Word of the day

September 16, 2013

Stultiloquy – absurdity, alogy; imbecility; inconsistency; utter nonsense, nugacity, paradox, stultiloquence; foolish talk; silly discource; babbling.

Rural round-up

September 16, 2013

Drought unlikely to trigger recession – James Weir:

The summer drought is likely to have the economy knocked backwards in the June quarter, possibly down 0.2 per cent, though there is no risk of a slide into recession, economists say.

While the official figures will be “unflattering” for the economy, after subdued growth of just 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, there should be a strong bounce in the September quarter forecasters say.

Official figures for economic growth are due on Thursday. They are expected to show the full damage from a slump in milk production and a drop in livestock slaughter numbers, after a spike up earlier in the year because of the drought. . .

Windy weather creates lambing headaches – Tim Cronshaw:

Gale-force winds have made life difficult for newborn lambs, and hill country farmers have their fingers crossed that the good luck for lambing on the Canterbury Plains lasts for them.

The lambing beat officially starts today for the hill and high country, and farmers there have watched lambs in the down country come through with a good run.

Survival rates have been high so far, although some mismothering was expected as a result of last Tuesday’s howling nor’westers, preventing lambs from moving and seeking warmth from ewes. . .

No evidence tail docking detrimental:

Preliminary findings of research into tail docking by Alliance Group have found that leaving a lamb’s tail longer or intact has no long-term beneficial or detrimental effect on its growth rate.

The southern-based company has just completed the first year of a three-year study.

Tail docking is common practice among New Zealand farmers. It is thought to help reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike, a major cost to the sheep industry. However, to date there has been little objective information or research on the benefits, or otherwise, of the practice. . .

Fonterra has big plans for China – Dene Mackenzie:

Fonterra Co-operative Group has played down the implications of the whey contamination scare as it pushes ahead with a plan to double its milk production in China.

Although the world’s largest milk exporter identified some shortcomings in processes during the review, the co-operative says its staff on most occasions acted conscientiously on new information, and generally sought to do the right thing. . .

Need to enshrine horse heritage – Sally Rae:

Department of Conservation policies need to ensure that high country horse heritage is remembered, fostered and supported, horse-trekking enthusiasts say.

The High Country Pleasure Riders group, which was established in 1999 and is the largest horse-trekking club in the South Island, has made submissions to Doc’s draft conservation management strategies in both Canterbury and Otago.

The club has an annual calendar of weekend horse treks throughout the high country, often traversing public conservation land. . .

64% undecided

September 16, 2013

An Oamaru Mail poll (not online) shows it’s a two horse race for the Waitaki District mayoralty but 64% of those polled were undecided.

A total of 267 people they called said they were going to vote.

Of those who had decided 13% said they will be voting for Jim Hopkins and 12% for Gary Kircher.

The other five candidates, got combined support of  11%.

I don’t know how many people were called in total nor do I know the margin of error.

But this does confirm what the grapevine is telling me – the race is between Hopkins and Kircher but most people are still undecided as to which they’ll tick.

Mind the gap

September 16, 2013

The vote for Labour’s leader showed a huge gap between the caucus, and members and unions.

New leader David Cunliffe was the clear favourite among members and unions but mustered only 11 votes from the 34 member caucus.

That shows two things.

Those in the party closest to Cunliffe and who should know him best like him least and MPs are out of touch with their grass-roots supporters.

Closing that gap is just one of the many challenges Cunliffe faces.

Good police work

September 16, 2013

Just a few days after the murder of a farm worker at Elderslie in our neighbourhood the police have made two arrests.

The first man accused of the murder appeared in court on Friday, a second was arrested at the weekend and is due to appear in court today.

A murder so close to home has opened our eyes to a dark side of our district of which we were unaware.

It is reassuring to know that this criminal element is countered by good police work.

Utu or unity

September 16, 2013

Labour leader David Cunliffe has a choice.

He can opt for utu on the 27 of the 34 members of his caucus who didn’t support his leadership bid or he can opt for unity.

He will be only too well aware of who most of the 27 are but he can’t promote them all.

Some of them simply aren’t up to Cabinet, or even its shadow.

Some of the have had their day.

Some he will still not be able to trust.

He also has to reward at least some of the 11 who did support him.

But some of the simply aren’t up to it either and some of them have had their day too.

List MPs who accept they’ve gone as far as they’re going could resign without triggering a by-election but electorate MPs will almost certainly hang on until the end of the term.

Some of them might make it easy for him and some might not.

Cunliffe has won one battle, only time will tell if it’s settled the war.

And the losers are . . .

September 16, 2013

David Cunliffe’s win in the Labour leadership race left several losers in his wake:

* The ABC – Anyone But Cunliffe club, at least for now.

Whether they accept defeat or see his win as a temporary setback will depend on them putting loyalty to the party, and its new leader, ahead of their personal acrimony and ambitions.

* The Green Party.

Whatever else Cunliffe does, he won’t be prepared to let the Greens lead the Opposition as they did under David Shearer.

* The members who supported him in the belief he meant what he said when he made the promises which pleased them but would make the party unelectable.

I’m not including either of the other leadership contenders among the losers.

Shane Jones gained the attention he was seeking and will keep getting that because the media love the outrageous.

Grant Robertson has time on his side. He didn’t make it this time but he’ll be waiting in the wings should Cunliffe fail to deliver the 2014 election win.

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