Word of the day


Barrator – one who habitually enters into quarrels and law-suits, incites litigation or spreads false rumours.

Rural Round-up


Repeat after me -Farmers are not special – Cactus Kate writes:

Fongterra and Federated Fuckwits are a powerful lobby force in New Zealand. Despite tourism lending more to GDP, everyone in NZ is brainwashed into thinking floating up farmers stupidity is in the best interests of the country. I’ve met several PR people claiming to do PR work for Fongterra. I don’t doubt them for a second as they are all duplicitous lying fuckwit sorts.

If farming is a business, as they say it is, then why should banks treat it any differently to other SME (small medium enterprises)? . .

The story which prompted her post was Loan one Challenge too many  in the NZ Herald:

Janette Walker’s farm was soaring in value and the bank was happy to lend – then everything changed.

Janette Walker has always been the type of person who relishes a challenge.

It was, after all, her feisty nature and can-do spirit that prompted her to give up nursing two decades ago to try to make a living from the land.

 The $47 billion rural hangover :

Think it’s all good down on the farm? Think again. Property values are plunging, and the crisis could yet hit the cities too, reports Karyn Scherer.

On the afternoon of January 17, John Taylor (not his real name) decided to take some time out from the daily grind of managing his family’s farm in the central North Island.

Persuaded it would be worth his while, he filled his car with gas and tootled off to a meeting of fellow farmers fed up with their banks.

While the evening proved a catharsis of sorts, it may have done more harm than good. When another farmer offered her blunt assessment of John’s situation – there was no doubt, she suggested, that he was about to lose his farm – he visibly recoiled, as if slapped in the face. . .

Milk runs in the veins of lifelong farmer – Jon Morgan writes in the Dominion Post:

The South Wairarapa dairy farm of Bryan Weatherstone has grown steadily over the years. When he returned home with an agriculture diploma in 1966 to help his father, Alex, it was 80 hectares and was milking 240 cows. This year, under the management of son Stewart, 2000 cows will be milked on 485ha.

Along with this growth has come a vast improvement in the farm’s capital value, but cashing up is the furthest thing from Mr Weatherstone’s mind.

He does not look at the green irrigated paddocks and herds of peacefully grazing jersey cows and see dollar signs.

“I see an asset for the generations to come,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for, to build the business up and to pass it on to Stewart for him to add to. That’s the satisfaction I get.” . . .

Growers of choice for boutique beer – Sanra Taylor writes in Country Wide:

When beer drinkers crack the top off a bottle of Monteith’s latest boutique offering they will know exactly who grew all the ingredients that went into the pale amber liquid.

They will know, from the information on the distinctive black bottle, the exact longitude and latitude of the paddocks in which the grain and hops were grown, as well as the name and location of the brewer Tony Mercer.

Rakaia farmer Bill Davey grows all the barley used in Single Source lager while Nelson grower Ian Thorn grows all the hops. Both growers have a reputation for their attention to detail in producing top-quality crops.

Selling rams with sandwiches – Jackie Harrigan writes:

At 86, Honor Brown buys teabags to make cups of tea for her son Richard Brown’s Banklea stud ram clients – but she still makes the tea in the teapot, and sets the table with a cloth.

She has her special way of making club sandwiches for the ram buyers, saying the men prefer sandwiches. She also has something sweet to accompany them – sultana cake or a sweet slice.

Corned beef minced with tomato sauce forms the bottom layer, then mashed egg goes on the top. They are always well-received, so popular in fact, that Richard says he is not sure if the clients come to buy the rams or to eat Honor’s sandwiches.

Growing up in Southland as the youngest of nine children in a sheep-farming family prepared Honor well for a lifetime as a stud sheep breeder’s wife in the Manawatu. Even after 60 years she has not quite lost her Southland accent.

The farms within the “super city” – Hugh Stringleman writes:

The regional parks of Auckland, acquired over 45 years, are a superb resource for recreation, conservation, education – and, perhaps surprisingly, primary production.

Auckland is home to 1.46 million people, but it also has 18 working farms within the regional parks now operated by the new “super city” council.

Within the new local government boundary, New Zealand’s largest metropolitan area covers 500sq km urban living in 6000sq km of total land area. It has a huge rural hinterland of farms, orchards, lifestyle blocks, water storage, native and exotic forests, and reserves.

Without livestock and good farming practices, the regional parks would quickly become weed-infested wildernesses unless growth was kept under control by a small army of mowers.

Did you see the one about . . .


100 years ago – Kiwiblog on the background to Ronald Reagan’s tear down this wall speech.

Democracy is not freedom: an Egyptian case study – Not PC on the lack of options for those seeking a better future.

Commitment and the gym – The Visible Hand in Economics on a gym that has a financial disincentive for sloth.

The sock monster – Physics Stops finds that somethings can’t be explained by science.

Sunday Spinelessness: murdering my darlings – At the Atavism David Winter, self confessed  invertebrate evangelist, wages a reluctant war on wasps.

In memory of A.K. Grant – Quote Unquote marks what would have been Grant’s 70th birthday.

I got nothin’ – Monkey with Typewriter says goodbye.

Too far fetched for a novel


A race day abandoned after the death of two horses sounds like the start of a Dick Francis novel:

An investigation has been launched after two horses died in the paddock at Newbury amid fears they were electrocuted by underground cabling.

A plot like this in a novel might be described as too far fetched but sometimes life really is stranger than fiction.

Kiwiblog 1 – troll 0


Not being one of the most popular blogs in the country has some advantages,  among which is being mercifully unworried by trolls and mad comments.

I don’t always agree with what people say in comments but I rarely have reason to remonstrate with them on the way they say it.

Last week, for the first and I hope last time, I deleted a comment without explanation because it was a personal attack on someone else, dripping in vitriol and full of baseless asertions.

The person who left it took the hint and hasn’t returned.

David Farrar  has many more visitors to Kiwiblog and the downside of that is that his blog is attractive to trolls. He gets round that problem by requiring people to register if they want to comment and has a demerit system for those who break his rules.

One of those he banned has been stupid enough to threaten to sue him.

Kiwiblog 1 – troll 0.

Less spending or more debt


Election year Budgets are usually more generous but the high, and growing, level of government debt shows why this year’s one won’t be.

Finance Minsiter Bill English says private credit growth has flattened over the past two years as businesses and households increase savings.

But government debt is still rising and is forecast to peak at $73.4 billion in 2016/2017.

That’s not a pretty picture but we can do something about it.

We want to lift our national savings – that’s households, businesses and the Government – because it reduces New Zealand’s vulnerability to foreign lenders, reduces pressure on inflation and interest rates and helps exporters by taking pressure off the Kiwi dollar.

However to achieve this the Government needs to reduce its own borrowing, which is forecast to drive up New Zealand’s national debt over the next few years.

We’ll have a real choice at the election between National’s plans to reduce government debt or any of the parties on the left which will give us a borrow-and-spend-more Labour-led government.

Welfare reform about more than money


Quote of the week from Prime Minister John Key:

 “Welfare reform is not just about financial outcomes, but about improving the lives of a large group of New Zealanders.”

Improved finances for individuals, who would earn more in work than on a benefit, and the state, that would have to pay less, are only part of the story.

The financial outcomes for people in work are better than for those on benefits. But so too are the educational, health and social outcomes for them and their families.

A few people will always need assistance but for most benefits should be a temporary measure, for their sakes and society’s.

February 13 in history


On February 13:

711 BC  Jimmu, Japanese emperor, was born (d. 585 DC).

Jimmu cropped.jpg

 1503 Disfida di Barletta challenge between 13 Italian and 13 French knights near Barletta.

 Monument to the Challenge in Barletta.

1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VII , was executed for adultery.

Portrait miniature of Catherine Howard, by Hans Holbein the Younger.

1575 Henry III of France was crowned at Rheims and married Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont on the same day.

1633 Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Giusto Sustermans

1668 Spain recognised Portugal as an independent nation.

1689 William and Mary were proclaimed co-rulers of England.

Engraving depicting a king, queen, throne, and arms 

1692 Massacre of Glencoe: About 78 Macdonalds at were killed early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.

West Highland Way 2005 Coe.jpg

1728 John Hunter, Scottish surgeon, was born (d. 1793).

1743 Joseph Banks, English botanist and naturalist, was born (d. 1820).

1815 The Cambridge Union Society was founded.

1835 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was born.

1849 Lord Randolph Churchill, British statesman, was born (d. 1895).

 1869 A Ngati Maniapoto war party led by Wetere Te Rerenga attacked Pukearuhe. They killed  Lieutenant Gascoigne, his wife and three children and a Wesleyan missionary John Whiteley.

Killings at Pukearuhe

  1880 Work began on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels’s primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.

 Construction of the covering and tunnels.

1880 – Thomas Edison observed the Edison effect.

1881 The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne was first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert.


1891 Kate Roberts, Welsh nationalist and writer, was born.

1894 Auguste and Louis Lumière patented the Cinematographe, a combination movie camera and projector.


1914 The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was established to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

1920 The Negro National League was formed.

1934 The Soviet steamship Cheliuskin sank in the Arctic Ocean.

Chelyuskin sinking

1942 Peter Tork, American musician and actor (The Monkees), was born.

1944 Jerry Springer, American television host, was born.

1945 The siege of Budapest concluded with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.

Russian Soldier Budapest.JPG

1945 World War II: Royal Air Force bombers were dispatched to Dresden to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment.

1950 Peter Gabriel, English musician (Genesis), composer and humanitarian, was born.

1955 Israel obtained 4 of the 7 Dead Sea scrolls.

1960 France tested its first atomic bomb.

1960 Black college students staged the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.

1967 American researchers discovered the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain.

1970 Black Sabbath, arguably the first heavy metal album, was released.

1978 Hilton bombing: a bomb exploded in a refuse truck outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, killing two refuse collectors and a policeman.


1979 An intense windstorm struck western Washington and sank a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.

1982  Río Negro massacre in Guatemala.

1981 A series of sewer explosions destroyed more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.

1984 Konstantin Chernenko succeeded the late Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1990 German reunification: An agreement was reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.

1991 Gulf War: Two laser-guided “smart bombs” destroyed the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad.

2000 The last original “Peanuts” comic strip appeared in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz died.

Peanuts gang.png

2001 An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale hit El Salvador, killing at least 400.

2004 The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star “Lucy” after The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

2008 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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