NZer World Champion shearer

May 26, 2014

New Zealand has another world champion:

Twenty seven year old Rowland Smith from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand is the new World Champion Machine Sheep Shearer. Earlier this evening in Gorey, he fought off stiff competition from Scotland’s Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell, who came second and third respectively. Gavin was the defending champion.

By common consent this week’s championships in Gorey have helped raise the profile of sheep shearing to a world-wide audience, given that 27 countries and 102 individual shearers took part.

Rowland was born on to a sheep farm, with the family enterprise extending to 1,500 breeding ewes. Twice a winner of the Golden Shears’ event in New Zealand, this was his first time competing in the world championships.

“I have been shearing since coming out of nappies,” Rowland told Agriland.

“And today’s victory is as much for my family back home as it is for me as an individual.”

Last year Rowland sheared 60,000 sheep in New Zealand. . .

Jamie Mackay interviewed Rowland on the Farming Show today.


Word of the day

May 26, 2014

Varlet – a man or boy acting as an attendant or servant;  a menial servant;  a dishonest or deceitful man; an unprincipled rogue; a knavish person; rascal.


War room now panic station

May 26, 2014

Patrick Gower says David Cunliffe needs to walk into Labour’s “war-room” right now and re-name it “the panic station”.

Labour’s big fear right now will be its vote collapsing completely. Labour will be worried that voters decide it can’t win – and instead vote for New Zealand First, the Greens or just stay at home.

In 2002 when National was at its nadir lots of voters decided it couldn’t win.

Some went to the wee parties – NZ First and whatever iteration of United Future was around then. Others voted Labour to reduce the power of the Green and other wee parties.

Last night’s 3 News/Reid Research poll has National on 50.3 percent and Labour on 29.5 percent.

John Key was on 43.2 percent and Cunliffe 9.8 percent as preferred Prime Minister

Scorelines of 50-29 and 43-9 – on the rugby pitch, that’s what you call a thrashing.

In our first poll of the year, Cunliffe could have been Prime Minister. Now he is polling worse than David Shearer is when Labour threw him out.

I’m not surprised by the number of people who aren’t politically aligned who tell me they like John Key, he is a very likeable man.

I am relieved by the number of unaligned people who tell me they just don’t like Cunliffe and this anecdotal evidence is backed up by the polls.

Labour is suddenly in serious strife. 

Suddenly? No.

It’s been on a slide since before the 2005 election. That slide accelerated to its election loss in 2008, it went backwards at the 2011 election and every step forwards since then has been followed by at least one backwards.

National is doing well, Labour is doing badly. And while National has few coalition options, Labour has some but they’re not attractive to many voters either.

. . . And don’t underestimate the Greens/New Zealand First coalition issues – I believe this has had a major impact.

The Left-bloc has looked scrappy, it has never ever looked clear to voters exactly what Labour would do – and that’s meant it hasn’t looked like a Government-in-waiting.

It is like they have been operating to a script Steven Joyce has written entitled “Labour-Green-NZ First governing relationship dysfunction”.

Now I know you’ve got to wait for the voters to decide – but you can send much better governing relationship messages than Labour has. . .

The perception of a relationship dysfunction won’t have been helped by Meteria Turei’s repeating the suggestion that the Green Party has co-deputy Prime Ministers should it be in coalition with Labour.Wee parties are wee parties because they don’t have widespread support and the idea of one of the wee parties getting too big for its boots is not one voters will warm to.

The weaker Labour is the more power its coalition partners would have and that isn’t an attractive proposition for voters either.


Rural round-up

May 26, 2014

Golden times return for kiwifruit trade – Jamie Gray:

Just as the last rites were about to be administered to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, a new disease-resistant variety has restored grower confidence to where it was just before the devastating Psa virus swept through Bay of Plenty orchards late in 2010.

Orchard prices have rebounded, investment has started again and fruit prices are better than for more than 10 years, giving growers reason to be more optimistic, industry representatives say.

Psa has already had a big impact on kiwifruit “gold” volumes, which fell by 55 per cent in 2013/14 compared with the previous season and to the lowest ever, but higher prices overall have helped to boost returns. Zespri estimates that this season will yield 17 million trays of Gold, up from 11 million trays in the previous season — thanks mostly to the fact that the new variety, called Gold3, is Psa-tolerant compared with its highly susceptible predecessor, Hort16A. . .

Open day showcase for award winner – Sally Rae:

”Capturing sunlight in a form you can eat.”

That is how Wayne McIntosh describes the fruit produced on his family’s award-winning orchard at Earnscleugh, near Alexandra.

Mr McIntosh, who has been managing the orchard for 10 years, was the supreme winner of this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards and hosted a field day on the property on Wednesday.

The 64ha property has about 34,000 trees producing cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and a range of trial fruits. . .

Dairy boss picks industry evolution – Jamie Gray:

The acquisition by French food giant Danone of two New Zealand dairy companies last month signals a new phase in the evolution of the local dairy industry – one in which manufacturers will get closer to their brands, says Synlait Milk managing director John Penno.

Danone last month said it had entered an agreement to buy processing firms Sutton Group and Gardians.

The announcement came as the dairy industry negotiated its way through new Chinese infant formula regulations.

Auckland company Sutton is best known for contract manufacturing of infant formula; Gardians has a milk powder spray drying plant in Otago. . . .

Pastoral lifestyles on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau – Keith Woodford:

This week I am writing from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in Western China, at 3600 metres above sea level. The Plateau is part of China’s pastoral zone where lifestyles are based on sheep and yak farming systems. I am here with three New Zealand colleagues from Lincoln University and AgResearch. Jim Moir is our soils specialist, Phil Rolston is our agronomy specialist, and Sharon (Xiaomeng) Lucock is our science and general translator who also helps co-ordinate the program. We are working with colleagues from Qinghai University, and also working with a commercial partner who processes yak milk into yoghurt which sells as far afield as Beijing and Shanghai.

The zone that we are working in is part of the Sanjiangyuan (Source of Three Rivers) Ecological Zone with an area 25% larger than all of New Zealand. The winter lasts for more than six months and the growing season is limited to late May through to the end of September. . . .

Theme recognises Fieldays’ future success – Tony Benny:

The theme for the National Fieldays premier feature this year recognises that the future success of New Zealand agriculture rests on effective use of all resources, says Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder.

Called Managing resources for a competitive advantage, the theme recognises that resources can be human, capital, natural, assets or livestock.

“There’s really a two-fold view. One is that we have got strength and capability in the way we manage our resources and the other is looking at what the future holds in terms of new innovations, new technology and new ways of managing resources,” he says.  . .

Volunteers key to Fieldays success – Sonita Chandar:

While visitors to the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays check out the latest products and innovations from the rural sector, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all is running smoothly. 

“We have a team of around 36 fulltime staff five of who work solely on Fieldays and more than 120 volunteers,” said Mystery Creek membership administrator Sierra Jenkins.

“Every single one of the volunteers is invaluable and without them the event wouldn’t be the success it is.” 

Volunteers are split into four teams covering all aspects of Fieldays. Around 30 people work in the guest services area overseen by Shirley Murphy. . .

Happy Beef month! We keep one of our steers every so often to use as meat for our family to eat..... it lasts us forever! #EATBEEF Some have pointed out some flaws in this picture and we apologize for that! (It's not ours) But the message to take away is that one steer feeds a lot of people!! (Picture via Kansas Department of Agriculture)


Can the polls be too good?

May 26, 2014

Three polls in a week have shown an encouraging level of support for National.

First was Roy Morgan:

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a gain in support for National (45.5%, up 3%) now back ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (44%, down 1.5%).

Support for Key’s Coalition partners is little changed with the Maori Party 1% (unchanged), ACT NZ (0.5%, unchanged) and United Future 0% (down 0.5%).

Support has fallen for the Opposition with the Labour Party down 0.5% to 30.5%, the Greens down 1% to 13.5%, New Zealand First 6% (unchanged), Mana Party 1% (unchanged). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (up 0.5%) and the Internet Party is now at 0.5% (down 1%). . . .

Last night another two polls confirmed the trend:

ONE News/Colmar Brunton:

 The latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll has National 10 points clear of the Labour and Greens block with less than four months to go to the election. . . .

ONE News political editor Corin Dann says Bill English’s sixth Budget has been well received and the poll shows National in a strong position, up four points to 51% while Labour has slipped one point to 30%, with the Greens steady on 11%.

New Zealand First is down two to 4.8% and the Conservatives are down one to 1%. But making its first appearance in the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll is Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party which debuts at 1% alongside the Maori Party and Act.

When it comes to seats in Parliament, National could govern alone with 65 seats while Labour and the Greens could muster just 52. The Maori Party would have three and Act, Mana and United Future one each.

However if NZ First makes the 5% threshold then National with 62 seats would need Act’s help to form a government.

Labour and the Greens would have 50 seats combined, but even with NZ First’s six MPs, the Maori Party’s three and Mana’s one, they would still fall short of the 63 seats needed for a majority. . .

3 News-Reid Research:

The Prime Minister and National are riding high on the post-Budget poll bump at 50.3 percent, up 4.4 percent from the last poll – a result Mr Key called “pleasing”.

It’s not so pleasing for Labour though, which dropped below the 30 percent mark, with 29.5 percent – a psychological blow for the party. . . .

Nearly three-quarters of voters – 73.2 percent – say they agree with National’s family package policy and most Labour voters – 67.3 percent – say they like it too. . .

Meanwhile, the Greens have dropped 1 percent to 10.2 percent and support for New Zealand First has grown by 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent. . .

Translating the poll results into seats in the House, National would get 61 – almost enough to govern alone, but with seven seats between its partners the Conservative Party, Maori Party, ACT and United Future it would give the right 68 seats.

Labour and the Greens would get 35 and 12 seats respectively, with Mana holding one seat and New Zealand First, seven.

But the poll results show the Labour-Green left-bloc is now on the back foot. . .

Other poll results:

  • Conservatives 2.3 percent, up 0.4 percent
  • Maori Party: 0.6 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • Internet Party: 0.6 percent, up 0.2 percent
  • ACT: 0.5 percent, down 0.6 percent
  • Mana 0.2 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • United Future: 0 percent, down 0.1 percent

These results are good, but there is a danger they are too good when there’s a tight and tough election ahead:

Prime Minister John Key is predicting a “tight and tough” election with the Government up against a “left wing block” of parties.

Mr Key told more than 250 party faithful at a conference in Hamilton today National could not be lulled into a false sense of security by high polling numbers ahead of the September 20 general election.

He said National was not just up against the lower polling Labour but its left counterparts including the Greens, New Zealand First, and Mana.

“The real risk for us is to underestimate just how close this election will be.

“None of us should be deluded into believing that a big poll lead by National against Labour means we have election 2014 in the bag.” . . .

 If this was a First Past the Post election National could be more confident.

But under MMP it’s not good enough for a party to have more support than its  biggest rival, it’s got to be able to muster at least 51% support in parliament.

And while National is tantalisingly close to that in polls, it is very unlikely to get that level of support at the election.

The danger is that some National supporters might see the polls, be complacent and think the party will get there without their votes.

Labour keeps saying the large number of people who didn’t vote last time were there supporters. Some might have been but some were supporters of National and its potential coalition partners.

Those supporters who don’t vote won’t just be not helping National.

They could be allowing a Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana and whichever other party they need to form a coalition to win.


We’re loving wool

May 26, 2014

It’s Wool Week and we’re loving it:

Proud declarations of “We’re Loving Wool!” will be heard around the country during New Zealand’s Wool Week from May 26 to June 2, 2014. Wool Week hopes to promote the wonders of wool and The Campaign for Wool’s work in New Zealand.

‘Wool Windows’ will be unveiled from over thirty-five designers and retailers, led by Zambesi Fashion. As CFW ‘Wool in Fashion’ Ambassador since 2011, Liz Finlay’s support is a huge asset to New Zealand’s wool industry.

Throughout May, Billboards and buses will exhibit a wool family proudly wearing New Zealand designed woollen clothing. Campaign for Wool social media will buzz with wool facts and New Zealanders will be encouraged to join the conversation and share reasons why they choose wool.

Supporters around the country have been invited to join the festivities at the Wool Week headquarters situated in Britomart, Auckland. Participants will have the chance to view wool art installations and even a live sheep show by a master sheep handler on Saturday, June 1st.

Wool Week 2014 is run by one of Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust’s brand partners, Primary Wool Co-operative. “Our goal is to raise the profile of the fibre and raise the profile of the work being done by The Campaign for Wool in New Zealand,” says Bay De Lautour, chairman of Primary Wool Co-operative.

HRH The Prince of Wales inspired The Campaign for Wool in 2010 to promote wool’s myriad of different uses. As a nation founded on sheep farming, New Zealand’s decision to support the Campaign was easy. It proudly stands alongside the UK and Australia as a founding member country.

“With the Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust (CFWNZT) now set up as a new independent entity, our focus is two-fold – working closely with brand partners in their efforts to drive consumer demand for wool and ensuring New Zealand wool is part of the sustainable high-end global story,” says Philippa Wright, Chair, CFWNZT.

“With PWC investing in the “I’m Loving Wool” week-long campaign and PGG Wrightson owning the “Wool in Schools” project, we are really starting to see the results of HRH The Prince of Wales’ intention to get the industry working together – collaborating on the generic messaging and competing for market share once demand has been driven up, she says.

“Globally, the US is CFW’s market of opportunity. New Zealand Strong wool makes up 80% of all wool used in the US while only 4% of all fibre used in the US is wool. If we can increase demand by a mere 2%, there would not be enough wool presently produced in the world to supply this demand.

“Globally, the opportunity for wool, which is on the cusp of hitting its stride, is exciting and New Zealand wool needs to be a lead player in this market, says Ms Wright.

 

Proud declarations of “We’re Loving Wool!” will be heard around the country during New Zealand’s Wool Week from May 26 to June 2, 2014. Wool Week hopes to promote the wonders of wool and The Campaign for Wool’s work in New Zealand.

‘Wool Windows’ will be unveiled from over thirty-five designers and retailers, led by Zambesi Fashion. As CFW ‘Wool in Fashion’ Ambassador since 2011, Liz Finlay’s support is a huge asset to New Zealand’s wool industry.

Throughout May, Billboards and buses will exhibit a wool family proudly wearing New Zealand designed woollen clothing. Campaign for Wool social media will buzz with wool facts and New Zealanders will be encouraged to join the conversation and share reasons why they choose wool.

Supporters around the country have been invited to join the festivities at the Wool Week headquarters situated in Britomart, Auckland. Participants will have the chance to view wool art installations and even a live sheep show by a master sheep handler on Saturday, June 1st.

Wool Week 2014 is run by one of Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust’s brand partners, Primary Wool Co-operative. “Our goal is to raise the profile of the fibre and raise the profile of the work being done by The Campaign for Wool in New Zealand,” says Bay De Lautour, chairman of Primary Wool Co-operative.

HRH The Prince of Wales inspired The Campaign for Wool in 2010 to promote wool’s myriad of different uses. As a nation founded on sheep farming, New Zealand’s decision to support the Campaign was easy. It proudly stands alongside the UK and Australia as a founding member country.

“With the Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust (CFWNZT) now set up as a new independent entity, our focus is two-fold – working closely with brand partners in their efforts to drive consumer demand for wool and ensuring New Zealand wool is part of the sustainable high-end global story,” says Philippa Wright, Chair, CFWNZT.

“With PWC investing in the “I’m Loving Wool” week-long campaign and PGG Wrightson owning the “Wool in Schools” project, we are really starting to see the results of HRH The Prince of Wales’ intention to get the industry working together – collaborating on the generic messaging and competing for market share once demand has been driven up, she says.

“Globally, the US is CFW’s market of opportunity. New Zealand Strong wool makes up 80% of all wool used in the US while only 4% of all fibre used in the US is wool. If we can increase demand by a mere 2%, there would not be enough wool presently produced in the world to supply this demand.

“Globally, the opportunity for wool, which is on the cusp of hitting its stride, is exciting and New Zealand wool needs to be a lead player in this market, says Ms Wright.

– See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/clamours-of-were-loving-wool-set-to-ripple-around-new-zealand/#sthash.Yximo2b3.dpuf

Clamours of “We’re Loving Wool!” set to ripple around New Zealand  http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/clamours-of-were-loving-wool-set-to-ripple-around-new-zealand/


Best years ahead of us

May 26, 2014

Rob Hosking makes some pertinent observations on the progressive fallacy of New Zealand’s political left.

One of the great paradoxes of New Zealand politics is that “progressives” are obsessed with the past and tradition; conservatives will breezily move on. . .

Those who believe, as a matter of faith and of self-identity, they are on the side of history tend to find it difficult to move on from lost battles.

It is not they who got it wrong, it is the voters.

Which leads, paradoxically, to New Zealand “progressives” obsession with the past: in particular, with rolling back what they call the “neoliberalism” of post-1984 New Zealand.

That is at the core of  Labour’s policy direction: it is still very much aimed at promising a better yesterday.

Government assistance for specific industries (wood processing), capital gains taxes, higher tax rates more generally, a de facto return to centralised wage fixing, intervening in the exchange rate, ministries for “social inclusion” and the like, compulsory saving … it is all about re-fighting old, lost, battles of the Norman Kirk/Bill Rowling 1972-75 government.

Which does not, somehow, seem all that progressive.

While Labour and its potential coalition partners are looking back to the past, peddling regressive policies and promising a better yesterday.

National is looking to a brighter future with progressive policies that will deliver a better tomorrow.

 

Join the campaign - ntnl.org.nz/1t0FGu4

Labour believes the best years are behind us and will try to take us backwards.

National believes the best years are in front of us and has the policies to take us forward.

Labour’s presenting pessimism.

National is providing optimism.

It’s our young that are our future and I see a very bright future ahead.


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