Word of the day

March 23, 2014

Muskings – refuse swept up from a barn and used for feeding pigs.


Rural round-up

March 23, 2014

Irrigator wins Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

IrrigationNZ congratulates Mark and Devon Slee on taking out the main prize at last night’s Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Mark is a board member of IrrigationNZ with an irrigated dairy farm in Ealing within Ashburton District employing 13 full time and two part time staff.

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says Mark and Devon’s sustainable irrigation practices and investment in technology played a large part in their win.

“Mark and Devon are among our top performing irrigators because of their significant investment in technology and personal commitment to reducing their environmental footprint,” says Mr Curtis. . .

PGP Forestry programme takes big step forward:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew are welcoming commercialisation of new forestry technology this week as a big step forward in improving both productivity and safety.

“The Steepland Harvesting Programme is a very exciting Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project, with $6 million in joint funding from the industry and the Government and a vision of ‘No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw’,” says Mr Guy.

The new technology involves harvesting on steep slopes using new mechanised technology, rather than exposing forestry workers to risk.

The project was demonstrated to around 55 forestry contractors and company representatives at a Future Forest Research field day in Maungataniwha forest near Napier this week. . .

Minister signs new conservation accord:

An accord between the newly established $100 million NEXT Foundation and the Government was signed in Nelson today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“The NEXT Foundation is an incredible deed of generosity which has the potential to deliver huge steps forward for conservation in New Zealand. This Accord is about providing the right framework for DOC to partner with the Foundation and to ensure we maximise the conservation gains from this huge investment,” Dr Smith says.

“There are two key elements to the Accord. The first is in ensuring these funds go to new projects that are out and above the work the Government would have ordinarily done. The second is in providing a commitment that the conservation gains are maintained into the future. . . .

Ministers leading agribusiness delegation to South America:

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy are leading an agribusiness delegation to Chile and Colombia from 23-28 March.

“Latin America is a valued trading partner for New Zealand and a fast growing region,” says Mr Groser. 

“Our relationship with Chile is thriving with a high level of engagement in areas such as energy and environment, agriculture and education. They are encouraging New Zealand business to explore future investment opportunities and we hope to build on this.

“In Colombia we are aiming to build a greater understanding of the market, through a range of farm visits and meetings with local Ministers and authorities.” . . .

Arable research body sets strategy:

The Foundation for Arable Research has just launched its next three-year strategy, which aims to keep arable farming a good viable option for farmers.

Chief executive Nick Pyke says the key points include making sure they have the right people doing the research and having leading research that has the ability to make a difference for farmers.

He says arable farming is buoyant at the moment and they want that to continue. . .

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef With Chipotle (Part 2): The Definition of a Family Farmer – Greg Peterson:

Chipotle’s videos depict today’s farmers as huge, industrial farmers, concerned not about ethics and animalwelfare, but motivated rather by greed and money. This could not be further from the truth!

There are over 2 million farmers in this country. Each of whom are working long hours, braving extreme weather, and tirelessly caring for land and livestock. How many of those farmers are family farmers? 96 percent of them, according to the USDA, including the farm I work on with my brothers, my parents and my sister. In fact, I’ve never actually met a farmer who isn’t a family farmer! Have you? I’m sure there are a few out there, but even then, do you really think a farm run by non-family members would operate any differently from those that are? . . .

Rural Women™ International Year of Family Farming Roadshow kicks off next week:

Four South Island towns will be celebrating the International Year of Family Farming next week, as the Rural Women NZ roadshow series gets underway. Three North Island events will follow in early April.

“Rural Women NZ has always backed families working on the land, and in the rural communities that surround them,” says Liz Evans, who is promoting the Rural Women NZ roadshow to be held in Marlborough’s Rai Valley on 30 March.

“For this reason, we were ‘first in’ to initiate a nationwide programme of events to support the UN International Year of Family Farming, a timely opportunity to celebrate the dedication and contribution of farming families, past, present and future.” . . .

Lick block increases lamb survival in triplet bearing ewes:

Significant improvements in lamb survival have been demonstrated by using Crystalyx blocks in a University of Auckland trial in Southland.

Crystalyx Extra High Energy molasses blocks were provided as a supplement to ewes from three weeks prior to lambing through to weaning and resulting in an 11% increase in lambs presented for docking, compared to the control flock.

Barry and Julie Crawford’s Rosebank Farm near Gore was the venue for the trial to determine the benefits of targeted supplementation on triplet bearing ewes. . . 

The Rosebank property is part of the FARMIQ programme. . .

Seed Industry Opens New Office in Templeton, Christchurch:

The New Zealand seed industry is pleased to announce the official opening of its new office in Templeton, Christchurch.

The opening on Wednesday was officiated by the Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries, and attended by over 100 VIPs and guests including Kelvin Coe, the Mayor of Selwyn District.

“It’s a huge honour for our industry to have the Minister officiate and his acknowledgement of the vital importance of our sector to the wider primary industry,” says General Manager Thomas Chin. . .


Blue Squares

March 23, 2014

Open large picture

©2014 Brian Andreas at Story People – published with permission.

If you’d like a daily dose of whimsy like this you’ll find where to sign up for emails by clicking the link.


5/10

March 23, 2014

Only 5/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz – however, I’d like to claim a bonus for noticing it’s dated December 07.2013 although the questions refer to events this week.


Software to blame

March 23, 2014

The NBR’s In Tray (not on-line) has identified a software problem:

Stung by surveys showing ongoing popular resistance to its new brand, the blue-collar chip software company Labour is understood to be mulling a re-launch of its recently unveiled product. Since the Leadership3, unpopularly known as Cunliffe, appeared on the market last year, consumers focus groups drawn from across the board have shown marked resistance to the Cunliffe package with one recent survey showing that fewer than one in three consumers would buy the item if it were offered in its current condition this year. A marketing campaign headed by Mattski & Associates, has suggested a number of fresh priorities for the brand, including a new name (CunLife, “emphasising new energy, new direction, new donations”), a gruelling schedule of presentations to business seminars and the possibility of a guest appearance as a sports anchor at the next major All Blacks fixture at the [cont’d]

If that’s the case does the party need a reboot or a whole new programme?


Wrong side of the line

March 23, 2014

Opposition parties have to tread a fine line between attacks aimed at the government and those which could damage anyone, and anything, caught in the crossfire.

Has Labour got on the wrong side of the line with their on-going fuss over Judith Collins and Oravida while Prime Minsiter John Key ahs been in China?

But the Opposition has been determined to try to ensure Key does not get to politically bank the positives from the deepening bilateral relationship.

This is a mistake, especially given Labour’s own groundbreaking role in forging bilateral ties with China.

Helen Clark – with her profound understanding of international politics and intuitive approach to cementing deals with political leaders of a vastly different ideological mindset – played the diplomatic pathfinder role.

It was Clark’s Government that took the political risk of hurting New Zealand’s relationship with that other great power, the United States, by making significant concessions over China’s “market economy status” to negotiate the free trade deal. Clark Government ministers Phil Goff and Jim Sutton were at the cutting edge. Their negotiations enjoyed bilateral support from then Opposition trade spokesman Tim Groser.

It is a great pity that this “New Zealand Inc” approach has now been deliberately thrown out the window by Opposition politicians out to make domestic political advantage in election year. . .

National and Labour used to have a fair degree of consensus over trade and its importance. In the past week Labour has put political opportunism first.

New Zealand exporters were pleased Key was able to make time after his Xi dinner for photo opportunities with their Chinese clients at Wednesday night’s Celebration of Dairy dinner.

The event kicked on – as they tend to – elsewhere at the Four Seasons hotel and in various nightspots around Beijing.

Here’s the thing: New Zealand exporters are scathing of the Opposition’s timing of the Oravida revelations. Beijing expats retain deep suspicions that in the first place, some “low-level” Foreign Affairs official leaked details of Cabinet minister Judith Collins’ off-schedule meetings with Stone Shi’s Oravida in October, and that the Opposition sat on the issue until the eve of the Prime Minister’s China trip to inflict maximum political damage while he was overseas.

Political foes might be fair game but exporters are not and this timing looks suspiciously like it wasn’t a coincidence.

The upshot is that, yet again, a positive diplomatic foray by Key has been overshadowed by domestic politics.

Collins’ links with the company of which her husband is a director needs to be examined.

But Labour’s decision to rain on Key’s parade is not only short-sighted but mean-spirited.

If Labour wins the next election it will be the beneficiary of Key’s China-related diplomacy in the same way that the Prime Minister has benefited from Clark’s visionary moves.

Reflect on that.

There’s not just political benefits for whichever parties are in government after the election, there’s trade gains to be made with the economic and social gains that come from that which political opportunism from the opposition could have derailed.


Imagine . . .

March 23, 2014

Imagine there’s a wealthy man who had been convicted of crimes in another country, is awaiting extradition to face charges on other matters.

Imagine that he’s also facing serious allegations about paying staff far less than the minimum wage and owes considerable sums to creditors.

Imagine that to amuse himself, keep himself in the headlines, avenge himself of real or imagined slights and/or possibly get enough political clout to prevent the extradition, he decides to set up a political party.

Imagine that this man is going to get an MP from a small right or centre-right party to defect to his party.

Imagine the uproar from the left and the coverage in the media.

Would it be as mild and if not supportive, at least as unquestioning as this story that says Dotcom claims first MP?

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom claims he has signed up one sitting MP to join his new party before the election and is talking to three more – a poaching raid unprecedented in New Zealand politics. . . .

He refuses to disclose the identity of the MP, saying it will be revealed once the Internet Party is registered and has chosen all its candidates, probably in June.

His revelation came in an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday yesterday.

Dotcom said he was also in talks with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira to unite their two parties under one umbrella, enabling the Internet Party to ride into Parliament on the coat-tails of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate MP.

The two leaders and their party bosses, Vikram Kumar and Gerard Hehir, met on February 28 at a house on Auckland’s North Shore.

The Mana Party executive will this week consider a merger proposal. Mana would bring one or two electorates, the Internet Party would bring a more broadly-based party vote and $1 million-plus in campaign funding. . .

The reporter might think that enough has been said about Dotcom’s history but surely, when the Supreme Court has just dismissed his claim to see all the evidence the US has against him, it ought to be part of the story.

. . . “The Mana Party is one of several parties we are talking to, to form an alliance,” Dotcom revealed.

“We are also talking to a number of MPs that have won electorates and are likely to win electorates again. Our goal is to put together a good alliance to make sure this agenda we have gets into Parliament.

“I can tell you right now that we will certainly have one MP with an electorate in the Internet Party.” . . .

It’s difficult to believe a National MP, with the odds favouring a return not just to parliament but probably government, would be mad enough to have anything to do with this man and his party.

Someone in Labour, doing the maths and thinking that s/he’s facing at best another three years in opposition if not losing a seat altogether might be desperate, or stupid, enough to contemplate changing wakas.

But anyone with a passing knowledge of history would know that there are far more MPs who’ve done that and disappeared than the very few who’ve kept their seats.

The accompanying editorial does mention the extradition, gagging order against his former body guard and creditors.

But it too avoids any mention of buying elections or crony capitalism and attempted corruption that would almost certainly be part of a story were the would-be puppet master be attempting to pull the strings of MPs in the centre or right.


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