December 8, 2009

This week’s Dominion Post politics quiz was easier than last weeks but still only 8/10 in 48 seconds.

Last week I managed to do better than Kiwiblog but that was obviously just because he’d been out of the country. He got 10/10 this week.

Tuesday’s answers

December 8, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. A cold coming we had of it,/just the worst time of the year/For a journey, and such a long journey;/The ways deep and the weather sharp. . .  Who wrote this and about whom was it written?

2. What is a metrosideros excelsa?

3. Who said, “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.“?

4. Chef Richard Gordon is a shareholder in which Waitaki Valley wine company?

5. Which MP is patron and a former national president of Young Farmers?

Paul Tremewan got three and a bonus for imagination in his answer to #1.

Andrei got four.

Samo got 4 with a 1/2 for #3.

Deborah got two and a bonus for being able to recite the poem.

PDM got one.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break. Read the rest of this entry »

Danny Boy

December 8, 2009

Happy birthday Sir James Galway – 70 today.

There were lots of clips to choose from, but I opted for this because our son was Dan.


December 8, 2009

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was born on this day in 1865.

Feds & Fonterra on intensive dairy plans

December 8, 2009

Federated Farmers has made a very measured response to the news farmers in the Mackenzie Basin are seeking resource consent for intensive dairy operations under which cows will be housed inside from March to October.

Feds president Don Nicolson says the farmers have the right to apply for consent and warns that tighter local authority rules may lead other farmers to look at similar operations:

“I think we need to take a deep breath here.  These are only applications and as such, they have to go through the full resource consent process.  I think it’s safe to say we’re going to have a very helpful debate,” . . . 

“From what I see, it’s a European style of agriculture being applied to a European style of climate.  The MacKenzie Basin supports rapid grass growth over summer but also has harsh winters.

“Yet it’s the right of every single landowner to make an application and let due process test the validity of that application.  Listening to some of the comments, especially from the Greens, makes me wonder when did we become a dictatorship?

“The Greens can’t have it both ways.  They wish to see pastoral free-range farming controlled, yet oppose applications that are fairly much as controlled as you can get.

“Also, given the increasing trend towards council micro management of farming we are seeing in Horizons’ proposed One Plan, a lot of farmers will be following these applications with interest. 

It is possible that what the applicants are proposing will have a lesser impact on the environment than free range dairying because they’ll have much greater control of the effluent.

. . . “This style of closed cycle farming means effluent can, for example, be put into bio-digesters with the resulting biogas used to power the farm offsetting farm animal emissions.  Surplus energy could be sold into the national grid and all the while, nutrient loss is minimised.  

“This is what the emissions trading scheme is meant to encourage, isn’t it?

“Diluted cow effluent also contains vital nutrients that can be recycled back into pasture over the summer months to support grass growth, which further reduces the need for fertiliser. 

That doesn’t get around concerns about what the proposed operations might do for New Zealand’s free-range branding.

Fonterra milk supply manager Tim Deane said the company had “real concerns” about the environmental sustainability of stall-based farming.

New Zealand had been showcased as an example of a country using free-range systems by the World SPCA, he said.

“We will be watching carefully to see if the farms are able to comply with the regulations governing animal welfare and sustainable land use.”

Deane said Fonterra was comfortable with dairy-farming techniques that supported pasture-based farming, such as feed pads and supplementary feeding.

“We don’t believe stall-based farming of this type is consistent with New Zealand’s reputation as a source of dairy products from substantially grass-fed cows.”

As I said in yesterday’s post, the ability to graze stock outside is our natural advantage and it’s the cheapest way to convert grass to protein.

Concerns over animal welfare have also been raised but I don’t think they have any foundation.

Federated Farmers dairy vice-chairman Willy Leferink said  . . . “For these cubicles to work, the cows need to perform at the top end of their ability and they only do that if they’re given a very desirable environment.

“They just shut up shop otherwise.”

Quite, happy cows feed well and produce lots of milk, unhappy cows don’t.

Things I’ve learned about smoke alarms

December 8, 2009

1.The highest spot on the ceiling is the best place for a smoke alarm.

2. In an older house that’s more than two metres from the ground.

3. That makes it the most difficult place to get to when the battery needs to be changed.

4. Especially when the ladder which lives in shed has gone walk about.

5. You can learn to ignore the low battery warning beep.

6. The low battery warning beep can last for 10 days.

7. Even though you thought you were ignoring it, you notice how good the silence is after the battery is changed when the ladder is finally located.

Turnbull down but not out

December 8, 2009

A former party leader can go quietly or stay and fight.

Malcolm Turnbull, who was deposed as Australian Liberal Party leader last week, has a blog post Time for Some Straight Talking on Climate Change  which indicates he’s doing the latter:

While a shadow minister, Tony Abbott was never afraid of speaking bluntly in a manner that was at odds with Coalition policy.

So as I am a humble backbencher I am sure he won’t complain if I tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition’s policy, or lack of policy, on climate change has descended into.

First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.

To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money.

Somebody has to pay.

So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, “bullshit.” Moreover he knows it.

The whole argument for an emissions trading scheme as opposed to cutting emissions via a carbon tax or simply by regulation is that it is cheaper – in other words, electricity prices will rise by less to achieve the same level of emission reductions. . .

Maybe Tony Abbott and Phil Goff should consult each other on how to handle the choir when some of its members are singing a different song.

Hat tip: Larvatus Prodeo

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