Word of the day

November 26, 2013

Deblaterate – to babble or prate; utter meaningless, confusing words; talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish way; talk foolishly or at tedious length about something.


Rural round-up

November 26, 2013

Will pay dirt slip through farmers’ hands? –  Robert Gottliebsen:

The GrainCorp takeover bid from the US agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland is suddenly becoming a wake-up call to farmers — they are going to lose long-term market power.     

And that potential loss of power underlines the fact that in the last few decades a big proportion of the rewards from farming have shifted from growing crops to those providing transport, processing and retail services. 

In major international takeovers of agricultural transport and processing, the winners are the shareholders and the management. All too often the losers are the farmers.

As we have seen in both Warrnambool Cheese and GrainCorp, shareholders are being offered substantially more than the pre-bid market value for their shares. And the mangers of both GrainCorp and Warrnambool will be essential for the overseas bidders. They will almost certainly receive international style salaries. . .

Five tribes buy state dairy farms in Waikato:

Five tribes have bought a big dairy operation in the Waikato region.

The Hauraki Collective now owns the Pouarua dairy complex, which it’s purchased from the state farmer, Landcorp.

Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri have used Treaty money to buy more than 2200 hectares near Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.

Although the iwi have not yet fully settled their grievances with the Crown, the government has agreed to provide $53.5 million up front to complete the deal. . .

Overcoming obstacles to setting water quality limits – Ned Norton and Helen Rouse:

In the previous Waiology series on Water governance, we referred to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) (2011) requirement to set limits for water quantity and quality. So, how are councils getting on with limit-setting?

In May 2012 we surveyed planners for regional councils to find out how their current regional plans measure up against the NPSFM requirements to set limits, and found that 1 of 14 respondents said their current plan meets NPSFM requirements, 8 of 14 said their plan met requirements to some extent, and 5 of 14 said their plan did not meet NPSFM requirements.

Our survey also identified a number of potential obstacles that make limit-setting difficult. Some of the most common obstacles were costs (time,staff), availability of catchment-specific data, understanding existing/baseline conditions, balancing instream and out-of-stream values, lack of support for plan process (political or council staff), lack of clear process for getting parties together/getting agreement, and lack of understanding of (and difficulty communicating) complex issues and value trade-offs. . .

Eric Ropiha — a legendary horseman:

New Zealand racing has lost a highly-respected, successful and decorated horseman with the death last Friday of Eric Ropiha. He was aged 88.

Ropiha trained 716 winners during his career from 1948 to his retirement in 2001 and won the National Trainers’ Premiership in 1959-60 with 43 winners.

He had a number of top-class gallopers through his hands, including the 1960 Caulfield Cup winner Ilumquh, who was twice placed in the Melbourne Cup, and Fans, who also finished third in the Flemington feature for him. . .

North Canterbury Winery takes out trophy for top Pinot Noir:

Greystone Wines has won the Pinot Noir trophy at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine show- the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, for their Waipara Pinot Noir 2012. The North Canterbury winery has taken the top gong from more well-known Pinot Noir producing regions, reinforcing growing interest in this area. The Pinot Noir was grown on the clay and limestone slopes of the Waipara Valley, an hour north of Christchurch.

A team of local and international judges were effusive with praise for the sustainably accredited wine. They described it as “Opulent and powerful, yet poised and refined with dark berries and floral aromas.” In addition the same wine was last month rated 96 points and named by Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of New Zealand’s Top 12 Pinot Noir. . .

New Zealand’s best lamb:

Canterbury farmer Mike Ryan has taken out the 2013 Mint Lamb Competition, producing the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top 4 lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top 3 lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2013 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

Organic practices will improve water quality:

A shift towards organic farming practices and diversification is needed to protect and enhance our waterways and our economy, says the Soil & Health Association. The recently released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, shows that water quality is deteriorating, particularly in areas where there is expansion or intensification of dairy farming.

“The current push for more dairy farms and more animals on the land is not sustainable,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. “We need to be farming smart and farming to the conditions of each area, rather than trying to wring as much as we can out of the land, or extracting huge volumes of water to irrigate naturally dry areas.” . . .


Lower speed tolerance for Dec & Jan

November 26, 2013

The maximum speed limit on open roads is 100 kph but police generally let drivers away with a 10 kph tolerance.

It’s been the practice to lower the tolerance to 4 kph over holiday periods but this summer that will be policed for the whole of December and January.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Police Minister Anne Tolley have launched this summer’s road safety campaign, which will focus on preventing deaths and injuries by reducing speed, alongside greater visibility of Police.

For the first time, the reduced speed tolerance is being extended beyond an official holiday period.

A 4km/h speed threshold will be enforced by Police throughout the whole of December and January.

“We want New Zealanders to enjoy their holidays, and to be around to celebrate many more in the years ahead,” Mrs Tolley says.

“The lower road tolls in the last couple of years show that drivers are getting the message, but just one death is too many.

“The evidence shows that reducing speed can play a major part in making our roads safer, and in ensuring that fewer Kiwi families have to suffer the trauma of losing a loved one or being involved in a serious crash.”

Police will also be increasing their visibility to raise awareness of road safety, with a nationwide trial of red and orange highway patrol cars.

28 coloured cars will be rolled out across the country over the next year, as existing vehicles come up for replacement.

“Police and their partner agencies will be working hard over the holidays to ensure that our roads are as safe as possible, and we want drivers to play their part too,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Police will be out in force – so speeding drivers and drink drivers should beware.”

The first orange car will be going to the Tasman district, with a red vehicle on patrol in Northland. The next three coloured cars will be going to Eastern, Waikato and Canterbury districts before Christmas.

Mr Brownlee says the holiday campaign aligns with the government’s Safer Journeys Road Safety Strategy – an across-the-board approach to road safety, looking at all aspects of the road system.

“In recent years we have changed give way rules, lowered alcohol limits for young drivers, launched targeted education for young drivers, strengthened driver licence tests and progressed work on building safer roads.

“Last week I introduced the Land Transport Amendment Bill 2013 to Parliament, which will lower the adult breath alcohol limit from 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath to 250mcg.

“Across the board this government takes road safety extremely seriously,” Mr Brownlee says.

It’s very easy to creep a few kilometres above 100 kph. I’m glad I’ve got a digital odometer and cruise control which make it easier to stay at the right speed.

Well marked cars are good deterrents to speed and the  red and orange cars will be easier to spot.

Speed does kill but slow drivers can be a menace on the roads too.

I hope police on the watch for speeding vehicles are also active in ensuring slower drivers are considerate and don’t hold back other traffic.

 

 


To vote or not to vote

November 26, 2013

Voting papers for the referendum arrived on Friday.

I haven’t opened the envelope yet and am not sure if I will.

The hijacking of what is supposed to be a citizens’ initiated referendum by politicians makes it just another political stunt.

The $9 million being wasted on this exercise in self-promotion for the opposition is a disgrace – and that’s not counting the other public money they used to get the petition signatures.

The tiny amount it will cost if I do vote won’t be significant.

But even so, is voting adding legitimacy to this farce, even if I vote yes or spoil the paper?


RWNZ new president

November 26, 2013

Wendy McGowan has been elected as the new national president of Rural Women New Zealand.

She succeeds Liz Evans who has held the position since 2010.

Wendy McGowan previously served a three-year term as national vice president, and has been the national councillor for Bay of Plenty/Coromandel for the last eight years, taking a special interest in land use issues, bio-security and food safety.

Wendy said, “As national president I will build on our organisation’s goals and aspirations to be dynamic, vibrant, leading, innovative and visible at all levels.

“Rural Women NZ’s interest in land, health, education and community issues need our attention and advocacy, just as they did in the 1920s.  As then, encouraging women living in rural communities to voice their concerns and support for one another is what we do well.”

Wendy announced the appointment of Kerry Maw, the Rural Women national councillor for Canterbury, as her vice president.

Looking ahead, Wendy says it is exciting to be taking a leading role in plans to celebrate the UN International Year of Family Farming in 2014.  The organisation is planning a series of events in March and April around the country to highlight the important role of family farms in provincial economic prosperity.

“It’s also an opportunity to strengthen links and understanding between rural and urban.”

The AGM was officially opened by Rural Women NZ’s patron, Her Excellency, Lady Janine Mateparae, who said her decision to take on the patron’s role was made easier by the organisation’s commitment to provide a voice for rural women and rural families.  

Prime Minister John Key also spoke at the opening ceremony and answered questions from the floor.

He said there are significant differences between our urban and rural communities and the key question is how we make sure those differences and issues are understood by everybody.  He cited broadband access, the volatility of weather that farmers must cope with and schooling in rural areas as key challenges.

Wendy McGowan and her husband Rusty farm a 260 hectare dairy support unit in Kaharoa in the Bay of Plenty.  She is also an enrolled nurse and works as a casual play specialist at Rotorua Hospital’s Children’s Unit.


It’s up to all of us

November 26, 2013

Quote of the day:

But this isn’t something we can simply leave to Parliament and the police and hope they solve the problem for us. It comes down to what we do as individuals, families and communities. That is where the change needs to take place. Fundamentally, it’s about each of us taking responsibility for the problem. When someone is in a violent relationship, or they’re the victim of sexual violence, there will always be a bystander. Someone who sees the warning signs. Someone who knows what’s going on. We need them to speak up. We need them to tell someone.  

Most men are not violent, but most violence against women is perpetrated by men. That’s why we need to support our men, because they’re the role models for our children. We need them to be part of the solution. . .  Dr Jackie Blue.

The quote is taken from an opinion piece on domestic violence.

It was written to mark White Ribbon Day and opens with her writing about her own experience as a victim.


Michael Spaans joins Fonterra board

November 26, 2013

DairyNZ director Michael Spaans has been elected to the board of Fonterra.

Returning Officer Warwick Lampp, of electionz.com Ltd, has declared the final results of the 2013 Fonterra Board of Directors’, Directors’ Remuneration Committee and Shareholders’ Council elections.

Shareholders voted to re-elect incumbent Directors Malcolm Bailey and Ian Farrelly. They will be joined by new Director Michael Spaans.

Michael Spaans, aged 50, lives in Hamilton and farms at Te Aroha. Michael was a Shareholders’ Councillor from 2000 to 2008. Michael is currently a Director of DairyNZ and several other dairy sector companies.

Shareholders Scott Montgomery and Gerard Wolvers were elected unopposed as members of the Directors’ Remuneration Committee.

In the Shareholders’ Council elections, the following Shareholders’ Councillors were elected:

Ward 8 – Hamilton Ross Wallis
Ward 21 – Coastal Taranaki Vaughn Brophy

Both are new Shareholders’ Councillors.

In the eleven other Shareholders’ Council wards where elections were due, nominees were elected unopposed. The Councillors in those wards are:

Ward 3 – Northern Wairoa Penny Smart
Ward 6 – Hauraki Julie Pirie
Ward 9 – Morrinsville Malcolm Piggott
Ward 12 – Cambridge Kevin Monks
Ward 15 – South Waikato Ian Brown
Ward 18 – Otorohanga Duncan Coull
Ward 24 – Southern Taranaki David Werder
Ward 27 – Southern Manawatu Richard Syme
Ward 30 – Northern Central Canterbury Ange Ward
Ward 32 – Southern Canterbury John Gregan
Ward 33 – Otago Ad Bekkers and Ivan Lines

All successful candidates will take office at the close of the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, 27 November 2013.


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