Good firebreak

January 12, 2014

Stating the obvious:

“Obviously because it’s an island in the middle of a lake it’s got a pretty good fire break around it.” Doc DOC eastern South Island rural fire manager Tom Barr

He was commenting on a fire which got out of control and ruined an island on Lake Tekapo.

Word of the day

January 12, 2014

 Dulcarnon – perplexed; at a loss; uncertain what course to take.


Rural round-up

January 12, 2014

Getting red meat sector ‘back on its feet’ – Sally Rae:

Over the fence and across the kitchen table, the state of the red meat sector and calls for restructuring dominated farmer discussions last year, as sheep numbers continued to shrink and dairy conversions and moves to dairy grazing continued.

Back in March, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen told farmers attending the organisation’s annual meeting in Wanaka that the sector was at a ”critical junction”.

While he spoke of how volatile returns were a threat to the industry’s future and farmers were questioning whether the industry had a future, the organisation’s economic service estimated farm profit before tax for the 2012-13 season would fall 54% on the previous season because of sharply lower lamb prices and widespread drought. . . .

World food prices dropped last year – Neena Rai:

World food prices fell by 1.6% in 2013, down 8.8% from their all-time peak in 2011, driven by falling international prices for grains, sugar and palm oil, according to the United Nations’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s monthly index measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities and is the global leading economic indicator for food prices.

While the most recent food price spike in 2011 was triggered by a lack of cereal supply, the recent fall in food prices is mainly due to higher expected supplies of corn and wheat this year. . .

Shelter from the storm – Sally Rae:

Mustering huts still play an important role on some high country properties, like the Hore family’s Stonehenge, in Maniototo, but hut life is a little more comfortable these days, as Sally Rae reports.

It was April, 1959 when Dave McAtamney first slept in Deep Creek Hut.

At only 15, it was his first mustering trip in the area and he was ”dead keen” to take part.

Riding an old part-draught mare called Ginger, he was part of a much more experienced mustering crew that included his father and two uncles, and it was the start of a long association with the hut.

”I had quite a bad cold, if I remember rightly. I was coughing a bit in the night and Dad got out of bed, went over to the whisky bottle and poured a big whisky into me. It was the first time I’d ever drunk a whisky.” . . .

Good times ahead – Stephen Bell:

Sentiment in the primary industries is at an all-time high and commentators say the optimism is backed up by reality.

Business confidence across the economy is booming, say bank analysts, who add the caveat a surge in activity means a tight lid will have to be kept on inflation.

However, companies are upbeat and their profit expectations and employment intentions are the highest in two decades, confidence surveys show.

Agrifax senior analyst Nick Handley said there was good cause for optimism in agriculture.

“The outlook is good across all the major sectors, with none of them really staring down the barrel of a below-par year,” he said. . .

Beaumont rising: developments look set to turn fortunes – John Gibb:

Once a fading rural backwater, the township of Beaumont now seems destined for a much brighter future.

People who have lived near the inland Otago township, on the Clutha River/Mata-au, for 20 years or more will remember earlier sometimes divisive and frustrating conflicts over proposed big hydro-electric dams, which would have flooded the area.

One proposal, by the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in 1992, was to build a dam at Tuapeka Mouth that would have flooded 3000ha, including all of Beaumont. But among a series of more promising developments the long-delayed replacement work involving the nearby 19th century Beaumont Bridge is at last due to start next year. . .

Positive results at Point Pearce – Gregor Heard:

A JOINT venture between the Point Pearce indigenous community on the Yorke Peninsula in SA and a local farming family continues to go from strength to strength and provide strong training and employment opportunities for the community.The project, in which the Wundersitz family leases the Point Pearce farm, has been running since 2010.The Wundersitzes, based at nearby Maitland, were looking to expand their farming business, Anna Binna, when the Aboriginal Lands Trust advertised for a new tenant for the Point Pearce farm. . . .

Farmers need more for flat milk supply:

The Western Australian dairy industry is calling for reform to the state’s milk pricing structure in 2014.

Representative body WA Farmers argues that if the state’s dairy processors require a year-round flat supply of milk from producers, they should be expected to pay accordingly.

“Ideally, the processors would like about the same amount of milk rolling in each day. Because we are basically a drinking milk state, the daily requirement for WA is pretty even,” says WA Farmers dairy section president, Phil Depiazzi.

“If they do want flat supply, that means they’re going to have to pay a higher price to achieve that.” . . .

Where will you build your next dairy? – Catherine Merlo:

Milk prices aren’t the prime attraction for moving to a new area

The heartland between the Rockies and the Mississippi River appears to offer the most dairy-friendly resources and long-term future for those looking to build new or satellite dairies.

That was not only the professional assessment of a dairy relocation consultant but the personal experience of three dairy producers who spoke at the Dairy Today Elite Producer Business Conference in Las Vegas this past November.

Dairy relocation consultant Tom Haren and dairy producers Linda Hodorff, Rein Landman and Mike McCarty comprised a panel that discussed, “Where Will You Build Your Next Dairy?” . . .


Irony or hypocrisy?

January 12, 2014

Pro Oil and Gas Otago, commenting on a very small flotilla protesting against Shell’s plans to drill for gas in the Great South Basin:

Not many protesters on the water, but the carpark is full!

Not many protesters on the water, but the carpark is full!

Is that irony or hypocrisy?


Living Memory

January 12, 2014

Open large picture

©2013 Brian Andreas

Clicking on the link will take you to where you can sign up for a daily dose of email whimsy like this from the creative folk at Story People.

 


An inspirational life

January 12, 2014

Peter Douglas was born with a life-threatening condition, osteogenesis imperfecta, and was expected to live only a few weeks.

He defied that prognosis and many others in his 35 years of full and varied life.

St Luke’s Church in Oamaru was packed for his memorial service.

He had left instructions the service was to be a celebration and that people should wear bright clothes.

This obituary helps explain why his was an inspirational life.


More self-confidence than self-knowledge

January 12, 2014

Self-confidence is one of the necessary attributes for politicians.

Unfortunately many don’t also have self-knowledge.

That’s the quality that helps them know if it’s right to stage a come-back and when it’s time to go.

Rodney Hide has got it.

. . . I loved being MP for Epsom. The people were very good to me. It was a tremendous privilege to get to know the diverse communities and neighbourhoods in such a great part of our greatest city.

In my time, thousands of people came to see me from across the political spectrum, very often at the end of their tether. I was usually able to help. It was satisfying work.

I didn’t want to go when I got the sack. As a minister in Government I was able to help Epsom people better than ever before and I finally had legislation under way to ensure better and more-principled government.

But that’s politics. It wasn’t to be.

And now the position of Act candidate for Epsom is open again. I am very pleased Act has excellent candidates in prospect. I have concluded it can’t be me. . . .

Hide was a good local MP, and he also became a minister. He then paid a high price for taking a perk after gaining a justified reputation as a perk-buster.

But he’s been there and done that and there are far more examples of people who make the mistake of going back than those who make a come-back work.

If Act is to survive it needs fresh faces.

In his own party, Roger Douglas and John Banks are good examples of returns which fell flat.

Hide brings up another:

There was a time when Winston Peters could rattle an entire government, bringing ministers to their knees. Now, even junior ministers get the better of him.

I think it’s sad. Peters appears like some aged rock star who has partied way too hard and is now up on stage trying to relive the glory days. Or perhaps a champion boxer who has stayed too long in the ring. I wouldn’t want that.

I thought the worst thing for Peters was getting dumped in 2008. No. The worst thing for Peters was getting back in 2011.

New MPs snigger at him. There was a time he would have swatted them down like flies.

I prefer to remember Peters as he was. He’s a salutary lesson. . .

He too has been there and done that but he doesn’t know when to let go.

He’s holding on, collecting the pay, warming a seat and occasionally venturing out to dog whistle to the disaffected.

But if he had a fraction of the self-knowledge to match his self-confidence he’d know it’s time to go.


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