Absterge – to make clean by wiping; to wipe away; to cleanse; to purge.
Photo of the day:
Prime Minister John Key at Kilt clothing in Napier.
Captions are welcome – wit is encouraged, abuse is not.
Directors and farmer shareholders have given chief executive Wayne McNee the go-ahead to trim executive numbers from 11 to 8. The post of chief operating officer is abolished and four new management positions are advertised. Several current executives may settle for non-executive roles or quit.
Staff learned this month of a strategy to earn $1 billion in revenues by 2025; the animal breeding and farm technology service provider earned $200m last year. . . .
Outlining the changes to Rural News, chief executive Steven Carden said the SOE wants people to realise there is a direct correlation between a strong Landcorp and a strong New Zealand farming sector.
Directors and staff know about the proposed changes, due for further discussion during another strategy session at a board meeting in a few weeks.
Historically the organisation has been relatively inward looking, he says. Now he’d like to see Landcorp working more collaboratively with other partners and looking well beyond the farmgate and engaging with others. . . .
Why scientific method sorts weak from chaff – Doug Edmeades:
According to my dictionary an anecdote is “a short narrative of an incident of private life”. Anecdotes are frequently used to sell dubious products to unsuspecting farmers. Their use is rife among fertiliser products.
You will all have heard them. “The chap at the end of the road put on some of that stuff – my word his lambs looked good this year”. Or, “This guy sold me some humate, I chucked it on a bad paddock down the back – now there are earthworms everywhere”. And one that has always intrigued me comes from the south, “Joe put some of that seaweed liquid fertiliser on and now hundreds of seagulls follow his plough”.
The seductiveness of anecdotes is that they are derived from observation and only a fool would dare tell a farmer that his observations are BS .. .
The eleven 2014 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year finalists are together managing 5200 cows producing more than two million kilograms of milksolids.
“These finalists represent a group of dairy farm employees that work extremely hard and put in long hours to harvest the country’s sought after fresh milk in the most cost effective, sustainable and efficient manner,” National Convenor Chris Keeping says.
“The finalists are also passionate about what they do and are keen to progress their dairy industry career.” . . .
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have finished another successful year, with Supreme winners from 10 regions recognised for their outstanding contribution to agricultural sustainability.
David Natzke, General Manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, says the 2014 competition drew a “wonderful group of entrants” and the high standard made it a real challenge for judges to pick out the final Supreme winners.
“Attendance at all the regional award ceremonies was well up on previous years. This reflects a great recognition of the awards and how well they are managed and promoted in the regions.”
Taranaki was welcomed into the competition for 2014 and the announcement of the first Taranaki Supreme winner was another highlight, says Mr Natzke. . .
Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of road shows being held around the country during May.
RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says rural contractors need to get to grips with proposed changes to health and safety regulations following the recent introduction of the Health & Safety in Employment Reform Bill into Parliament.
“There are some really major changes planned which will most definitely affect rural contractors,” he explains.
“The penalties for getting it wrong, should someone suffer a bad accident at their workplace, are very severe.” . . .
Crowds gathered at the Mackenzie Showgrounds in Fairlie Monday 21 April for the final stop of the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competition series.
The Aorangi Regional Final saw Hinds Agris, Ella Yeatman, William Ward and Hayden Jefferson from Hinds School take home the top honour for the AgriKidsNZ competition and High Country Hillbillies, Holly Malcolm and Ella Sanderson from St Kevin’s School were first in the TeenAg event.
The competitions test skills, strength and stamina while introducing youth to the fun side of agriculture. Primary and high school students from all walks of life are welcome to join in. . .
Over recent months, the debate on water quality has reached boiling point with reports and commentary from prominent figures such as Dr Jan Wright Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Sir David Skegg President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and Dame Anne Salmond calling for a shift in farming practices.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of producers bucking a trend of declining water quality and profitability through a focus on soil health. The Association of Biological Farmers (ABF) are hosting NZ’s first Green Agriculture Innovation Awards (GAIA) this August in recognition of these timely innovations. Entries for the Awards are closing soon! ABF wants to congratulate and celebrate not only the farmers and growers but also consultants and bio-fertiliser companies that, at a mushrooming pace, are changing the face of food production in New Zealand. . . .
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce have released a study of the East Coast region’s economic potential over the next 30 years.
The East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study assesses the region’s economic performance and barriers to development, and models five economic growth scenarios along with their implications for transport infrastructure and the skills needed.
Mr Brownlee says the study shows the economic importance of maintaining and boosting the road network in the East Coast, particularly in Gisborne.
“There will be an increase in logging freight over the next decade and improved roading will be vital to support that and other industries,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The study illustrates the need to develop further capacity for heavy vehicles on State Highway 35 north of Gisborne and to maintain the quality of State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Napier, and northwest of Gisborne to the Bay of Plenty.
“I will be asking the New Zealand Transport Agency to review its plans for these highways in light of this study.”
The report also concludes there is little evidence to support the case for reinstatement of the damaged rail line from Gisborne to Napier.
“When operational, rail only accounted for 2 to 3 per cent of freight from the region and the report finds no clear evidence of a significant economic impact following its closure,” Mr Brownlee says.
Mr Joyce says the East Coast already has a strong primary sector ranging from forestry, livestock farming and meat processing to horticulture, viticulture and food and beverage manufacturing, and the report shows there was potential to develop more innovative, higher-value processing to support these industries.
“The report also notes other economic opportunities such as the untapped potential to attract international tourists, and the development of the oil and gas industry. Large scale oil and gas production would result in the local economy growing by 27 per cent with an additional 3,300 jobs,” Mr Joyce says.
Mr Joyce says up-skilling the existing East Coast workforce and attracting skilled workers to the region were fundamental to economic growth.
“The study has shown emerging skill shortages across the spectrum, without which the region cannot grow. Over the next decade there is expected to be greater demand for managers, engineers, transport specialists, machine and plant operators, and labourers in forestry and wood processing. Some of these skills will need to come from outside the region but there are excellent opportunities to further lift training, particularly for young Maori,” Mr Joyce says.
“The Government is in the process of rolling out its $43 million investment in the Maori and Pacific Trades Training initiative, with groups in the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay that involve iwi already signed up. This will help industries on the East Coast get employees with the skills they need.
“This report will help the East Coast to assess whether it wants to take up the opportunities for jobs and economic growth in its region.”
The study was jointly commissioned by the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in collaboration with the Gisborne, Napier, Hastings and Wairoa District Councils, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou, Te Rūnanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.
It forms part of a series of regional economic growth studies that will be commissioned by the Government in partnership with regional stakeholders. A request for proposal the Northland study was announced earlier this month.
The report is here.
The report found little evidence to support the case for reinstating the damaged rail link between Gisborne and Napier.
The mothballed Napier to Gisborne railway could get a facelift and become a cycling track.
National’s Napier candidate Wayne Walford is seeking online public support for a “Sunrise Rail Trail” cycling track linking Napier and Gisborne.
“I think a cycleway down the east coast would be simply stunning,” Mr Walford said yesterday , adding it would be the only fly-in and fly-out cycling trail in the country as there were airports at both ends.
“I’ve launched the Sunrise Rail Trail [Facebook] page to gauge support for the idea.” . . .
That’s a much better, and less expensive plan, than Labour’s which is to reopen the line even though the case to do so is weak.
The Sunrise Rail Trail Facebook page is here.
Grass Based Health explains the refuted roots of organics:
Can you tell the difference between these two molecules of urea?
The urea on the left can be isolated from cattle urine (urea is the principal nitrogenous waste product of amphibians and mammals). The urea on the right can be produced via the Wohler process. They are, of course, exactly the same molecule. Subscribers to organic farming methods, however, believe that the urea on the left is an acceptable nitrogen source, while the urea on the right is not.
Once upon a time, many years ago, people who considered such things believed that there were substances that could only be synthesized by living organisms. This dichotomy between living (organic) and non-living (inorganic) is the basis of today’s chemistry sub disciplines. It was understood that life arose from and involved “life forces” that were apart from the purely physical and chemical realm. In other words, all “living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things”.1 This is the philosophy of “vitalism.”
In 1828 Friedrich Wohler accidentally made urea in the laboratory. This marked the breaking of the barrier between “organic” and “inorganic” compounds (he told his teacher that he had made “urea without requiring a kidney of an animal, either man or dog.”). He had refuted a core tenant of vitalism. Wohler wrote that he had witnessed “the great tragedy of science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” Vitalism was fiercely debated for the next 75 years before it was replaced by our modern understanding of chemistry and biology. Yet this belief system, perhaps unknowingly, is held by many today. . .
A friend bought some organic wine then looked at the ingredients and discovered chemicals.
She asked how that could be and was told the grapes were grown organically but the wine didn’t have to be made that way.
Organics seems to be based on the premise that natural is good and something assisted by people isn’t.
That is not necessarily so.
Act leader Jamie Whyte is proposing that three strikes for burglary will put offenders in jail.
Over two thousand families will come home after this Easter Weekend to discover that burglars have robbed their homes.
If they are lucky they will just have lost their TVs, computers, cell phones, jewelry and cash. If they are unlucky the burglars will have trashed the home.
If they have insurance then the victims can claim. But they will discover the insurance company requires new locks, security screens, burglar alarms and, for commercial clients, possibly even the hiring of security guards.
Because successive governments have failed to do their primary job of providing for the secure use of our property, we must pay private firms to protect us against thieves. First we pay with our taxes and then we pay again because our taxes have been poorly spent.
Half of those who are robbed this Easter Weekend have no insurance. There will be students, beneficiaries, pensioners and other families who will lose everything they own. It happens every day.
Many will be traumatized. I know of people who, having been burgled, never feel safe again. No dead locks, sensor lights or alarms let them sleep well. The emotional cost of burglary is incalculable, but it is real.
When I was elected Leader of the ACT Party I said at our conference that we were considering a three-strikes policy for burglary, similar to our three-strikes policy for violent crime. I was attacked by commentators who said the idea was half-baked.
ACT has carefully researched the policy.
Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison.
Burglary in England has fallen by 35 percent.
There are reasons to believe the law will work even better here. In England there are professional criminals who come across from Europe to conduct crimes and their previous convictions are often unknown to authorities. And the English law allows parole for third strike offences.
ACT has consulted with experts on the likely cost to the taxpayer. Our view is that any increase in prison population will be moderate. Indeed, if it has the deterrent effect we expect, it may ultimately decrease the prison population. Four years after becoming law, that seems to be the effect of our policy of three strikes for violent crime.
Unlike violent crimes, which are sometimes spontaneous, burglary is a calculated crime.
Burglaries happen when burglars figure the rewards outweigh the risk of detection or likely punishment. Three strikes for burglary will change the calculation. . . .
Burglary is regarded as property crime but it is traumatic for the victims.
People who’ve been burgled say that even if nothing irreplaceable has been stolen, no mess was made and no damage done, the feeling that their home has been invaded is devastating.
It’s even worse if irreplaceable items of great personal value are taken, the burglars leave a mess and/or leave damage in their wake.
But will a three strikes and you’re in jail law act as a deterrent and help reduce burglaries?
Anyone who is charged with a crime after two previous convictions hasn’t learned, but will prison teach the lesson that’s needed?
It will keep the criminal off the streets, but it can be a nursery which teaches worse crimes.
Crime rates are dropping, but is the three strikes law for violent crimes one of the contributing factors or just a coincidence?
Even if it is a contributing factor to the drop in crime, would a similar three strikes and you’re in law work as well for burglary?
Prime Minister John Key says Easter trading laws aren’t working well and need to be changed.
He’s right on both counts, the law is an unholy mess.
Anyone can trade in Queenstown and Taupo but only some can in neighbouring Wanaka and Rotorua.
Outside the designated tourist areas a petrol station or dairy can sell magazines and milk but a book shop and supermarket can’t.
We were in Wanaka at the weekend, the town was full and almost all shops were open every day.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a statement saying it doesn’t discuss its enforcement approach with external parties and that it takes a reactive approach to trading laws, only investigating when complaints are made.
As of 1pm today, MBIE had received 18 complaints, most of them in the North Island, but one from Wanaka. . . .
At least we now don’t have the ridiculous situation of MBIE staff working to police those who shouldn’t be working, but having some busy-bodies reporting businesses doing what they shouldn’t in one place when they could in another isn’t much better.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has been trying to get some sense into the situation but it’s a conscience vote and with the left block voting the union way she hasn’t been able to get the numbers.
But one of the guests on RadioNZ’s panel last week came up with a compromise that might work – treat Good Friday and Easter Sunday like Anzac Day – have all businesses close in the morning but able to open in the afternoon.
This would be a compromise which won’t please everyone, but it would be better than the unholy mess we have now.