Subs should have dirty minds . . .

May 20, 2009

. . . or at least the ability to spot a double entendre so they spot the problem with a headline like this from TV3:

Melissa Lee turned on at heated Auckland University debate


Otago Capping Show Sextet 2

May 20, 2009

An encore from the Otago Capping Show Sextet – this time it’s The Price of Living:


Selwyn Ballet

May 20, 2009

While searching for something from The Sextet I came across another Otago Capping Show favourite, the Selwyn College Ballet:


Another side to pig rearing

May 20, 2009

The ODT shows how to give a balanced report in this story on pig farming.

A farmer who raises his pigs indoors gives his side of the story, with pictures; and the paper also interviews a woman who has free range pigs.

That’s good journalism, without the heat and lack of balance which has characterised much of the issue so far this week.


Brits turn manuka honey into gold

May 20, 2009

An enterprising British beekeeper has imported manuka from New Zealand and sells the honey produced from the nectar for five pounds a teaspoon.

At £55 a small pot, few people will be smearing Tregothnan manuka honey liberally on their breakfast toast any day soon.

But the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall, which already does well selling tea grown on its warm, dampish slopes, is confident the honey will find its niche among aficionados of all things sweet.

The company claims the price tag is justified as its bees are housed in 20 special hives worth £5,000 each and have the exclusive run (or flight) of the garden’s manuka bushes, normally found in New Zealand or Australia.

Tregothnan’s garden director, Jonathan Jones, said: “The honey is expensive, but it is Britain’s only manuka honey. It has become a lifestyle product, a luxury. This year is the first time the plants produced nectar which gave us our first jars, around 100.”

There are healing properties in honey which has the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor),  and wound dressings made from honey and seaweed gel have been approved for use here, in Europe and the USA.

But not all honey made from bees which feed on manuka makes the grade and the story on the Cornwall honey doesn’t mention the UMF at all. However, it’s up to consumers and authorities over there to worry about that.

There could be benefits for New Zealand honey producers if they’re able to compete – and at five pound a teaspoon that shouldn’t be difficult.

There is also a potential downside though if beekeepers in other countries which can grow manuka easily establish plots and provide strong competition for producers here.

It happened with kiwifruit but our growers have the advantage of producing fruit in the European and North American off-season. While bees need the right temperatures to collect nectar, honey has a long storage life so big producers elsewhere could supply manuka all year round.


Community Irrigation Schemes get $562,000 boost

May 20, 2009

North Otago Irrigation Company has been granted up to $241,500 over four years from MAF’s Community Irrigation Fund.

It will be used to help the development of the second stage in its scheme which pumps water from the Waitaki River.

The first stage brought water to about 8,000 hectares in the Waiareka Valley. The second stage will provide water for another 12,000 hectares and extend the scheme to the Kakanui Valley and Tokarahi district.

MAF has provided $562,000 over four years for five irrigation projects as part of the Community Irrigation Fund (CIF), Deputy – Director-General Paul Stocks announced today.

“The CIF helps rural communities make use of their water resources and adapt to climate change by helping community water irrigation schemes get off the ground.”

  “When people think of irrigation and water infrastructure, they usually think of building dams, aquaducts and pipelines. What is often not considered is the enormously important work in planning and community and stakeholder consultation that has to happen before the earthmovers arrive.”

The taxpayer should not be expected to help with on-farm work for irrigation but the wider economic, environmental and social benefits from irrigation justify assistance in the planning stage.

The other four projects to receive funding are inTasman, North Canterbury, South Canterbury and Central Otago.

The ODT reports  these are the Lees Valley storege dam, the Hurunui Water Project, and the Waihao Downs and Lindis irrigation schemes.


Funds flood in to school from new rural toll road

May 20, 2009

Tolls have spread to country roads.

The ODT reports that when heavy rain resulted in flooding which cut off the bridge approach over the Omarama Stream on State Highway 8 a farmer agreed to let traffic use a detour across a single lane bridge on his property.

But there was a catch – Richard Subtil of Omaramara Station is also treasurer of the local school board and he grabbed the opportunity this presented to raise funds by charging vehicles a $5 donation for using the 1 kilometre detour.

The road was closed for nearly five hours and Subtil raised $930 in that time.

Traffic backed up on both sides of the bridge, on the town’s southern boundary and Mr Subtil was approached about letting light traffic use Omarama Station’s track and bridge.

The farmer spotted the opportunity to boost the school’s funds and agreed.

“We are only a small country school and we want to offer a quality education.

We have to raise about $26,000 a year to provide that by paying teacher aides to assist [Government] funded staff. . .

“Most [drivers] were enthusiastic and happy to pay.”

Some people donated more than $5, with one businessman heading to a meeting in Queenstown so pleased he gave the school $100.

If  people are willing to pay $5 for a 1 km detour across a farm track and single lane bridge here, is the charge for the new multi-laned tar selaed toll road north of Auckland too low?

Or is it easier to get people to pay a specific recipient than cough up what’s regarded as a tax?


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