Word of the day

November 28, 2012

Discrepant – incompatible with other facts; divergence or disagreement, as between facts or claims; difference; marked by disagreement, incompatibility, or inconsistency.


De question of demotion

November 28, 2012
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
And does it also follow that politicians are devoted?

Rural round-up

November 28, 2012

Chemical-free biopesticide offers hope for porina control

AgResearch scientists are working on a chemical-free biopesticide that can kill one of New Zealand’s worst pasture pests – the porina caterpillar.

The caterpillar and with another pest, the grass grub, cost farmers an estimated $100 million a year in destroyed pasture and control measures.

The biopesticide is based on a naturally-occurring bacterium, Yersinia entomophaga,discovered during a search for alternatives to health-threatening chemical pesticides which are being phased out. . .

What would responsible pastoralism mean? (A strategic ‘glue’) – Peter Kerr:

My contention is, by branding our method (pasture Harmonies) and taking that through on products to the consumer, NZ Inc would become the global custodians for responsible pastoralism.

What would that mean?

In one word, ‘glue’.

I argue that as nation of rugged individualists, the thing that has been missing for our farmers, our agritech, our marketers and our publics is a common sense of purpose. . .

The dairy cliff in America – an Alice in Wonderland of the planned – Life Behind the Iron Drape:

A journalist from the land of fiat money and central banking sat down this week and, no doubt with a straight face, wrote the following about the American ‘dairy cliff’:
As if the “fiscal cliff” and the long-suffering farm bill weren’t enough, Iowans may soon face a new dilemma — a “dairy cliff.”
If Congress fails to act in the handful of weeks it has left in its lame-duck session before adjourning for Christmas recess, the nation’s dairy programs for farmers will expire Jan. 1.

Dairy Awards at 300 Entries

Just over 300 entries have so far been received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping is pleased with entry numbers and the level of interest in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

“We are past halfway in our entry target this year, which is great. I’m hoping for a rush of entries this week as our earlybird entry prize draw closes off on Friday,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Clearview chocolates – a little piece of paradise

Combining wine and chocolate may be a combination made in heaven for some, but in reality it’s a sweet collaboration coming out of Te Awanga on Hawke’s Bay’s Cape Coast.

Clearview Estate Winery and local (yet French) chocolatier, Anissa Talbi of La Petite Chocolat have joined forces to create two special dessert wine chocolates, one featuring Sea Red and the other, Late Harvest Chardonnay. . .


If it won’t melt in the heat . . .

November 28, 2012

Cadbury has invented chocolate which can withstand temperatures of up to 40degC .

It’s destined for sale in hot countries including India and Brazil.

As any chocoholic will tell you, chocolate isn’t designed to be bitten and swallowed but savoured for as long as possible which raises a question – if the new chocolate won’t melt in the heat will it still melt in the mouth?

Was The Hobbit worth it?

November 28, 2012

The making of The Hobbit hasn’t been without controversy and the naysayers are doing their best to spoil the party to celebrate its opening.

However, it’s hard to argue with these numbers:

<>National has been actively committed to supporting The Hobbit from the beginning.  We protected 3000 jobs for NZers. We're bloody excited for the world premier!


Building in Fantasyland

November 28, 2012

Questions are being raised about the practicality of Labour’s plan to build 100,000 houses for around $300,000.

Acting Minister of Finance Steven Joyce explains some of the flaws in the proposal:

One of the big issues in Auckland is the availability and price of land. The median cost of an Auckland section is nearly $320,000, which is around 60 percent of the cost of the house, and that compares with around 40 percent in the rest of New Zealand. That is why the Government is putting a big emphasis on land section availability in our biggest city. I have heard there are some people who believe there are thousands of sections around Auckland available for around $50,000, apparently. That is news to most people. I actually suspect we would have to zone all the land to Taupō as residential before we would get to that sort of price.

John Hayes: Has he received any other proposals on housing affordability?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have received a proposal that would take $1.5 billion of borrowed money, magically build $30 billion worth of houses with it, provide those houses to people at low interest rates but apparently at no cost to the Government, and then get the $1.5 billion straight back again. Under this particular “back of the envelope” plan, apparently, two-thirds of these houses will be built in Auckland on all those widely available sections that sell for $50,000. A very esteemed colleague of mine has referred to this plan as Fantasy land.

Section prices in Fantasy land must be considerably cheaper than those in Auckland.

However, the Prime Minister has found somewhere else it would be possible to build a less expensive house:

Michael Woodhouse: Has he heard of any reports that would encourage the building of at least one house for $300,000?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have. I have seen the reports that there would be interest to build one house for $300,000 in Lumsden. The advice I have had is that it is possible to build a house for $300,000 in Lumsden. That house would contain David Cunliffe and it would be called the doghouse.

I suspect it would be possible to build a house for less than that in Lumsden, and of a much higher standard than the average doghouse.


Are they reading the same report?

November 28, 2012

Parliamentary Commissioenr for the Environment Jan Wright,  says that fracking can be done safely if well managed but raises concerns about the rules and safeguards surrounding the practice New Zealand.

“During the course of this investigation I have come to a similar conclusion to the Royal Society which is that fracking is safe if it is properly regulated and managed.

“However I have significant concerns about how fragmented and complicated the regulatory environment for fracking is and about how these rules are being applied.

“If fracking is not done well it can have significant environmental impacts including polluting water and triggering earthquakes.

“I am also concerned that regulation may be too light-handed, particularly if fracking opens the door to a large-scale and widespread oil and gas boom with a lot of different companies involved.

“These concerns form the basis of the next stage of my investigation into fracking which I hope to conclude before the middle of next year.”

That seems reasoned and reasonable but the responses make me wonder if people are reading the same report.

An alliance of 16 environmental groups, hapu and businesses have signed onto a joint statement, demanding a nationwide ban or moratorium on fracking.

The Environmental Defence Society says the report isn’t green light for fracking but is a timely wake-up call for early reform of fracking consenting and monitoring.

“This report reveals the complexities of fracking, the reliance on high quality environmental management to prevent pollution and the gaps in the present regulatory settings,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor. . .

Forest and Bird backs the commissioner’s caution:

Forest & Bird is urging the authorities to adopt a precautionary approach to fracking because much more needs to be known about its environmental impacts and how New Zealand should regulate the practice before approval for more fracking operations can be considered. . .

Straterra, the representative group for the minerals and mining industry, says Dr Wright has provided a much-needed common-sense approach to the debate:

“The minerals and mining sector – like all other industries – fully embraces the need to look after New Zealand water resources and our environment. Examples of fracking so far in New Zealand provide a pretty good track record of having done that.

“The industry deserves to be given the opportunity to submit on work carried out in New Zealand to show how they are protecting New Zealand’s environment as part of their everyday activities, and that is what the Commissioner is allowing to happen,” Mr Baker says.

“It is important that fracking, like any resource sector activity that impacts on the environment, is carried out to a high standard, and that we have good regulations in place for that activity. That said, fracking and new technologies have made a major positive impact on the availability and cost of energy elsewhere in the world.

“Economically, New Zealand can ill afford to turn its back on the opportunities fracking offers in energy security and increased wealth,” Mr Baker says. . .

Todd Energy also welcomes the report:

Todd Energy notes the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) high level conclusion that the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be managed effectively provided operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.

Todd Energy Chief Executive Paul Moore said the company welcomes the Commissioner’s report. “We would like to assure the public that Todd’s hydraulic fracturing operations are effectively designed and executed. . .

Federated Farmers says:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) hydraulic fracturing investigation could reduce unease over the technique.

“Federated Farmers has kept an eye on the PCE investigation given land-based minerals exploration can often occur on or near to farmland,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers energy spokesperson.

“From what I have seen in the PCE’s interim report, she has taken a considered look at fracking. While hydraulic fracturing has been used in New Zealand since 1989, controversy has really only ignited over the past two years, if you excuse the pun.

“From agriculture’s perspective, we are most interested in land access issues and compensation. As well as what risks the technique may pose to ground and surface water.

“The PCE found the distance between where fracking occurs and aquifers can be as much as one to two kilometres. There are shallower fracks and I guess this underscores why the PCE recommends a watching brief.

“The PCE however believes that while contamination of ground or surface water is possible, the probability “is very unlikely”.

“After reading the PCE’s report, I can say that Federated Farmers feels more comfortable with the technique.

“The PCE stresses we frack well in New Zealand but describes regulation and oversight as “labyrinthine“. Clearly, there is a role for Government to ensure regulations are fit for purpose.

“Mining and minerals are important contributors to the economy and employment. Along with agriculture and utilities, mining is one of the few areas where we outperform Australia in terms of productivity,” Mr Crofoot concluded.

Caution and further investigation to ensure that best practice is required and adhered to is sensible.

But the report is clear there is not a case for a moratorium, although that hasn’t stopped those of a dark green and far left persuasion calling for one.


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