Word of the day

August 30, 2012

Conscience– an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior; the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action; source of moral or ethical judgment or pronouncement; conformity to one’s own sense of right conduct; the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong; the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual; an inhibiting sense of what is prudent; the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego.


Need attitude change not age change

August 30, 2012

MPs face another conscience vote tonight, this time on the sale of liquor.

Graeme Edgeler explains there are three choices and the manner of voting might not lead to the result favoured by most.

I’ve never supported a return to a purchase age in both licensed or off-license premises of 20.

I was initially supportive of a split age – 18 in licensed premises and 20 for off licence outlets.

But on further consideration am convinced that will merely be a band-aid on one symptom of a much wider problem of alcohol abuse and misuse.

That is by no means confined to 18 and 19 year-olds and it would be most unfair to restrict the majority who drink responsibly because a few of their contemporaries don’t, while doing nothing for the many over 19 who drink to excess.

We do need to address the attitude to alcohol and the problems associated with it but that won’t be achieved by tinkering with the purchase age.


Rural round-up

August 30, 2012

Greens and Labour waging war on overseas invest – Allan Barber:

The Greens’ private members bill restricting, in other words banning, all sales of farm land of more than 5 hectares to an overseas investor was defeated last week by two votes. Under a Labour/Green coalition, ably assisted by NZ First and the Maori Party, the terrifying thought is this piece of xenophobic ignorance would be passed into law.

There’s a more than remote possibility of a change of Government in 2014, so this, or some variation of it, could become Government policy and would easily gain a majority in the house. Back in March David Shearer put up his first private member’s bill on the same issue which sought to ensure substantial extra jobs and exports from foreign investment. There were some embarrassing omissions, but the intent was clear, if not as draconian as Russel Norman’s bill. . .

Abigail Vickers, the type of person the dairy industry needs –  Milking on the Moove:

The May 2011 issue of the Dairy Exporter has an article on Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the year, Abigail Vickers.

At the time of the article, Abigail was 25 years old and in her second year as a dairy assistant. She has a goal of owning her own small scale organic farm, that doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in dairy. She already has 5 cows which she leases out, but would like to grow the herd to around 50 cows.
She entered the dairy industry to learn as much as she could about pasture management.
What a great example of a driven young person who has their act together. How many second year dairy assistants have started building up their herd? I don’t know many herd managers who have started building up their herd? She is an example of the type of people the dairy industry needs . . .

Omakau farmer outguns Aussies – Shawn McAvinue:

A heartfelt speech helped a Central Otago grazier beat her Aussie counterparts for an agricultural business award. 

Omakau dairy farmer Jan Manson said she was “taken aback” when she won the Rabobank business development award.

    The $5000 award is part of the executive development programme, which helps agricultural businesses in New Zealand and Australia develop growth strategies. . .

Dairy farmers see milk money in cow pats – Shawn McAvinue:

What creates the perfect cowpat is a hot topic.  Shawn McAvinue   visits a Central Southland dairy farm where staff  are making and mixing quality feed for more milk.

What goes in must come out. 

And Southern Centre Dairies owner Alfons Zeestraten is spending a bit more time examining the green stuff to ensure he gets quality milk. 

You see, he says the ideal cowpat should have the consistency of a children’s chocolate yoghurt. . .

This is a great time to be a low input pasture based farmer and it’s going to get better – Pasture to Profit:

Chaotic extreme weather conditions have caused the worst drought (for more than 50 years) across most of North America.The feed shortages will impact on every dairy farmer. I feel very sorry for those farmers directly affected. Having worked in Australia during years of extreme droughts I know it’s very tough & stressful for both farmers & rural professionals.
Corn/Soybean & to a lesser extent wheat prices are about to substantially increase. All purchased dairy feed will become very expensive. Low input pasture based farmers who don’t buy feed in will avoid the much higher costs but benefit from the expected higher milk prices. . .

Entering Dairy Awards Motivates And Enthuses:

Unique opportunities, enhanced farm businesses and stronger networks are some of the major benefits gained from entering the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Plans for the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are underway, with details to be confirmed at a conference in October. The awards run the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

In reflecting on their participation and success in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, 2011 national winners Jason and Lisa Suisted say the experience delivered a new perspective to their farm business. . .

It’s farming  Jim but not as we know it – Willie Leferink:

Last week, I presented at the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences summit of farming under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

While many of the presenters focused on what we can do right now, I instead focused on what would happen if farming was included in the ETS.

I was brutally frank with my assessment, but would you expect anything less from a Kiwi-Dutchman?

Right now, there is a lot of work underway to deal with the methane belched from the rumen of cattle.

I take my hat off to the scientists who are trying to find solutions over those who have taken 30-pieces of council silver to ‘police’ farmers. . .

Arable on the Rise:

Arable farming is on the rise again, on the back of good prices and consistently good profitability.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released an analysis of arable production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on a model of a Canterbury cropping operation and an overview of typical financial performance, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders. . .

Honey the hot new taste topic

Forget the vegemite/marmite debate – honey is emerging as the hot topic in taste differentiation.

Where once people believed honey was simply honey, a new national competition has highlighted the distinct taste and flavour differences in New Zealand monofloral honey – honey made predominantly from one single nectar source.

The inaugural Airborne Honey MonoFloral Honey Competition aims to raise awareness of New Zealand’s unique honey types, and show the outstanding flavour and taste that can be achieved with stringent quality control and traceability from hive to jar. . .

Nitrogen best option to boost feed for lambing

With bumper lamb numbers due this spring, having the best feed available will be a priority for farmers wanting to achieve optimum live-weight growth, especially with subdued market prices.

Sheep scanning results are showing improvement over last season with 2012 lamb numbers expected to be about 4% up on last year which means an extra 1 million mouths to feed this spring.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Research and Development Manager Warwick Catto says with lambing rates up, the quality and quantity of nutrition will play an important role in determining growth of stock, and nitrogen has a big role to play. . .

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2010 scoops Double Trophies at Bragato Wine Awards in New Zealand

Champion Pinot Noir Trophy & Reserve Champion Wine Trophy

Rockburn Wines’ Pinot Noir 2010 has continued its record of highest success, this time in the prestigious Bragato Wine competition in New Zealand.

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2010 took out the Mike Wolter Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir and also the Richard Smart Trophy for the Reserve Champion Wine. Over 530 wines were entered into the competition that celebrates growers first and foremost. . .


Job ready – or not

August 30, 2012

Which bit of job-ready do people opposing Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s determination that beneficiaries with work expectations will face sanctions if they refuse to apply for drug-tested jobs not understand?

Expecting employees to be drug-free is a reasonable expectation from employers.

Expecting beneficiaries who could work to be ready for work is also reasonable.

What’s wrong with a sanction for those who could work but do something which makes them ineligible for a job they are otherwise capable of doing?


Transparency International co-founder dies

August 30, 2012

Jeremy Pope, ONZM (1938-2012) who was the co-founder of Transparency International has died.

At Transparency International (TI), Pope co-created the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which identified best and worst practices related to corruption and ranked countries accordingly. He wrote the international organization’s “manual” on preventing corruption entitled Confronting Corruption: The Elements of a National Integrity System, which was translated into more than 20 different languages.

A barrister in New Zealand and England, Pope worked for 17 years as legal counsel and then director of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Legal Division. He was secretary to the Commonwealth Observer Group that oversaw Zimbabwe’s independence elections in 1980 and was a member of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons that visited South Africa in 1986 and triggered the release of Nelson Mandela.

Pope wrote guide books about New Zealand in the early 1970s and 1980s with his wife, Diana. During the 1970s he was active with the “Save Manapouri” environmental movement in New Zealand. He was for many years editor of the New Zealand Law Journal and the Commonwealth Law Bulletin.

When Pope moved to London in the 1970s, he kept close touch with New Zealand events, advising on international solutions including in relation to the South African Rugby Tour. In 1982 he became the founding trustee of Interights, which is an international human rights NGO.

In 2007, Jeremy was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for “services to international affairs.” He served as a Commissioner on the New Zealand Human Rights Commission (Te Kāhui Tika Tangata) from 31 January 2008 until his death. . .

Corruption is a plague and one of the weapons needed to fight it is transparency.

The world is a better place for the work of Mr Pope.


Joined not separated

August 30, 2012

Quote of the day:

. . . we are nations joined by a large ocean, rather than separated by it. Too often the obvious potential of the Pacific is overlooked. We need to focus more on the strengths and assets of our part of the world, rather than pondering on what we allegedly don’t have.  Prime Minsiter John Key in his address to the Pacific Island Forum opening ceremony.

It’s good advice for more than the forum.


Farmers face ‘perfect policy tsunami’

August 30, 2012

Farmers would face a perfect policy tsunami in the agricultural policies of a Labour-Greens government, Federated Farmers vice-president Dr William Rolleston said.

This tsunami included adding agricultural emissions to the ETS, resource rentals for water, land and water plans put out by regional councils around the country and a capital gains tax. 

 It was not unreasonable to think a Labour-Greens government would be formed in 2014, he told farmers and scientists at a forum at Lincoln on the emissions trading scheme organised by the New Zealand Institute on Agricultural and Horticultural Science. 

 “We cannot sustain a tsunami of policies that drowns agriculture in a sea of red ink,” he said.

He gave examples of costs a Labour-Greens government would impose on farming including $40,000 a year if agriculture was forced into the ETS.

MAF modelling showed that had agriculture been in the ETS sheep farmers would have made surpluses in only two of the last four years and those surpluses would have been $4000 and $468.

Water resource rentals would add to costs, turning small profits into big losses.

   All of New Zealand farms would be foreign-owned and all would be dairying because it would be the only way for land owners to achieve an economic return, he said. 

Dr Rolleston also spoke of the extreme nutrient limits being set in land and water plans which would drive production levels down to those of hobby farms.   

    It could also trigger a banking crisis as the reality of digesting these policies all at once could sink the economy. Farmers would walk off their land and the banks would face a $48 billion write down of the debt owed to them in the rural sector. 

    “Foreign buyers funded by foreign banks would be the winners,” Dr Rolleston said. 

    Opposition to genetic modification meant the agricultural sector was being denied the tools to address its environmental responsibilities in the short timeframe demanded by environmentalists. 

    “It’s vital that the Greens and Labour wake up to the risks this policy tsunami imposes to the entire economy.”

This is strong speaking from the vice-president of an organisation which is non-partisan but it is not an exaggeration.

The Timaru Herald reports on farmers’ fears of needing consent to farm under Environment Canterbury’s land and water plan.

Farmers in other regions have similar concerns and if they are worried now they will be even more so under a Labour-Greens government.

I listened to an Opposition MP speak at a seminar recently.

It was under Chatham House rules so I cannot give any details. But I will say it left all of us listening with exactly the same view Dr Rolleston has on the devastating impact a Labour-Greens government would have not just on farming but the wider economy and society too.


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