Falklands vs Malvinas

March 12, 2013

The people who live there call them the Falklands.

To the people of Argentina they’re Las malvinas and  they say the cold, wind swept islands in the South Atlantic are theirs.

The islanders have voted overwhelmingly to remain an overseas British territory.

Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum – on a turnout of more than 90% – 1,513 were in favour, while just three votes were against.

It follows pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the UK.

The UK government welcomed the result and urged “all countries” to accept it and respect the islanders’ wishes.

The referendum had asked: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” . . .

Argentina still isn’t convinced.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has maintained that the Falkland islanders’ wishes are not relevant in what is a territorial issue.

Most Argentines regard the islands, which they call Las Malvinas, as Argentine and their recovery is enshrined in the national constitution.

Journalist Celina Andreassi, of the Argentina Independent, said: “The majority of people here agree with the official position that the issue is not about self-determination and it is not about whether the islanders consider themselves British or not – because obviously everyone knows that they do and that they are British.

“The issue for most people here is whether the territory is Argentine or British, not the people themselves.”

But the issue for the people who live there is that this is their home and has been for generations.


Word of the day

March 12, 2013

Imprimis – in the first place; first in order.


Why is NZ lamb tastier?

March 12, 2013

An email says:

A friend in London asked me about why Scottish lamb isn’t as good as New Zealand lamb. I thought you might know, or might know someone who knows what the actual difference in it is.

I’ve had lamb at Gleneagles and it was less dense in texture and a different flavour, perhaps more intense lanolin, but I am not sure.

All lamb isn’t equal.

John Key was one of the judges at the Glammies last year and said it was easy to detect  distinct differences in taste and texture between the entries.

A Spanish speciality is baby lamb which has a very different taste and texture from the older lamb we’re accustomed to.

Breeding and feeding both influence taste, even if the meat is prepared and cooked the same way.

I am not sure if climate and soils also have an influence which might explain why New Zealand lamb is tastier  than Scottish lamb and welcome answers to the email question from anyone who knows more.


Rural round-up

March 12, 2013

2013 Glammies victor crowned:

Beating out over 180 entrants, Mangapoike Ltd, represented by Pat Sheriff from Gisborne, has been crowned the 2013 Glammies Grand Champion.

Their Composite lamb, processed at Silver Ferns Farm Takapau, took out the title at the final taste test, after being tasted next to 20 other finalists. 

The final was judged by Iron Maidens, Sarah Walker and Sophie Pascoe, food writer Lauraine Jacobs, Beef + Lamb ambassador chef Darren Wright and head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes. 

Hawkes noted the high level of quality this year, saying it was a step up from last year’s competition. . .

Drought conditions perfect for grape growers:

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said Gisborne’s growers have been enjoying the highly favourable conditions.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in Gisborne in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic. . .

DOC, Green Taliban, everyone take note. Cows are good for the climate [must watch] – Whaleoil:

Antony Watts at Watts up with That? says

Imagine, shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent the land in Africa from going to desert because scientists thought the land couldn’t sustain them, only to find the effort was for naught and the idea as to why was totally wrong. That alone was a real eye opener. Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that makes you ask, “gee why hasn’t anybody seen this before?”. This one of those times. This video below is something I almost didn’t watch, because my concerns were triggered by a few key words in the beginning. … I want every one of you, no matter what side of the climate debate you live in, to watch this and experience that light bulb moment as I did. The key here is to understand that desertification is one of the real climate changes we are witnessing as opposed to some the predicted ones we often fight over.

I like to add my recommendation that this is a Must See video, no matter what you think about Climate Change currently. . .

Now that is interesting – Gravedodger:

Several blogs are embedding a video featuring a 23 min lecture part, of an hour full length effort on combating desertification by Allan Savory who in the early years of his study advocated culling elephant herds to combat desertification on the vulnerable fringes of the deserts of Africa.
He has now worked out what many graziers have known for years but has remained hidden due to an unpopular perception stance in great debates on denuding of soils contributing to degredation.

Most farmers I have encountered in over 60 years of life are basically environmentalists if only because they understand a poorly maintained machine will eventually fail often with devastating outcomes. Yes there are some tossers in farming, there is at least one in every bus. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners Progress:

Winning the 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title has proved a natural progression for Russell and Nadine Meade.

The couple won the2010 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year title and set about developing innovative and flexible investment opportunities to achieve farm business ownership.

Now 50% sharemilking 220 cows for Barbara Sullivan at Whakatane, the couple took home cash and prizes in winning the top prize worth $16,600 at the awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night. . .

Organic certifier points to producers and consumers for double digit growth:

The latest organic market report launched on Wednesday (6th March) at Parliament confirms double digit growth of organics in New Zealand over the past 3 years and comes as great news for organic certifier BioGro, its certified producers and consumers.

The organic sector has grown 25 per cent in the past three years – from $275 million in 2009 to $350 million in 2012. The export and domestic market for New Zealand organic products has grown on average 8 per cent a year at a time of global recession.

BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau says the report, funded by the organic sector umbrella group Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is a really positive sign of the increased demand for organics amongst consumers. ‘It supports the trends we are seeing with dramatic growth in certified wine and extension into health & body care products’. . .


What a waste

March 12, 2013

There is never a good time to waste public money but if ever there was a worse time, it’s now.

Our economy is growing, but  slowly, and many or our trading partners are still struggling with the impact of the Global Financial Crisis.

We’ve got the added cost of the Christchurch rebuild,  the need to cut back because of the extravagances and mismanagement of the previous Labour-led government and almost all of the country is facing drought.

There is no fat in the system.

National has been focussed on getting more for less from public services which requires very careful management and fiscal rigour.

The opposition has shown it hasn’t got the seriousness of the problem by opposing every move the government has made to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Now the petition calling for a referendum on the policy to sell minority stake in a few state owned energy companies is to be presented to parliament.

It’s supposed to be a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum but this is a politician’s initiated one.

It was never anything more than a political stunt and carrying on with it now that the sales process for the sale of up to 49% of shares in Mighty River Power has begun reinforces that.

If there are enough valid signatures to force a referendum it will be too late. MRP will be under mixed ownership and at least one of the other companies could be too before it’s held.

Regardless of the timing of the referendum and the partial sales this is an expensive exercise in futility.

National campaigned on its Mixed Ownership Model and won.  The Labour and Green Parties and their potential coalition partners New Zealand First and Mana campaigned against it and lost.

The partial sales are a fundamental part of National’s financial plan and the referendum will do nothing but provide an opportunity for grandstanding by the opposition.

It’s time for them to realise they’ve lost and accept the importance of not wasting public money.

UPDATE:

Keeping Stock shows it’s not just money being wasted.


Farmers must adapt

March 12, 2013

Acting Prime Minister Bill English says farmers will have to adapt to the increasing risk of drought.

Mr English said while the Government was currently providing hardship assistance to families, farmers would have to adapt to the increasing risk of drought.

“We’ve got research in place for instance to find more drought resistant grasses and farmers have for years been adapting their management practices.”

He’s right on both the need to adapt and that farmers have being doing so for years.

North Otago has always been drought prone.

We were the first region in the country to get a rural water scheme because recurring drought made farming so difficult.

A lot of work has gone into drought-proofing including research into pasture species which withstand dry weather and practices which maximise moisture retention. But the best drought-proofing we’ve got is irrigation.

Investigations into irrigation started early last century and plans to improve and expand existing schemes are still going on.

We now have a critical mass of irrigated land to mitigate the worst effects of drought for not just farms with irrigation but the wider district.

Farmers on dry land now have options to buy feed or grazing from, or sell stock to, those with irrigation and money still flows into town.

Nothing beats water from the skies but irrigation is a good second best which areas which have previously been able to rely on rain will have to consider if the risk of drought is increasing.


Lost tune

March 12, 2013

“Everyone is born with a song in their heart,” Grandma said.

“It’s just a pity that some people lose the tune on the journey from their hearts to their mouths.”


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