Donald Mills would have been 95 today.
Duke Ellington would have been 111 today.
A couple of days late – this Tuesday’s poem was Coverage by Tim Jones.
. . . how difficult it is to check shirt pockets for pens before you take them off so they don’t go into the washing machine?
Why National? Young Country asked Justice Minister Simon Power.
. . . I have a fundamental belief that governments should leave people alone, and that the role of the state should be relatively small, and that the state should not be in you life more than it needs to be.
New Zealanders have this natural aversion to being told what to do by governments, both local and central, and I’m pretty much in that camp.
He was also asked to give one piece of advice to a young rural person.
His answer was:
. . . “Don’t underestimate the impact they can have on the way governments and economies operate if they are going to step up and say their piece.”
My experience with listening to what farmers have to say, whether it is at the saleyards, pub or wherever, they tend to be understated but very, very smart. Their instincts are almost 100% right on where the country should be heading.
The other thing to remember is what good advocates farmers are. So when they come to talk about an issue with me, they have very compelling cases to make due to being well-structured and having thoroughly thought through the process.
Young Country was launched last year.
It was a brave move, given the recession, but it seems to have hit the spot and not just with its target audience of younger country people. Lots of us not so young ones find it good reading too.
(And no, I don’t have shares in the company or work for the magazine, I’m just an appreciative subscriber).
The Law Commission’s suggestion of a steep increase in the price of alcohol got no traction but parliament went into extraordinary urgency to increase the tax on tobacco.
Why one and not the other?
It is possible to use alcohol in a way which does no harm to the user or others.
You can’t do that with tobacco.
The immediate increase in tax on cigarettes and loose tobacco had almost unanimous support in parliament – just four Act MPs voted against the measure.
Tobacco is price sensitive. An increase in price always leads to a decrease in use.
It impacts particularly on young people and makes it less likely they’ll start smoking.
Meridian Energy has gained resource consent for the Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme.
The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme is a community irrigation proposal developed by the South Canterbury Irrigation Trust (SCIT) and Meridian.
The scheme would potentially irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of land from the Waitaki River stretching as far north as Otipua. It would provide opportunities for land use diversification, including horticulture, sheep, beef and dairy farming.
The South Canterbury Irrigation Trust was convened by the Mayors of the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie District Councils to develop sustainable irrigation solutions for South Canterbury.
The scheme would involve diverting water from the Waitaki River into an irrigation intake near Stonewall at the existing site of the Morvan Glenavy Ikawai irrigation scheme intake, 35km downstream of the Waitaki Dam.
From there the water would be pumped about 140km for delivery to farms using a pumping station, canal and pipe system.
This is similar to North Otago Irrigation Company’s scheme. It pumps water from the Waitaki to a pond then pipes it under pressure to farms. The first stage covering 10,000 hectares is fully subscribed and the company has started selling shares in the second 10,000 hectares.
The arrival of reliable water has transformed our valley and its value, not just to farms but to the district’s economy, has been highlighted by this autumn’s drought.
There are obvious gains in production but that hasn’t come at the cost of the environment. All shareholders are required to have an environmental farm plan which is independently audited every year.
The scheme has also improved water quality in the Waiareka Creek turning what was little more than a series of near stagnant ponds into a flowing stream.
There have also been social benefits. For the first time since the ag-sag of the 80s farmers’ adult children have returned home for work. There were eight houses on our road before the scheme was launched, now there are 13.
Consent for the Hunter Downs scheme is another step towards similar development in South Canterbury with a corresponding increase in economic, environmental and social benefits.