Word of the day

March 15, 2013

Hugger-mugger – disorderly confusion; muddle; in utter disorder; secret, clandestine.


Rural round-up

March 15, 2013

North Island drought confirmed. West Coast makes request:

Federated Farmers welcomes confirmation that the entire North Island has been declared a medium scale adverse event due to drought. The West Coast is today forwarding its request to the Ministry for Primary Industries for a medium scale adverse event declaration.

“The 2012-13 drought came late in the season but is North Island wide and that’s something Wellingtonians know all too well,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“I can now confirm the West Coast of the South Island is also requesting a medium scale adverse event declaration due to drought. . .

Dairy Farmers Say Core Financial Skills Getting Them Through Summer Drought:

As drought bites throughout the North Island, Kevin White is one dairy farmer who, at first glance, seems to have a secret for staving off panic.

Kevin has farmed for seven years and currently manages a 350-cow herd just south of Te Aroha. He says he’s like every other dairy farmer around the North Island, in that he’s watching the clouds and hoping for rain. In the meantime, he says the key to getting through and managing anxiety levels is pretty simple: have a plan.

He completed the National Diploma in Agribusiness Management two years ago, having started it during the last drought in 2007/08, and says, “one major thing I took away was that smart farmers always have a contingency plan in place for the worst case scenarios – in this case a major drought. . .

Farm Days Starring Fonterra Milk Tankers And Milk This Weekend And Next:

Fonterra Cooperative Group is bringing its high-tech milk tankers to the special ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days taking place this Sunday, March 17, in Wellington and Rotorua and next weekend in Tauranga (Sunday, March 24). Farm Day is completely free and is open to the public.

“Every one at Federated Farmers thanks Fonterra Cooperative Group because these milk tankers could rival the Star Ship Enterprise,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“What is more Fonterra is bringing wholesome milk products to try. A taster for Fonterra Milk in Schools, which by Term One next year, will see most New Zealand primary-aged children enjoying the goodness of dairy every school day through free milk in schools.

“It is truly exciting to have New Zealand’s largest cooperative and exporter partnering with us on Farm Days 2013. . . .

Don’t Wait for Rain, Drill Now:

A leading world authority on soil science is recommending that, even in severe drought conditions, farmers should be drilling new seed now.

Dr John Baker says even after weeks of drought, seeds can still survive in the ground until the weather breaks. He explains that dry sowing is common in Australia and even Wairarapa.

There could still be moisture vapour in the soil even if there’s no usable liquid moisture present he says. But even if there’s no moisture vapour the seeds won’t come to any harm until it rains. . .

Kapiti Most Awarded Cheesemaker:

Kapiti has received the highest number of awards at the 2013 Champion of Cheese Awards, taking away a total of four category trophies and 22 medals.
Fifty nine cheese companies entered 413 cheeses in this year’s competition, with the winners announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham.

As well as winning the Champion Washed Rind, Champion Blue Cheese, New World Champion Favourite and Champion Original Cheese category trophies, Kapiti cheeses won a slew of gold, silver and bronze medals for a wide range of their cheese across almost all categories.

Founded in 1984, Kapiti prides itself on being dedicated to using the finest New Zealand produce to create cheese which is original, unique and handcrafted. . .

Trees on Farms Workshop:

The first Trees on Farms workshop for 2013 focuses on riparian plantings, a hot topic for the country’s dairy farmers.

The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord is set to be in place for the start of the dairy season in August, and will cover all of the country’s 12,000 dairy farmers, not just Fonterra suppliers. Every Fonterra farmer’s annual Farm Dairy and Environmental assessment and the company’s conditions of supply require all Accord-type waterways to be fenced by the end of this year. But fencing off waterways is only part of the sustainable dairying equation – dairy farmers also need to get their heads around how to plant and manage their riparian areas.

This straight talking workshop has been specifically designed for dairy farmers, by dairy farmers, all locals and all experienced tree planters, and will particularly look at how riparian planting can provide cost effective, sustainable long term land use solutions. . .

Sweet as! Long hot summer results in delicious tomato crop at great prices:

The long hot summer has proved the ideal climate for tomato growing, with a bumper crop of sweet ripe fruit.

TomatoesNZ, Vice Chairman, Frank Van Rijen said that with tomatoes retailing around $2/kg it’s an ideal time to enjoy plenty of your favourite tomato recipes.

“Fresh tomatoes are great eating and excellent value right now,” said Mr Van Rijen. “If you are planning on making preserves or pasta sauces or soups to bottle or freeze for winter, then this is also the ideal time to take advantage of great seasonal prices. . .

Organic Lamb All About Queenstown:

Twin Rivers Organic Lamb launches today to bring local organic lamb cuts and whole lambs to Queenstown through its online store.

“The need to localise food and celebrate New Zealand Produce is so important. We want to share that with kiwis in a way they can relate to though.”

“People live in Queenstown for the lifestyle and that’s what we wanted to promoteeating quality meat and produce with good friends and family in a beautiful place. We love it.” Said company Director Dave Hockly. . .

Young talent to be tested in Gore:

Eight of the best Young Farmers will be competing at the Otago-Southland Regional Final Saturday 23 March in Gore for the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

Contest hopefuls will complete four different Challenges during the Practical Day at the Southern Field Days Site and then straight into the Evening Show at the St James Theatre.

By the end of the evening one contestant will have secured their spot at the Grand Final (16-18 May, Auckland) and their share of the Regional Prize Pool worth $13,000 thanks to ANZ, AGMARDT, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, and Husqvarna. The top prize is worth an impressive $9000. . . .


Competition works

March 15, 2013

Chris Tremain, Associate Tourism Minister, welcomed Hawaiian Airlines to New Zealand yesterday and today Air New Zealand has slashed fares to Hawaii.

Air New Zealand has slashed its fares to Honolulu, as Hawaiian Airlines announced it was offering three flights a week from Auckland to the Pacific island.

An average round trip economy ticket on Hawaiian Airlines will cost around $1800, which includes meals. Air New Zealand is currently offering return flights from $1000, without meals.

From June, Air New Zealand, which also flies to Honolulu three times a week, is increasing its capacity to the destination, offering bigger planes that will hold 60 more passengers, as well as offering premium economy and flat beds in business class. . .

Isn’t competition grand?


Friday’s answers

March 15, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Peace begins with a smile.”?

2. Who was the spy hunter in Graham Greene’s book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?

3. It’s sourire in French, sorriso in Italian, sonrisa in Spanish and I couldn’t find a noun in Maori but the verb is mene.

4. What’s the name of this song and what is the last line of this verse:

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

. .   . . .  . . . .   . . . . .

5. What five things will always make you smile?

Points for answers:

Alwyn wins an electronic basket of stone fruit with a clean-sweep and a bonus for correcting my literary slip.

Andrei also wins an electronic basket of stone fruit with a  clean sweep and a bonus for making me smile with his answer to #5.

Willdwan got four right and a bonus for making me grin with his/her answer to #5.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


The case for irrigation

March 15, 2013

Drought Officially declared throughout North Island:

A state of drought has been officially declared throughout the entire North Island by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy today.

“Local groups have asked for regional declarations of drought in the past week, and it has become clear that nearly all farmers in every part of the North Island are facing very difficult dry conditions.

“Extra Government funding will now be available to Rural Support Trusts who work closely with farmers, providing support and guidance.

“There will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available from Work and Income, through the Ministry of Social Development. These are equivalent to the unemployment benefit and are available to those in extreme hardship.

“Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available. This is a difficult time for rural families and they need to know that the Government and all New Zealanders are behind them.

“Some rain is forecast this weekend which is welcome news. However we will need more than this to help prepare for the winter and set up for next spring.

“Parts of the South Island are also very dry, in particular the Grey and Buller districts. We are keeping a close watch on all further regions.

“I’m very pleased with how communities have pulled together to help each other out. Federated Farmers have been operating a ‘Feedline’ to match farmers with feed supplies, which is receiving good interest.

“Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, the Ministry for Primary Industries and others have also been providing practical support.

“Farmers should contact their accountants or the IRD if they need help or flexibility with making tax payments, and standard hardship assistance is available from Work and Income,” says Mr Guy.

Previously drought has been declared in Northland and North Auckland (February 27) and in the South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay regions (March 6).

Regularly updated drought information is available at:
http://www.mpi.govt.nz/environment-natural-resources/funding-programmes/primary-sector-recovery/droughts/dry-conditions-2012-13-faqs

This is a very strong argument for irrigation.

Nothing beats water from the sky. But when nature doesn’t co-operate irrigation helps to protect soil, keeps pastures and crops growing, stock in good condition and money flowing from farms through the rest of the economy.

It gives farmers options, makes farms more resilient and reduces the physical, psychological and financial stress of droughts.

Farmers have various tools in the drought-proofing box but none of them is as good as irrigation.


Lower rate, higher take

March 15, 2013

The tax and spend Opposition parties weren’t impressed when National made changes to taxes.

But the changes are working as they were meant to:

. . . On the revenue side the Govt is now getting the benefit of its broad-based,low-rate tax regime where the loopholes have been closed off: the consequence is total tax collected on nominal GDP is now running faster than it would have on the old regime. . .

A broad-based lower rate tax regime with loopholes closed is fairer than the punish-the-rich and disicentivise disincentivise-productivity tax policies of the opposition.

They either don’t understand, or don’t care, that lower tax rates can and do lead to higher tax takes.


Two choices

March 15, 2013

Voters next year have two choices.

A National-led government that understands the importance of low inflation:

. . . These forecasts of low inflation are good for New Zealand households, particularly those on lower or fixed incomes. In addition, average floating home mortgage interest rates are now around half what they were 5 years ago in 2008. For a family with a $200,000 mortgage, that is saving them around $200 a week.

Or the alternative:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, there are a number of alternative policies that would put substantial benefits of current low inflation and low interest rates at risk, and that would, of course, cost New Zealand households dearly—for example, trying to artificially and substantially devalue the exchange rate or going soft on inflation; or, for example, opposing the Government’s share offer programme and instead borrowing billions of dollars more to pay for priority assets like schools and hospitals; or, for example, just pulling out the photocopier and printing more money. All of those things would send interest rates and inflation through the roof, directly affecting New Zealand households and families. They are, of course, the cornerstones of the Labour-Green opposition—

Oh yes, the Green Party still wants to print money:

Norman 14032013

So NZ is borrowing other countries (sic) freshly printed money and paying them interest for the privilege. So why don’t we print some of our own?


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