Word of the day


Usufruct – a temporary right to use and derive income from another’s property without destroying it.

Vote for farming


This election offers the clearest policy choice since 1984, Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says.

That 1984 election itself came after the 1981 Springbok Tour, which so divided New Zealand.

So I want my term to be one of uniting. Agriculture is important; it pays a large chunk of this country’s bills. If Agriculture is successful, New Zealand is successful. But we need all of New Zealand to help achieve this success.

Farming is very important but farmers are a minority, we’ll accomplish far more working with the rest of the country than trying to fight it as has happened in the past.

The vast majority of farmers embrace the right to farm but also know they have an obligation to the environment.

Every farmer I have ever spoken to wishes to make a reasonable living for them and their family. They have a desire to leave their farm better than when they found it.

We want good quality water too. It’s vital for us, our stock and our crops.

It is tough forcing higher standards onto dairy farmers, if other farmers further up a catchment allow hillsides to erode putting nutrients into water. It is frustrating, if farmers are expected to reach a much higher standard than what is expected of business, councils or of the wider community.

One rule for all water, that sounds fair.

What Federated Farmers strives for is profitable and sustainable farming and we must achieve both. Our challenge is more food from less land with a smaller environmental footprint.

With all of the policy pledges to date, a Crown water company is one of the very few policies about exports, jobs and growth. While a multibillion dollar central Auckland rail loop moves people, without export earnings, there will be no jobs to move to.

Water storage just makes sense. It’s an opportunity lost, if some 95 percent of all the water that falls on this land, is left to run out to sea unused by people, crops or animals.

City life would be impossible without water storage so the proposed Crown water company applies this principle to rural land and is another significant policy win for the work we do.

It’s no hand-out as some have claimed.

It will be a series of commercial investments and once schemes are up and running, the stake will be on-sold. We hope the proceeds will be used to invest into more schemes. Farmers will also have to buy into these schemes to access water.

The other charge is that this will be a recipe for ‘more pollution’.

My response is that if a scheme can’t get past the planners, it won’t be built. Canterbury’s environmental award winning Opuha Dam proves what is possible and is an asset for the entire community.

Opuha and schemes that will be built like it help to generate national wealth and national wealth creates spending choices. One of these future choices could very well that inner city rail loop for Auckland.

I farm in the often dry parched hills of Hawke’s Bay. A lack of water is a common problem to many in this region but we are soon to build a dam. It will cost $180 million with a dam wall some 77 metres high and it will cover 400 hectares.

It also has the potential to lift our current irrigable area from 6,000 hectares to over 20,000 hectares.

It will mean we can maintain important river flows during dry periods, it will provide immense recreational opportunities and it will provide prosperity and jobs for the Hawke’s Bay and well beyond.

The first turf is yet to be turned but community-wide engagement is well underway. A lot of science is being done to find solutions and answers now to the more intensive agriculture that will follow its opening.

This is an exciting opportunity.

We have seen just how exciting the opportunities are in North Otago providing economic, social and environmental benefits.

A flipside to water storage will be legislation requiring that our lakes and rivers be ranked and monitored.

Federated Farmers believes legislation that will give effect to monitoring is long overdue. Consistent scientific monitoring of our waterways will help cut through the assumed impacts agriculture has upon the environment.

We need to debate things on scientific fact as opposed to inconsistent measurement or worse, just blaming agriculture for everything.

There should be no room for ducking and diving, either inside the farm gate or outside it.

It’s difficult to argue with that.

The safest bet for New Zealand, come Saturday week, is to vote for farming.

Vote for the policies that clearly support the entire agricultural sector; on-farm, in the factories and in the research labs.

Support agriculture. Support a vibrant and growing economy.

We won’t get a vibrant and growing economy with those being promoted by Labour, the Green Party and the other wee parties whose support they’d need to govern.

The policy differences are clear and so is the choice: a National led government to take us ahead or a Labour led one to drag us back.

Close enough for confusion


A billboard I passed on my way to Christchurch puzzled me.

I noticed the blue from a distance but as I got closer didn’t recognise the photo.

When I came across another further on I realised why, the colour from a distance and passing at speed was similar to that used on National Party billboards but it was advertising another party:

Blue is traditionally the colour of the right (except in the United States) and there aren’t a lot of  other colours left to choose from in the political spectrum –  red, green, yellow, purple, black and red and black have all been taken.

If you take a second look it’s easy enough to see the Conservative blue is different from National’s:

But if you’re travelling at 100 kph and concentrating on the road as you should be, the two are close enough for confusion.

Maybe the Conservatives thought they could leverage off the national brand. But a new party needs to stand out and looking too much like the much older and bigger National Party won’t help it do that.

Rebuilding the centre


I had a couple of hours to kill when I was in Christchurch last week and decided to do a wee bit to help the economy.

Ballantynes and Cashel Mall between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace re-opened a couple of weeks ago and it’s looking good.

The photo doesn’t do it justice. There are better ones here. The mall is colourful, welcoming and, most importantly for the locals, feels safe.

The shop at the back is Johnson’s Grocery, relocated from Colombo Street. It’s lighter and more open than the old shop but it’s still got character.

A couple of doors along is Scorpio Books which used to be one of my favourite haunts. It had a particularly good humour section which is wehre I found the complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes. The new container can’t fit the wide selection of books the old shop did but it’s still got the ambience that makes a book-lover feel at home.

Ballantynes which was rebuilt after the fire in 1947 escaped the earthquakes relatively unscathed and looks much as it always did. I told the woman serving me it was great to have the shop back. She replied in heart-felt tones, “It’s great to be back.”

The mall’s not the way it was and there’s still a long way to go but it’s a very good start.

As Student Volunteer Army maestro, Sam Johnson, says: The Christchurch I love is still here.

Drug users not work-ready


National plans to take a tougher stance on benefit fraud and beneficiaries who take drugs.

“We’ll sanction beneficiaries if their recreational drug use gets in the way of a job, we’ll cancel benefits for criminals on the run from Police and a new team of fraud specialists will focus on catching benefit cheats,” says Social Development spokeswoman Paula Bennett.

If there’s any surprise in this announcement it’s that it hasn’t always been policy.

The plan is to sanction jobseekers if recreational drug use affects their work prospects and cancel benefits for jobseekers who fail workplace drug test or refuse to apply for a job because they would have failed a drug test.

“Employers are desperate to hire forestry workers in Northland, but workers must be drug free and that’s not an unreasonable expectation,” says Ms Bennett.

“Currently Work and Income doesn’t put people forward for jobs if they know the individual will fail a drug test, so we’re changing the rules so Jobseekers are responsible for being available for work.”

“National believes in a welfare system that is fair for those who use it, but also fair on taxpayers who fund it,” says Ms Bennett.

Beneficiaries are supposed to be work-ready.

Employers will not want to employ drug users.

Beneficiaries who take drugs are not work-ready.

National’s plan is responsible and reasonable.

I hope that more money is put into addiction treatment and rehabilitation at the same time because people willing to accept help must be able to get it.

Electorate representation better than tokenism


Jon Johansson reckons John Key’s decision to speak out against MMP smells of partisan greed and hubris.

Johansson hasn’t got his knickers in a twist when other party leaders have spoken in favour of MMP so why so upset that John Key said he’d probably vote for Supplementary Member?

This is not the first time he has spoken about doing that and even had it been, what’s wrong with that?

He was asked a question and he answered it, openly and honestly.

Johansson also said:

We have a Prime Minister who wishes to vote to turn back progress for women participating in parliamentary politics, and a Prime Minister who in defiance of our dramatically changing demographics prefers not to facilitate Asian New Zealanders, Pacifika New Zealanders, or other ethnic Kiwis participating in their own democracy. . .

That is patronising and wrong.

With SM we’d have more electorates and it is likely that most of the list MPs would stand in those seats, and win.

My MP happens to be a woman  and I was electorate chair when she was selected. She wasn’t selected because she’s a woman, she was selected because we were confident she’d be a good candidate who could win the seat, be a good MP and an asset to caucus, as she is.

However, she has to service an electorate that’s 34,888 square kilometres in area which is far, too big.

If I was a woman I’d be very unhappy that my Prime Minister, one who has seemed to make MMP work rather effortlessly, has decided to favour an electoral system that will make it harder for me or my daughters or grand-daughters to pursue a political career.

I am a woman and I’m delighted that my Prime Minister has decided to favour an electoral system that will make it easier for other women to pursue a political career.

Bigger electorates reduce the pool of people who are willing and able to stand as candidates. In cities would-be MPs could keep working and campaign in the evenings and weekends until close to the election. In bigger provincial electorates, the large distances they’d have to cover and the time that takes would require full or very near full time campaigning for a much longer period.

Juggling family life with the demands of an MP’s job is difficult enough in a city. I know women who were considering standing in bigger provincial electorates who chose not to because of the impact it would have had on their children.

I’d much rather have more, smaller electorates under SM which would be more likely to attract women candidates than MMP with huge lectorates and lists characterised by tokenism.

Milk price up in gDT auction


The trade weighted index increased  2.6% in this morning’s globalDairyTrade auction.

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 8%; butter milk powder was up 3.6%; cheddar was up 3.7%; milk protein concentrate increased 11.3%; rennet casein dropped 9.7%; skim milk powder was up 1.7% and whole milk powder was up 2.4%.

No to Harawira but maybe to Peters?


Phil Goff has said he won’t do a deal with Hone Harawira after the election but he hasn’t said no to a deal with Winston Peters.

Most of what Harawira stands for is anathema to me but he hasn’t been sacked from Cabinet, found to be contempt of parliament, used $158,000 of taxpayers money for his own election campaign and refused to pay it back, lied about donations . . .


November 16 in history


534 – A second and final revision of the Codex Justinianus was published.

1491 – An auto de fé, held in the Brasero de la Dehesa outside Ávila, concluded the case of the Holy Child of La Guardia with the public execution of several Jewish and converso suspects.

1532 – Francisco Pizarro and his men captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa.


1776 – American Revolution: The United Provinces (Low Countries) recognised the independence of the United States.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Schöngrabern – Russian forces under Pyotr Bagration delayed the pursuit by French troops under Murat.

1821 – Missouri trader William Becknell arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico over a route that became known as the Santa Fe Trail.

1840 – New Zealand officially became a separate colony of Britain, severing its link to New South Wales.

NZ officially becomes British colony

1849 – A Russian court sentenced Fyodor Dostoevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence is later commuted to hard labour.


1852 – The English astronomer John Russell Hind discovered the asteroid 22 Kalliope.


1857 – Second relief of Lucknow. Twenty-four Victoria Crosses were awarded, the most in a single day.


1863 – Battle of Campbell’s Station near Knoxville, Tennessee. Confederate troops unsuccessfully attacked Union forces.

1885 – Canadian rebel leader of the Métis and “Father of Manitoba”, Louis Riel was executed for treason.


1907 – Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory became Oklahoma and was admitted as the 46th U.S. state.

1907 – Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania, sister ship of RMS Lusitania, set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York City.


1914 – The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opened.

1938 – LSD was first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.


1940 – The Royal Air Force bombed Hamburg.

1940 – The Nazis closed off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.


1943 – American bombers struck a hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway.

1944 – Dueren, Germany was destroyed by Allied bombers.

1945 – Operation Paperclip: The United States Army secretly admited 88 German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.


1945 – UNESCO was founded.

1953 Griff Rhys Jones, Welsh comedian, writer and actor, was born.


1965 – The Soviet Union launched the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus, the first spacecraf to reach the surface of another planet.

1973 – NASA launched Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts for an 84-day mission.

1973 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorisation Act into law.

1979 – The first line of Bucharest Metro (Line M1) was opened from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea in Bucharest.


1988 – The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR declared that Estonia was “sovereign” but stopped short of declaring independence.

1988 – In the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan elected populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister.


1989 – A death squad composed of El Salvadoran army troops killed six Jesuit priests and two others at Jose Simeon Canas University.

1989 – UNESCO adopted the Seville Statement on Violence at the twenty-fifth session of its General Conference.

1997 – After nearly 18 years of incarceration, China released Wei Jingsheng, a pro-democracy dissident, for medical reasons.


2000 – Bill Clinton became the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.

2010– Prince William and the Kate Middleton announced their engagement at Clarence House.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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