Word of the day


Hodmandod- strange person; scarecrow; snail or snail shell; any shellfish which casts its shell.

Rural round-up


More than 800 damaged irrigators:

IrrigationNZ says initial reports suggest more than 800 irrigators across Canterbury are severely damaged and will need to be repaired or written off following Tuesday’s big wind.

“The extent of damage to centre pivots and other irrigators across the region is unprecedented. This is an extremely serious situation as we simply don’t have enough parts to repair all of these machines in New Zealand. We’re looking at a six to eight week time lag before parts arrive and then a similar timeframe before repairs can be completed. If we experience a dry spring, the consequences could be dire for many Canterbury farmers as irrigation will effectively be stymied,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

Gavin Briggs, Owner of Rainer Irrigation, says his company alone is aware of 260 centre pivot spans lying on the ground and another 30 pivots across the region that have lost key components. He describes the situation as “a logistical nightmare”.

“It’s actually quite serious even though we’re still a couple of weeks away from the irrigation season starting. Many farmers don’t have back-up systems for effluent and were relying on centre pivots to do the job. It’s a disaster.” . .

Great support for Canterbury but it’s not over yet:

The past week has been devastating for South Island farmers and with a short sharp wintry blast hitting the far south of the South Island on Saturday, we are not out of the woods yet.

“This has been an overwhelming time for farmers they have taken a huge hit, being Canterbury’s worst wind storm in 40 years, this is likely to hurt them further down the track.” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“The extent of the damage is still being accessed but it is likely to cost millions of dollars and a big part of that will be from over 800 irrigators being damaged. Water access is becoming a big concern and insurance companies are already receiving hundreds of claims. . .

Government’s helping hand for dairy reputation:

Federated Farmers thinks the new Market Connections Fund is an excellent initiative to help New Zealand businesses build back their relations with overseas customers.

“The dairy industry has some ground work to do after the fall out of Fonterra’s recall of product,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman.

“We know a number of dairy exporters have been affected by this. Many have had product stuck in ports, which is hardly their fault.

“Relationship building needs to be done face to face if it is going to mean anything and I know this is going to be a huge help to those who are serious about repairing the damage done. . .

Our future – Bruce Wills:

This year has been huge for agriculture. We have survived a drought and heavy snow, we have made huge in roads with local government and faced international scrutiny with trade and biosecurity. Despite it all we are still the ‘Silicon Valley’ of agriculture and well on track to reach the Government’s goal of doubling primary sector outputs by 2025.

With local elections here it has been a busy time for Federated Farmers. We have made a massive investment into communicating with regional and district councils, to get a balance between the social, cultural, environmental, and economic planning and outcomes.  This is vital not just for our industries but for all New Zealanders. We need to move forward together so the focus from local government needs to be balanced and fair.

The Minister of Trade, Tim Groser, recently referred to Agriculture being New Zealand’s ‘Silicon Valley’, which conjured up a real sense of optimism for the Federation and farmers alike. New Zealand really struggles with telling the good stories but we have every reason to be optimistic about our future in this country. Groser’s statement captures the reality that agriculture will be as important to New Zealand’s future as it has been to our past. Agriculture has remained the economic backbone of our country and will be for our trade future, the problem is New Zealanders have a bad case of tall poppy syndrome, so celebrating our strengths and successes can prove challenging. . .

Christchurch botanist awarded Loder Cup:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today presented the country’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to Christchurch botanist Nicholas Head.

“Nick Head is a very deserving winner of the country’s oldest conservation award. He has been a tireless advocate for Canterbury’s unique plant life, both through his professional work with the Department of Conservation and as a volunteer and advocate for numerous trusts and organisations,” Dr Smith says.

“His contribution has included extensive work in plant identification, guided field trips, public talks and advocacy for conservation before councils and the Environment Court. A particular benefactor of his work has been the unique plant life of the limestone areas of South Canterbury and the spectacular Mackenzie Basin.” . . .



10/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

Saturday’s smiles


Labour’s aspiring leaders were flying between meetings when David Cunliffe reached into his wallet and said, “Why don’t I throw this $10 notes out the window and make someone happy?”

Not to be outdone, Grant Robertson pulled 10 $10 dollar notes from his wallet and said, “I could throw this out the window and make 10 people happy.”

Shane Jones raised a sardonic eye brow and said, “Why don’t we just throw ourselves out the window and make a whole lot more people happy?”

TB or not TB


Tasman District is on the verge of being declared TB Free:

Tasman district is within touching distance of reaching a milestone in the battle against bovine tuberculosis, a scourge of cattle and deer farmers.

The district’s farms could be free of the highly infectious disease, which is spread principally by possums, provided the one remaining infected beef cattle herd, north of Murchison, returns a second clear test in December and no new cases emerge in the meantime. . .

However, farmers and animal health authorities warn that there can be no let-up in efforts to tackle the disease, which remains a threat to New Zealand’s reputation as a top agricultural exporter.

Roy Bensemann, a Sherry River farmer who chairs the Tasman TBfree committee, says he has seen the impact TB has wrought on farms in his valley.

“It highlighted to me how devastating it can be for farmers, financially and emotionally.”

Not only is there the social stigma, it severely restricts what farmers can do with their stock, which cannot be moved or sold, unless it is to the freezing works for slaughter at much reduced values.

It means dairy farmers have to either buy in supplementary feed or find winter grazing close by, and they cannot sell their heifers.

It can take a long time for restrictions to be lifted, with two clear herd tests needed at least six months apart.

“Quite often, other infected animals can turn up as you go through the process of getting the whole herd blood tested.”

There are also cases where infections in older animals in particular don’t show up through testing and are only discovered when they are culled and slaughtered. . .

That’s what happened on our farm.

We bought a herd of cows from the West Coast. they’d been tested and declared TB-free but a few years later a test came back positive in several cows.

They had to be killed, some had the disease, some didn’t.

The herd was tested and declared TB-free again but the next season another cow tested positive.

Eventually an older cow dried herself off mid-season and was sent to the freezing works where they found she was riddled with TB event hough she’d never tested positive.

New Zealand already runs one of the most successful TB control programmes in the world, which has made much more progress than predicted, with new research and technology promising even better outcomes, Mr Bensemann says.

It has the added spinoff of protecting native bird and plant populations. . .

Danny Templeman, South Island relationship manager of OSPRI New Zealand, which recently took over TB control from the Animal Health Board, says success in Tasman has been built on getting possum numbers down to one or two per 10ha in buffer zones up to 20 kilometres deep around Kahurangi and its bush margins.

Aerial poisoned bait drops in more remote parts of the park have proved more effective, and for longer than expected, which has allowed the number of ground control operations to be reduced.

“We have been able to get in front of the disease and push it back into the bush.

“But we need to continue this effort.”

A concerted effort is needed and must be maintained to eradicate the disease which is a risk to human and animal health, native flora and birds.

Who creates jobs?


Quote of the day:

A Government should not be relied upon to create jobs. To bolster our economy and growth, we need the private sector to be creating jobs in the tradeables sector.

Whether they are high-earning export roles, or an entry level company, it is the job of entrepreneurs. Government’s role is to put in place the right conditions for economic growth, so companies can feel comfortable about expanding, growing, or just starting out in the business world.

Local government also has a role, through having plans for economic growth and development that encourage businesses and don’t stifle their creativity.  . . Eric Roy MP

People who look to government to create jobs are looking in the wrong place.

Job creation must come from the private sector.

The government’s role is to ensure there are no unnecessary hurdles and that employment laws are flexible; make compliance as simple as easy as possible; reduce its burden on the economy and leave businesses to prosper and grow.

Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

My thoughts exactly Kyle!  :)

September 14 in history


81 Domitian became Emperor of the Roman Empire upon the death of his brother Titus.

786  Harun al-Rashid became the Abbasid caliph upon the death of his brother al-Hadi.

1180  Battle of Ishibashiyama in Japan.

1607 Flight of the Earls from Lough Swilly, Donegal, Ireland.

1682  Bishop Gore School, one of the oldest schools in Wales, was founded.

1752  The British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2).

1769 Alexander von Humboldt, German naturalist and explorer, was born (d. 1859).

1812  Napoleonic Wars: French grenadiers entered Moscow. The Fire of Moscow began as soon as Russian troops left the city.

1829 The Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Adrianople with Russia,  ending the Russo-Turkish War.

1847  Mexican-American War: Winfield Scott captured Mexico City.

1862  American Civil War: The Battle of South Mountain, part of the Maryland Campaign.

1901 President  William McKinley died after an assassination attempt on September 6, and was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

1917  Russia was officially proclaimed a republic.

1923 Miguel Primo de Rivera became dictator of Spain.

1938 The cornerstone of the first Labour government’s welfare policies, the Social Security Act, introduced revised pensions and extended benefits for families, invalids and the unemployed.

Social Security Act passed

1944 World War II: Maastricht became the first Dutch city to be liberated by allied forces.

1947  Sam Neill, New Zealand actor, was born.

1948  Groundbreaking for the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

1953  Judy Playfair, Australian swimmer, was born.

1958  The first two German post-war rockets, designed by the German engineer Ernst Mohr, reached the upper atmosphere.

1959 The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashed onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.

1960 The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded.

1961 Wendy Thomas, namesake of the eponymous restaurant (Wendy’s), was born.

1971 Jeff Loomis, American guitarist (Nevermore), was born.

1975 The first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, was canonized by Pope Paul VI.

1982  President-elect of Lebanon, Bachir Gemayel, was assassinated.

1984 Joe Kittinger became the first person to fly a hot air balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean.

1995 Body Worlds opened in Tokyo.

1998 Telecommunications companies MCI Communications and WorldCom completed their $37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom.

2001  Historic National Prayer Service held at Washington National Cathedral for victims of the September 11 attacks. A similar service was held in Canada on Parliament Hill, the largest vigil ever held in the nation’s capital.

2003 In a referendum, Estonia approved joining the European Union.

2007 – Late-2000s financial crisis: The Northern Rock bank experienced the first bank run in the United Kingdom in 150 years.

2008 – All 88 people on board Aeroflot Flight 821 were killed when the plane crashed on approach to Perm Airport.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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