Word of the day


Yemeles – careless, negligent.

Rural round-up


Irrigation problems call for new approaches – Gerald Piddock:

Getting to the future first could see New Zealand become a world leader in sustainable, irrigated agriculture, says a visiting Australian academic.

By achieving an innovative vision for agriculture, New Zealand could then trade this to the world market, Dr Peter Ellyard told delegates at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“I think what you need to do is create a vision for irrigated agriculture for the year 2050 and say `this is what we think we could look like’, and say `why not?”‘ . . .

Management of water resources the problem – Gerald Piddock:

The world does not face a water crisis, but a crisis of water management, an international expert on water says.

The solution to future problems around water management is integrated water resources management by managing the resource across all of its different uses, Danish professor Torkil Jonch Clausen told delegates at the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru.

This is currently not being done, he said.

“I don’t think the world faces a water crisis, if we act intelligently. We have all the water we need but we do face a crisis in governance in a world of uncertainty.” . . .

Opuha dam held up as fine irrigation example – Gerald Piddock:

South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam should be sold to the public as what irrigation can achieve, the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru was told. Showcasing such schemes would help improve overall public perceptions of irrigation.

Improving perceptions of irrigation among the wider public could be achieved through better branding and celebrating industry success stories, industry experts said. . .

NZ must make the most of its assets now if it’s to recover – Gerald Piddock:

Growing the levers that generate income is the “only palatable option” in getting New Zealand’s economy back on its feet, ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says.

New Zealand needed to recognise what it has that is world class which include its water resources, potential minerals, tourism and global reputation, he said in an address at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“They are tremendously powerful areas of strategic advantage.” . . .

‘Wow Factor’ Farm Wins Supreme Title in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Opio farmers Michael and Karen Blomfield, the owners of an “industry-leading” dairy farm, have won the Supreme award in the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were lavish in their praise of the couple’s 220ha former sheep and beef farm, describing it as an “impeccable and aesthetically pleasing farm with the wow factor”.

“This dairy business can be highlighted as demonstrating all the disciplines we would have expected of a medium scale operation that epitomises near optimum environmental, social and financial sustainability.” . . .

Doug’s drought solution leverages water – Jon Morgan:

Doug Avery admits he’s “a bit flash” on the environment and the need to build good soils.

That’s because the 2010 South Island Farmer of the Year has been through the pain of long drought years that hit his Marlborough farm in the 1980s and 90s.

The “decarbonising” of the Marlborough farmland by generations of farmers left him embarrassed to be a farmer, he told a Hawke’s Bay Future Farming Conference.

“But farmers are not the problem,” he said. “We are the solution. As landholders of this country we occupy most of the land that is not in bush or mountain pasture. We must be the guardians of this valuable and ongoing resource.” . . .

Wool must mean wool – Bruce Wills:

What would happen if a local wine company produced a nice bottle of sparkling wine, so nice, they put ‘Champagne’ on the label? In a matter of days they’d feel some hefty legal muscle because since the 1890’s, the French have protected ‘Champagne’ with passion. The French could so easily have given a Gallic shrug, uttered sacré bleu and seen Champagne become another generic name for sparkling wine. Having once tried a $2.99 bottle of American ‘Champagne,’ there’s a few choice words I could use to explain why the French should protect their $7 billion industry.

The Champagne houses couldn’t do this without the active backing of their government. If you want to deal with France or Europe for that matter, you have to respect what intellectual property means. While I’m passionate about wool, the industry around it has sometimes resembled an epic disaster movie. After the boom years of the 1950’s we got so caught up in minutia and infighting, we lost control of our most precious asset being the word ‘wool’ itself. . .

Orchards struggle to find workers – Peter Watson:

Some orchardists are scrambling for pickers as the apple harvest reaches its busiest period.

A late start to the season means the harvest has been compressed into a shorter period.

This has pushed up the demand for staff.

However, growers are finding it difficult to recruit and retain experienced pickers in particular, as foreign workers resume their travels and Kiwis often find the work too hard for the money they can earn. . .


Controversial wood strategy shows promise:

The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) released its Strategic Action Plan for Forestry at the FORESTWOOD 2012 national conference for the forest and wood products sector in Wellington last month.

At the ForestWood Conference a new action plan emerged from within that strategy – one which strongly recommends a steep change and leap forward for the industry. Richard Phillips, of North Carolina State University, made a compelling presentation for a new “mega-mill” in the form of a one million tonne per annum integrated pulp mill built to also house integrated biomass and biofuel production cells. . .

Think solar when building a barn – Business Blog:

Anyone constructing a new agricultural building should consider maximising additional income from a roof-mounted solar installation, says Strutt & Parker.

The firm has just opened one of its first solar barn projects at EW Davies Farms in Thaxted, Essex (pictured below) and says that even with the lower Feed-in Tariffs a solar barn should pay for itself in around 20 years. . .

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. What was the name of the 1980s TV series about the public service called?

2. Who wrote the play and TV series?

3. What was the name of the main female character?

4. Were those the good old days?

5.  It’s rire in French, risata in Italian, risa in Spanish and katakata  in Maori, what is it in English?

Points for answers:

Greg won an electronic bunch of flowers with five right.

Alwyn also won an electornic bunch of flowers with five right and a bonus for more information.

Paul got four and a smile for the guess.

Ray got flowers too (presuming as above meant he nknew the answers Alwyn & Paul gave) and a grin, even though I’m not sure I know his wife well enough to extract the full humour.

PDM got four and a bonus for added comment and not smoking.

Grant also wins an electronic bunch of flowers with five right – that will teach me not to be specific with the questions:)

GD gets a bonus for popping in.

Adam got four and a bonus for positivity with #4.


Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Most already manage extended parental leave


News stories and commentators covering the issue of extending Paid Parental Leave to six months have almost all been in favour of it.

The  importance of breast feeding and bonding isn’t disputed. Any of us who have had children will also acknowledge the challenges of adjusting to life with a baby and without enough sleep.

Those are all reasons which support people taking time off work when they have babies but a few of us have asked why the public should pay them while doing so and the public, via a Herald poll, support us:

16300–16350 votes
National’s veto on extending paid parental leave – right or wrong?

  1. Right  (60%)
  2. Wrong  (34%)
  3. I’m not sure (6%)

This is an unscientific poll but stronger evidence comes from the fact that most people take extended leave anyway.

Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services manager David Lowe said most people took six to 12 months off when they had a baby.

Those who did come back at 14 weeks usually did so because of financial constraints and were often “unsettled”.

“If you have a look at the returning parent and the child, everyone is more settled if they take a little bit longer off.”

He goes on to say a longer period would be better for parents and employers wouldn’t mind but also acknowledges the financial constraints facing the government.

But if most people are already managing extended leave without the public paying for it, there is no need for an extension of PPL, at least without a means test.

Aussies could learn from us


Rather than us catching up with Australia, there are areas where they could emulate us:

Australia has a lot to learn from the infrastructure reform strategy underway  across the Tasman, says Bill English.

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister was speaking at an infrastructure leaders  lunch in Sydney today.

He said New Zealand was a boutique market in which his government can do   interesting things.

“We are applying to our own balance sheet pretty straight forward intuitive   commercial concepts,” Mr English said.

Chief executive of peak forum Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Brendan Lyon said the investment tasks the Key government faced could serve as a case   study for Australia’s federal and state governments, which continue to grapple   with major reform decisions.

“There are strong parallels between the path taken by Minister English and  what we will need to see out of Australia’s governments over the next several   years,” Mr Lyon said. . .

The mining sector in Australia is doing very well and farming is benefitting from increased world demand for protein but the rest of the Australian economy is struggling.

We often look west across the Tasman in the hope of learning something from the Aussies but there are times when they might be able to look east and learn from us.

Dare we hope?


Dare we hope that Rob Hosking is right:

. . . Underlying this appears to be a further calculation: that the Kyoto Protocol and its various policy offshoots is not going to be around, at least in its current form, by the time anyone has to make a decision on this. . . .

The Kyoto Protocol is the triumph of politics and bureaucracy over science and sense.

Initiatives like the Global Research Alliance which Climate Change Minister Tim Groser launched in Copenhagen are far more likely to do some good for the environment than the protocol which in some instances will do more harm than good.

Whether or not the suggestion that the protocol won’t survive is right, it does appear the government is sticking to its word that it won’t force agriculture into the ETS until the industry has the technology to counter emissions and our competitors face similar measures and the costs which go with them.

April 13 in history


1111 –  Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

1250 The Seventh Crusade was defeated in Egypt, Louis IX of France was captured.

1256 – The Grand Union of the Augustinian order formed when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

1570 Guy Fawkes, English Catholic conspirator, was born (d. 1606).

1598 Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots.

1742 George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah made its world-premiere in Dublin.

1743 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was born  (d. 1826).

1796 The first elephant ever seen in the United States arrived from India.

1808 Antonio Meucci, Italian inventor, was born (d. 1889).

1829 The British Parliament granted freedom of religion to Roman Catholics.

1849 Hungary became a republic.

1852 F.W. Woolworth, American businessman, was born  (d. 1919).

1861 American Civil War:  Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces.

1866 Butch Cassidy, American outlaw, was born  (d. 1908).

1868  The Abyssinian War ended as British and Indian troops captured Magdala.

1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art  was founded.

1873 The Colfax Massacre took place.

1892 Arthur Travers ‘Bomber’ Harris, British Air Force commander, was born  (d. 1984).

1892 – Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, Scottish inventor, was born  (d. 1973).

1895 Sir Arthur Fadden, thirteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1973).

1896 The National Council of Women was formed in Christchurch.

NCW formed in Christchurch

1902– James C. Penney opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

1902 Philippe de Rothschild, French race car driver and wine grower, was born (d. 1988).

1906 Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1989).

1919 The Establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops massacred at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India. At least 1200 wounded.

1919  Eugene V. Debs entered prison at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for speaking out against the draft during World War I.

1920  Liam Cosgrave, fifth Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1921 Foundation of the Spanish Communist Workers’ Party.

1923 Don Adams, American actor and comedian, was born (d. 2005).

1931 Jon Stone, co-creator of Sesame Street, was born (d. 1997).

1939  In India, the Hindustani Lal Sena (Indian Red Army) was formed and vows to engage in armed struggle against the British.

1941 Pact of neutrality between the USSR and Japan was signed.

1943  World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners of war executed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre was announced, alienating the Western Allies, the Polish government in exile in London, from the Soviet Union.

1943 James Boarman, Fred Hunter, Harold Brest and Floyd G. Hamilton took part in an attempt to escape from Alcatraz .

1943 The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’ss birth.

1944 Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Soviet Union were established.

1945 Judy Nunn, Australian actress, was born.

1945 German troops killed more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen.

1945 Ninth American army crossesdThe Elbe River.

1948 The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.

1949 Christopher Hitchens, English-born journalist, critic, and author, was born (d. 2011).

1953  CIA director Allen Dulles launched the mind-control program MKULTRA.

1956 Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne, New Zealand rally driver, was born (d. 2003).

1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for Lilies of the Field.

1969 Closure of the Brisbane tramway network.

1970 An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 exploded, endangering the crew and causing major damage to the spacecraft en route to the Moon.

1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.

1975 Bus Massacre in Lebanon: Attack by the Phalangist resistance killed 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.

1976 The United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

1983 Harold Washington was elected as the first African-American mayor of Chicago.

1984 India moved into Siachen Glacier thus annexing more territory from the Line of Control.

1987 Portugal and the People’s Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.

1992 The Great Chicago Flood.

1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win The Masters Tournament.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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