Word of the day

January 3, 2014

Mulligan – a stew made from odds and ends of food; an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard in golf.


In the holidays I . . .

January 3, 2014

It could be seen as mixing politics and sport.

It is also a sign of John Key’s ability to get on with other leaders:

. . . The golf outing put Key in rarified company. Obama is an avid golfer, but prefers to limit his playing partners to a close circle of friends and advisers.

Among those who have also scored invitations to play with Obama in the past are former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker John Boehner. . .

The score has not been made public.

 

 


Rural round-up

January 3, 2014

Nature and high-end design meets farming –  Bruce Wills:

Every time you think we know all there is to know about agriculture, nature has a habit of coming along, tapping you on the shoulder and reminding you that really, we don’t.

Like sand flies in summer, not all native species are what you could describe as cute, cuddly or wanted.  Porina caterpillars love to chew the grass equally of lawns in-town and farm pasture in the countryside.  Meanwhile, grass grubs attack grass from below ironically proving that beside scale, both town and country have much in common.  These insects do their worst during the key periods of growth for pasture and lawns alike.  If you live in town and find bare patches of lawn odds are you’ll know what I mean.

Since pasture is the engine room of any farm and directly supports half of everything we export to the world, helping to pay our way in it, farmers will spend many millions of dollars trying to control these insects.  Nature being nature means this becomes a biological game of whack-a-mole. . .

Awards for 2013 – Willy Leferink:

As I look back upon 2013, I am going to present my own personal ‘awards’ reflecting some of the big items over the past year.

Given a lack of water defined 2013 at its beginning and water quality defined it at year’s end, my Al Gore Award for Most Underreported Inconvenient Truth goes to the Ministry for the Environment’s “River condition indicator Summary and key findings.”  Why else would a 10-year summary of water quality testing released in July get so little fanfare for revealing, “Of the parameters we [the MfE] monitor, all are either stable or improving at most monitored sites. Four of our parameters show stable or improving trends in 90% of sites”.

Allied to this water theme water is my ‘Harold Camping/The End is Nigh Environmental Armageddon Award.’

This one goes to any celebrity water quality scientist telling the media that virtually all freshwater bathing sites are unsafe.  It’s like hyperinflation meets bathing water quality but most Kiwis swimming at freshwater spots are letting their freestyle do the talking.  The ‘Two Face Special Achievement Certificate’ goes to our friends at our national fishing club who told everyone in the media how terrible our water quality is and who’s largely to blame.  That’s until they want to sell their fishing licenses when the fishing magically becomes fantastic. . .

Landfarming is safe practice – soil scientist – Adam Ray:

A soil scientist who has examined the controversial practice of landfarming says its opponents are ignoring evidence that it is safe.

Landfarming involves mixing mud and other drilling waste into low-quality soil, which then returns to pasture.

Scientist Doug Edmeades has examined soil from a farm near Hawera where it was carried out seven years ago.

“When I started out on this, I expected to find some interesting results,” he says. . .

Growing Up on a Farm: 25 Facts About Being a Farm Kid! – MyAGventures:

This post is dedicated to all you past, present and future farm kids out there. There may not be very many of us, but we truly are  one-of-a-kind. In all honesty, I don’t know of a better way to grow up. Yes, we worked hard. Yes, we can tell stories all day long about our experiences both good and bad. Most importantly, yes we are proud to be farmers’ sons and farmers’ daughters. We are proud to be born and raised farm kids.  We are proud to be future farmers.. .


Friday’s answers

January 3, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.?

2. What was the name of the ship captained by James Cook on his second and third voyages to the Pacific?

3. It’s résolu in French; risoluto in Italian, resuelto in Spanish and niwha in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who said: “In War: Resolution,
In Defeat: Defiance,
In Victory: Magnaminity
In Peace: Good Will.” ?

5. New Year’s resolutions – do you make them, do you keep them?

Alwyn and Andrei both got a clean sweep and win an electronic box of cherries for doing so.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Predictions positive for National & NZ

January 3, 2014

Fairfax’s press gallery’s  predictions for 2014 include a positive one for National, and because of that New Zealand:

20. National will form a Government with at least two other parties.

Most governments get a second term, winning a third one is much harder but the signs are positive.

Polls give National more or less the same support it had at the 2011 election and Labour hasn’t been able to gain momentum in spite of a change of leader.

National’s challenge is to at least maintain the level of support it’s got and to have potential coalition partners with enough MPs to help it gain a majority.

That won’t be easy.

Scoring last year’s predictions out of 10, the Fairfax gallery awarded itself 133/200.

Labour’s challenge is to increase its support without butchering its major coalition partner, the Green Party.

That will be even harder because the policies it’s espousing so far are taking it to well to the left which is Green territory.

That might be shoring up its bedrock support but it doesn’t appear to be doing anything to attract swinging voters in the centre.

They might stomach a moderate move to the left but are very unlikely to be enamoured of the tax more, spend more lurch to the radical left.

 

 


Water quality and quantity vital to 2 Es

January 3, 2014

Water will continue to be a central issue in 2014, Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says:

“The vast majority of farmers care about the environment and this was highlighted in the New Year’s Honours List, which included a former National President, Tom Lambie.

“The current national discussion around farming would be enhanced if readers, viewers and listeners better understood what farming is actually like in 2014.  A role for the media.

“Water quality and quantity are absolutely vital to the two “E’s” – the economy and the environment. These are not mutually exclusive things but are flipsides of the same coin.

“Water storage is also vital to meet the challenges posed by climate change while enhancing land and water quality.

“Proposals to reform the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, by empowering local communities will, we hope, improve the level of discussion and information. . .

As holiday makers battle rain and even farmers in most areas are thinking there’s been enough, we shouldn’t forget that this time last year most of the country was dealing with drought.

Water storage, where it’s practical, harvests water when there’s too much and enables it to be used for irrigation, and environmental enhancement, when nature doesn’t provide.

Wills is right. The economy and environment aren’t mutually exclusive and water storage is a good way to boost both.


Best of 2013

January 3, 2014

From NZ Young Nats Facebook page:

Photo: Best of 2013: Welfare reforms came into effect.

Photo: Best of 2013: Young Nats across the country successfully fought to Keep It 18.

Photo: Best of 2013: Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson signs 8 Treaty Settlement Deeds, marking 41 settlements since 2008.


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