision enables pastoral leaseholders to operate a business and maintain authority over their property rights contained in their leases.
“The High Court’s judgement also recognises that pastoral leaseholders perform a stewardship role. In other words, we farm with the High Country and not against it. . .
“Fish & Game chief executive, Bryce Johnston, now needs to take a long hard long look at his and his Council’s decision to waste a vast amount of license fee money on this challenge.
“Federated Farmers consider it also time for the Government to look at the legislative privilege that enables Fish & Game to fund such frivolous litigation. This inappropriate use of license fee money should not go unchecked by Government,” Mr Aubrey concluded.
High Country Accord chair Jonathon Wallis issued a media release in which he asked if the action was a misuse of funds.
“Not just the huge amount of money farmers have been forced to direct into these proceedings away from rejuvenating our economy through expanding and maintaining agricultural production, but both the vast amount of tax payer funds that went into jointly defending it and the allocation of precious funds more commonly used for the protection and establishment of habitat for our fish and game.”
“The latter are funds generated by the sale of Fish and Game licenses sold to hunters and anglers who for almost a century have respected the goodwill and relationships established between farmers and recreationalists regardless of it being a matter of privilege as opposed to right.”
“The question also has to be asked whether this was not just a personal crusade by an executive distorted from the opinion of the general membership of Fish and Game itself.”
Wallis said he allowed licensed duck shooters on to his property on opening morning because he wasn’t blaming them for the actions of the national council.
Three bloggers rank blogs. They use different methods and not surprisingly get different results.
There’s a school of thought that the only reliable way to rank blogs is by using actual sitemeter data for visits. Unfortunately, most blogs don’t make this information public. Perhaps if more did bloggers could compare their statistics with those for other sites or have a listed ranking. This would help their interpretation.
It depends on what you’re ranking of course, visits are only one measure, comments are another and some blogs get fewer visitors but more comments. But quantity isn’t necessarily the same as quality anyway.
However, since it’s all just a bit of fun and there’s no reason to keep stats secret, should anyone want to know how many people pop into Homepaddock, what they look at and where they come from, click on the Sitemeter logo above the Clustermap at the bottom of the sidebar and it’s all there for the world to see.
I started blogging last April but didn’t install Sitemeter until part way through July, since then it’s recorded:
This Year’s Visits by Month
What intrigues me most is where people come from and I wonder if visitors from far flung corners of the world come by accident or design.
You can click on Clustermap to see where people come from too. It also counts visitors but is less generous than Sitemeter.
The story in yesterday’s ODT on the growing popularity of the Central Otago Rail Trail wasn’t deliberately timed for the day John Key announced the Budget will include $50 million over the next three years for the New Zealand Cycleway Project.
But the Rail Trail is a good model for communities wanting to develop bike trails.
Planning is already well advanced for several cycleways in Otago including one around Otago Harbour which would add to Dunedin’s tourist attractions.
The Central Otago experience shows that while building the trail provides an economic boost, the on-going business opportunities feeding, accommodating, entertaining, equipping, servicing bikes and generally looking after the bikers are much more significant.