Word of the day

March 19, 2013

Encomium – glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise; the expression of such praise; a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.

Rural round-up

March 19, 2013

Patchy rains helped some areas, others left dry, Landcorp’s Kelly says – Kristen Paterson:

Patchy rains have provided relief for some farming areas and left others without substantive moisture, says Chris Kelly, chief executive of state-owned Landcorp, New Zealand’s biggest farmer.

The west of the North Island saw higher rainfall, with 15-40mm from Northland to Waitomo down through to Taranaki. The West Coast, which applied for drought status last week, received 20-40mm with more expected to come. The East Coast fared the worst, experiencing no substantial rains, MetService says. . .

Govt awards more than $4m to environmental projects:

A project that will use recycled potato starch to produce more than 17 million compostable packaging trays annually is among the successful recipients of more than $4 million in government funding.

Environment Minister Amy Adams today announced funding of more than $4 million to 11 innovative waste minimisation projects around New Zealand.

Earthpac receives $2.1 million for a project to manufacture compostable meat and vegetable trays. The trays are produced by capturing starch generated from washing potatoes. . .

DCANZ Cautiously Welcomes Japan To TPP:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) today cautiously welcomed Japan to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey said it is a significant achievement to have Japan enter into the TPP. However, at the same time he hopes that Japan’s entry won’t delay the conclusion of negotiations beyond the October 2013 timeline and that they will support the basic premise of TPP.

“We encourage Japan to uphold the commitment made by TPP leaders in Honolulu back in 2011, which was the comprehensive elimination of market access barriers like tariffs on traded goods,” Mr Bailey said. . .

NZ Pork Disappointed With Appeal Dismissal:

The New Zealand pork industry is very disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of its appeal regarding the Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI) proposed new Import Health Standard (IHS), Chairman Ian Carter said today.

“We are disappointed as we have concerns about the level of risk the new IHS constitutes.”

MPI welcomes judgment on pork imports

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is pleased with today’s Court of Appeal judgment which found that MPI followed the correct decision-making process before allowing imports of raw pork from countries where the disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is present.

At issue in this case was MPI’s response to an Independent Review Panel report and the process that led to the Director-General’s decision to issue four new import health standards for raw pork.

NZ Pork had alleged MPI did not follow the correct decision-making process.

“Agriculture is vitally important to our economy. In order to protect our primary producers from biosecurity risks, it is essential that we do the right thing when developing import health standards and that we base them on the best available science,” MPI Director-General Wayne McNee says.

NZPork appealed against the introduction of a new IHS relaxing the border standards for importing pig meat from countries with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). . .

Hard yards pay dividends in Methven:

Matthew Bell is the latest Grand Finalist to be named for the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Matthew will be joining six other contestants at the Grand Final in Auckland 16-18 May.

“It’s still all sinking in…I’m over the moon!”, commented Matthew on his triumph on Saturday (16 March) in the Aorangi Regional Final at the Methven A&P Showgrounds and Heritage Centre.

Sam Bryan was runner up followed by Phil Campbell and Phil Wilson placing third and fourth respectively. . .

Readers breed readers

March 19, 2013

Who would have thought that:

. . . The analysis of New Zealand’s 15-year-olds in an OECD reading test says the difference between students with more than a year of early childhood education and those with none is equivalent to a year and a half of schooling.

The study says there is a similar difference between teenagers whose parents read to them in their first year of school and those whose parents did not.

It says students are also likely to be much better readers if their parents read books and talk to them regularly. . .

There is no doubt a lot more to the research than this report suggests but it does seem to be stating the obvious – readers breed readers.




Once could be a tragic mistake

March 19, 2013

Two or three decades ago cot deaths were sadly not uncommon in New Zealand.

When my sons were in hospital in Dunedin a lot of research was being done and protocols were established to protect babies.

That is now routine advice – put babies to sleep on their backs and don’t share beds with them.

But not everyone gets the advice, or heeds it. I’ve noticed several stories in recent months of babies dying when sharing beds.

All are tragedies and this is more than tragic:

An East Coast couple, 31-year-old Sybil Harrison and Elray Marsh, were sentenced to intensive supervision in the Gisborne District Court yesterday. They admitted they put 10-week-old Elray Jr in bed with Ms Harrison after she’d been drinking heavily in 2011.

The death followed an incident with the couple’s baby daughter just a year earlier, who died in similar circumstances. . .

The death of one child from a preventable cause is a tragic mistake.

The second is tragic and there is no suggestion it was deliberate, but how could anyone not learn from the first tragedy?

Apropos of this case is a report which says 50 infants have died from suffocation:

The Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee says it’s becoming clear a considerable proportion of deaths that might previously have been attributed to sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI) have occurred because of unsafe sleeping situations.

The research found that of 79 cases of unintentional suffocation between 2002 and 2009, 50 involved infants who died where they were sleeping.

The overwhelming majority – 96% – of the deaths were of children under one and they were often caused by what the report calls overlay by another person. . .

These were preventable deaths.


March 19, 2013

Having an overseas bank account is unlikely to endear a Labour party leader to his constituents.

Having one and forgetting you’ve got it is even less likely to be understood by then.

Labour Leader David Shearer’s dobbed himself in for forgetting to declare a foreign bank account held in his name.

The New York-based Chase cash account, which was used to collect Mr Shearer’s United Nations salary, hasn’t been included on the Register of Pecuniary interests since he became an MP in 2009.

Dobbing himself in gets a point for honesty but doesn’t cancel out the carelessness of overlooking it in each return since 2009.

Sheep industry in farmers’ hands

March 19, 2013

Alliance Group chair Owen Poole suggested a mega-merger of 80% of meat companies several years ago.

That idea was scuttled by Silver Fern Farms.

The 80% model has resurfaced as one of six principles put forward by the Meat Industry Excellence Group which attracted hundreds of farmers to a meeting in Gore yesterday .

• Up to 80% of red meat processed and marketed by one ”coalition of the willing” structure.
• Identify and extract best personnel and strategies. Contracting of stock to specification; need to commit to a company.
• Legislation required to support new structure be sought.
• All participants to fund restructuring.
• Suppliers to be treated fairly, equally and with full transparency.

This time both major companies appear to be supportive.

However, they are also aware of the costs and challenges:

. . . Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole said there was not a meat processor or exporter in the country that did not think a better model should be employed.

Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms had been talking for some time about that prospect and were still in discussions. One of the group’s principles was for up to 80% of the red meat processed and marketed by one ”coalition of the willing” structure.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Eoin Garden said that was a ”huge challenge”.

”Look how the dairy industry is fragmented because all of a sudden when you get a major player … Federated Farmers or farming leaders get up and say we need another player in the industry to keep the big fellow honest,” Mr Garden said. . .

Merging the two big co-operatives could be a first step but it would be a very expensive one:

Mr Poole warned a merger of the co-operatives would mean they would bear the burden of the amalgamation costs. There were significant costs in that, which should be shared across the industry, whether you were a co-operative supplier or non co-operative supplier. He estimated it at between $250 million and $300 million and asked co-operative suppliers if they wanted to ”pick that up on your own”.

He urged those present to be careful with the process and to ”get it right”.

The biggest challenge is to get all farmers on one page.

Farmers always want a better price than their neighbours and what they say they want for the industry and what they do in their own operations are often very different.

There is too much capacity but how much is enough?

What would be happening now if farmers having to cull their flocks because of drought couldn’t get killing space and what would that do to the already low prices they’re receiving?

Who’s willing to pay the very high costs of plant closures?

The answers are in farmers’ hands – all could now choose to sign up each season to supply one or other of the co-operatives and if most did the smaller companies would be squeezed out of the market.


March 19, 2013

“My memory isn’t as good as it used to be,” he said. “But they reckon as long as you remember you’re forgetting it doesn’t matter.”

“What about if you forget you’re remembering.” she said.

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