MAf finds significant issues on some Crafar farms


MAF has found significant animal welfare problems on a number of the 22 Crafar-owned properties it inspected  MAF Director-General Murray Sherwin announced today.

His media release says:

“Over the course of the last week, MAF animal welfare inspectors, assisted by New Zealand Food Safety Authority veterinarians and industry organisations, have visited all Crafar properties. A number of properties were found to have significant animal welfare issues. Action was taken at some others to alleviate immediate problems.

“On the properties where a response was necessary, MAF had issued explicit directions of what is needed to remedy particular problems such as under weight animals with underlying health issues, inadequate feed, overstocking, and lack of shelter for calves. Regular and consistent input from veterinarians and farm consultants has also been instructed and organised.

“MAF and the Crafar farm receivers are working together on remedial activity where necessary and will continue to collaborate and stabilise these properties for the long term.

“Animal welfare is our highest concern and the most important aspect of any investigation is the animals. While on farm inspections have been completed, and some serious animal welfare issues identified investigations are ongoing and evidence is still being gathered. It will take time before specific prosecution decisions are made.

“MAF has been supported in this work by industry groups such as Dairy NZ, Fonterra and Federated Farmers, who are all committed to animal welfare and expediting recovery on Crafar properties.

“From a broader perspective, MAF and industry groups have agreed to work together to better co-ordinate early warning systems to identify potential issues at both a systemic and individual farm level.”

Animal welfare ought to be the first priority on any livestock farm but finding an early warning system to alert authorities to problems where it isn’t won’t be easy.

DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and Fonterra have all been supporting MAF. All are rightly concerned about animal welfare but all are limited in what they can do to monitor individual farms when it’s possible no-one except staff could go near stock for days, and sometimes weeks.

Some of Crafar’s critics have blamed Fonterra and said it should should play a bigger role in protecting stock.  I’m not sure how that would happen when the only regular presence the company has on farms is the tanker driver who arrives, picks up the milk and leaves.

Unless there were cows or calves on or close to the tanker track, drivers wouldn’t see them. Even if they did see stock they might not recognise anything was amiss.

The problems on Crafar Farms aren’t because of the size of the operation by itself. It’s because the business grew too fast without goo systems and processes. But, as I’ve said in previous posts on this issue, the best systems and processes are only as good as the staff who implement them and you get good and bad staff on farms of any size.

Daylight Savings Blues


I’ll get over it when the weather warms, but I’ve just spent a couple of days in Auckland and it was wintery up there too. 

Until it warms up, I’ve got the Daylight Savings Blues:


 Spring is here the grass has grown

It’s time to have my annual moan.

Why do the clocks move on so soon

And force us to rise by light of moon?


Spring equinox gives 12 hours of light

So we have to get up while it’s still night.

And what use is the extra evening sun

If it’s not there once dinner’s done?



The clocks moved on an hour last week

Since then the weather’s been so bleak.

We’ve had rain and hail and sleet and snow

Blue sky and sun have failed to show.


What’s the point of clocks gone for’ard

When every day the weather’s horrid?

Couldn’t they wait til winter’s past

And we no longer face its icy blast?


In summer’s heat I agree it’s fine

To change the clocks to gain play time.

But early spring’s still cold and dark

For those at work it’s not a lark.


Delay the change by three weeks or four

Til there’s 14 daylight hours or more.

We could then rise after the sun

And have more light for night time fun.


Take heed of all the morning workers

And not those lazy evening shirkers.

Daylight saving makes sense in summer

But in spring it just makes us glummer.


P.S. I might not like the early start to daylight saving, but I’m not as bad as the Aussie bloke who wrote this letter (thanks to PaulL who emailed about it).

Stat time of the month


It’s stat time of the month again when Tim Selwyn of Tumeke! calls for blog stats for the Blogosphere Rankings.

In September at Homepaddock:

Sitemeter recorded 13,478 unique visitors. Stat Counter more generously recorded 15, 117 unique visitors.

 There were 238 posts which received a total of 497 comments.

The four most commented on posts were: 33 on Coal to fertiliser plant for Southland? on 25.9; 17 on Kiwirail must pay its way on 30.9;   16 on Greenpeace has wrong target for wrong reasons on 17.9 and 12 each on  Last cab has the mana and the power on  15.9 and The honourable member on 29.9.

The top 10 referring blogs were: 1,580 924 340 273 169 138 126 75 70 69

Thank you for popping in and an electronic bunch of daffodils to all who left a comment.


This Year’s Visits and Page Views by Month

This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month

The graph from StatCounter doesn’t want to copy but here are the figures:

Page Loads                 Unique Visitors                                            First Time Visitors                           Returning Visitors
Total 21,862 15,117 8,918 6,199
Average 729 504 297 207

Quality & quantity


Eight universities for a population of only four million does suggest we’re over-universitied.

But we can take some comfort from the global ranking of universities which suggests we’ve got quality as well as quantity.

Three of our universities are the top 200 – Auckland at 61, Otago at 125 and Canterbury at 188.

If you judge universities on more than academia, Otago still comes out tops.*

A relatively big university in a small city where most students come from other places creates a unique experience (and I don’t mean the stupidity which captured headlines recently).

More details on results of the comparisons here.

Hat Tip: NBR.

* from the completely unbiased 🙂 perspective of a graduate from both Otago and Canterbury with a daughter who graduated from Otago and is now studying at Auckland.

The Book of Fame


 It’s not just the story, it’s the way it’s told in the first person plural, which made The Book of Fame by Lloyd Jones stick with me long after I read it.

We’re introduced to the characters, the members of the 1905 All Black team which toured Britain, but we never know which is telling us the story because it’s always we and us.

It’s a couple of years since I’ve read this so the details escape me, but I remember being engrossed by it. A friend who was an All Black in the 1970s said it was a very realistic depiction of an overseas tour. But it’s also a story about people and you don’t have to be interested in rugby to enjoy it.


dairy 10019

 Post 9 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green


Over at In A Strange Land, Deborah delights in Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, written and illustrated by Lynley Dodd.

At Rob’s Blockhead, Rob has posted on Allen Curnow’s selected poems.

Only one of the guilty in the dock


Former MP Phillip Field was in the dock.

But the Dominion Post editorial makes it clear he wasn’t the only guilty party.

However, if Field has got his just deserts, others have got off lightly. Those others are the senior members of the Labour Party who ran interference for him for almost 18 months and who are now ducking for cover.

Readers might remember that former prime minister Helen Clark was slow to act when questions were first asked about Field’s conduct, perhaps because the 2005 election was in the offing, and that when she did, she established an inquiry with narrow terms of reference and without the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

Hence Field was able to claim he had been vindicated by an inquiry that found no evidence he had misused his position as minister for personal benefit.

Deputy prime minister Michael Cullen appeared to agree. Field’s “fundamental fault was to work too hard for the many, many hundreds of people who come to his electorate office on immigration matters”, he said.

What he overlooked, deliberately or otherwise, was the numerous questions the inquiry raised about Field’s conduct as an MP as opposed to his conduct as a minister.

Field was convicted  of 11 counts of bribery and corruption and 15 of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

No-one is suggesting his former colleagues were complicit in the crimes. But they too behaved shamefully by attempting to thwart the inquiry into his actions.

They compounded their shame by continuing to defend him when, in spite of being hamstrung by narrow terms of reference, the Ingram inquiry raised very serious questions over Field’s conduct.

New Zealand has a very good repuation for a lack of corrpution. That depends not just on people not acting corruptly, it also depends on other people’s determination not to tolerate such acts.

Labour’s support of Field was corrupt and their inability to say sorry sicne makes it worse. They weren’t guilty of a crime but they were guilty of trying to prevent him being held to account.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog 

P.S. David Farrar devotes his NBR column to this issue too.

Sensing stupidity


Mediums are frauds who prey on vulnerable people.

What on earth was TVNZ thinking when they introduced one to the parents of Aisling Symes, the toddler who went missing a few days ago?

If there is ever a time and a place for a chalatan, it’s certainly not with the parents whose child has disappeared.

I’ve never watched Sensing Murder but you don’t need special powers to sense stupidity.

It’s unprofessional, insensitive and stupid actions like this which explain why New Zealanders have such a low opinion of our media.

Aussie farmers fight methane claims


Australian farmers are disputing methane measurements after scientists discovered significant variations in gas produced by individual animals.

Farmers, fearful of the costs greenhouse gas emissions trading will impose on their businesses, are demanding more accurate measurement of emissions before the ETS is brought in.

Beverley Henry, manager for environment, sustainability and climate change with Meat & Livestock Australia, said current estimates were based on livestock overseas, with the actual emissions likely to vary depending on diet and animal type, as well as other factors.

“At the moment, we don’t reflect those in Australia’s national accounts very well,” Dr Henry said.

“We need to get better quantification of the emissions as well as an understanding of how much mitigation is possible.”

Australia boasts 26.81 million head of beef and dairy cattle, and 69.2 million sheep, so even a small error would quickly compound in any attempt to measure the total greenhouse gas expelled by the animals.

New Zealand has 33.14 million sheep and 40.7 million beef cattle and 5.6 million dairy cows. 

If individual animals produce varying amounts of gas, and if the differences are greater on different diets in Australia then it’s probable there would be similar variations here.

That suggests changing what sheep and cattle eat could help reduce emissions.

It also calls in to question the accuracy of claims about how much methane our stock produces.

And if we can’t rely on estimates about how much gas the animals produce in the first place, how can we measure any changes?

Hat Tip: Trans Tasman.

October 9 in history


On October 9:

1003 Leif Erikson landed in L’Anse aux Meadows, Canada, becoming the first known European to reach North America.

1201 Robert de Sorbon, French theologian and founder of the Sorbonne was born.

1911 Joe Rosenthal, American photographer, was born.

1937 Brian Blessed, English actor, was born.

1942 Australia ratified the Statute of Westminster 1931 formalised its autonomy.

 1967 Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara

1967 The six o’clock swill ended.

1986 The musical The Phantom of the Opera was frist performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.


Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

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