Alistair Polson dies aged 58

June 6, 2014

Agriculture envoy and former Federated Farmers president Alistair Polson has died.

“Alistair was a great farmer and a truly great New Zealander who has been taken from us way too soon,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bo and their family. 

“Bo and Alistair formed the most amazing and loving partnership and while Alistair was called overseas as Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, she kept the farm and family running.

“Where do you start with someone who gave so unstintingly of himself?  It is telling that despite Bo and Alistair’s home being inundated by the 2004 floods they put community before self.

“Alistair has been an office holder at most levels of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, serving as Wanganui provincial president and later National President between 1999 and 2002.

“Alistair has also served as a director of both the Waitotara Meat Company, PPCS (now Silver Fern Farms) and the Agriculture Industry Training Organisation. He has also served on the New Zealand Veterinary Council and the then National Animal Welfare Advisory Board.

“With a strong environmental ethos Alistair chaired the NZ Landcare Trust for seven years and in 2012, he became chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Awards Trust. 

“Chairing the New Zealand Farm Environment Awards Trust was something I know Alistair was deeply proud of.  It assured him the next generation of farmers cared for the land every bit as much as he did.

“Alistair himself won the Grasslands Memorial Trust Award for sustained improvement of pastures and sheep breeds in Wanganui hill country.  He was a past Nuffield Scholar and would later chair the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust too.

“In 2004 he was appointed New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy by the Hon Phil Goff and continued in that role to 2013 under the Hon Tim Groser.

“In Argentina, for the World Farmers Organisation earlier this year, South American delegates mentioned Alistair’s name with reverence.  He was a noble man of true mana who gave his all for New Zealand.

“Alistair was a giant and his loss touches us all greatly,” Mr Wills concluded.

The Farm Environment Trust also pays tribute:

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust has lost a truly inspirational leader.

Alistair Polson died on Thursday, June 5, following a short illness.

The well-known Wanganui farmer was a highly respected member of the farming community. He had extensive experience in business management and farming politics, serving as national president of Federated Farmers from 1999 to 2002. In 2004 he was appointed Special Agricultural Trade Envoy for New Zealand, and in 2012 he was elected chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE).

NZFE acting chairman Simon Saunders says Mr Polson will be greatly missed by the Trust and by the wider farming community and he extends his sincere sympathy to Bo Polson and their children, Nick, Guy and Sarah.

“They have shared Alistair with so many and the loss of such a wonderful husband and father will be devastating, their family plans and dreams for the future have been so sadly taken from them.”

“Alistair made a massive contribution to New Zealand agriculture and he was a passionate and inspirational advocate for New Zealand farming. The Trust and New Zealand agriculture in general have lost a valued leader and a great friend.”

Mr Polson took over the chairmanship of NZFE in October 2012.

Prior to joining the Trust he was a member of the judging panel for the National Winner award in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. He was a key supporter of the concept that good environmental practice and profitable farming go hand in hand.

“Alistair jumped straight into the role of chairman and he led the organisation with considerable professionalism and a huge amount of enthusiasm,” Mr Saunders says.

“He quickly grasped what the Trust was all about and his proven leadership ability was a great asset for the Trust and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Mr Saunders says Mr Polson had a huge amount of passion for agriculture and a warm and approachable personality.

“Alistair loved nothing more than to be able to discuss and promote all the great attributes of our agricultural industry”

Mr Polson’s achievements in agriculture were extensive. He was a former director or committee member of a number of rural-based organisations, including AgITO, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, Veterinary Council of New Zealand and NZ Landcare Trust.

An agricultural science graduate from Massey University and a Nuffield Scholar, he also held company directorships with two major meat companies.

Mr Polson farmed in the Mangamahu Valley, near Wanganui.

“The wheel has turned completely since the days when the hero in the valley was the farmer who chopped down as much bush and scrub as possible. Now the heroes are the farmers who are retiring native bush, fencing waterways and planting trees for shade, shelter and erosion control.” – Alistair Polson.

Farming and New Zealand are the richer from his contributions and the poorer for his too-early death.


Politics daily

June 6, 2014

While I link to a variety of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end.

You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

John Key in Pacific

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – Hard questions for Key in Niue

NZ to invest $1.25 million into tourism and energy in Niue

John Banks

John Armstrong @ NZ Herald – John Banks will take verdict hard

John Armstrong @ NZ Herald – National left nursing party that’s a never ending embarrassment

Adam Bennett @ NZ Herald – Key: Banks is honest, has ‘options’

Ian Steward, Laura Walters, Hamish Rutherford @ Stuff – John Banks’ position ‘untenable

Tracy Watkins  @ Dominion Post – John Banks is clinging to the wreckage

Hamish Rutherford @ Stuff – Banks case throws by-election into the mix

ODT – Resignation the honest action

The Press –  Verdict ruins a reputation

Stuff – John Banks: A life in politics

Inventory 2 @ Keepign Stock – Hoist by his own petard

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – The sanctimony and hypocrisy of David Cunliffe

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog

Andrew Geddis @ Pundit – Banks redux | Pundit

The Veteran @ No Minister – On John Banks

Labour

Cameron Slater @ Whaleoil – Labour’s Immigration policy this week looks quite different to last week, and different to the week before that

Cameron Slater @ Whaleoil – Chris Trotter is either on the payroll or simply lost the plot completely

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – I wonder if Labour’s expensive American software caused this or are they just tits?

Matthew Beveridge – Labour Party to or by?

Coat tailing

NZ Herald – National should rise to challenge on coat-tailing

Carbon tax

Cameron Slater @ Whale oil – About that carbon tax huh?

Other

Matthew Beveridge – Rock Enrol: Non partisan or not?

Donal Curtin – @ The Dismal Science – In praise of policy rules

Matthew Beveridge – Come discuss with Clayton Commerce

Government Finance Statistics (Central Government): Year ended June 2013


Word of the day

June 6, 2014

Mensur – the traditional kind of fencing; the distance between two duellers.


Cunliffe chucks stones from glass house

June 6, 2014

Prime Minister John Key said he was not in a position to offer the former Auckland mayor, now Act MP, John Banks advice.  

. . . “It’s not for me to offer a view on that,” Key said in Nelson this morning.

“In the end he is the leader of another political party.

“I can’t offer him advice any more than I could offer David Cunliffe advice on whether he should resign.”

Asked about Cunliffe’s claims that the Government was being propped up by a “corrupt” politician, Key said Cunliffe should rule out working with the Internet Party.

“I’m not going to be lectured by David Cunliffe,” he said.

“If he was the man of principle he says he is, he’d be ruling out the Internet Party and Kim Dotcom who’s before the court and is a convicted fraudster, but he’s not going to do that. Most people will see it for what it is, which is politics.” . . .

The PM didn’t have to sack Banks as a minister because he resigned.

He doesn’t have the power to sack him as an MP.

Banks was elected by the people of Epsom. Unless or until he’s convicted he can resign, which would be the honourable thing to do, or tough it out for another few weeks until parliament rises but he can’t be sacked.

Cunliffe should be very careful about criticising the PM over this because he’s chucking dirty great stones from a glass house.

He does have the ability to rule out any deal with the Internet Mana Party but won’t because he knows he might need the support of its MPs to govern.


Rural round-up

June 6, 2014

Milk production hits record levels – Gerard Hutching:

Chasing higher prices, dairy farmers have produced a record 1.8 billion kilograms of milksolids in 2013-14, a 160 million kg hike over the year before, the latest economic update from the ASB reports.

“Of the 10 per cent increase, 7.5 per cent comes from Fonterra’s farmers, with other companies lifting it to the 10 per cent,” economist Nathan Penny said.

He said that the increase was not just a response to higher prices, but farmers had also bounced back from the drought of 2012-13.

“But you don’t get a rebound from the drought two years in a row, it’s harder to get a big jump again,” Penny said. . .

Industry champion rendered speechless – Annette Scott:

Being named the winner of this year’s Deer Industry Award came as a bit of a shock for Paddy Boyd, who admits he was lost for words. He talked to Annette Scott.

When Mackenzie farmer and Haldon Station manager Paddy Boyd was named winner of this year’s Deer Industry Award he was lost for words.

The announcement at the industry conference in Methven came as a surprise for Boyd, who said he was usually able to string a few words together as a voice for deer producers. . .

Flock House farm to be jointly run:

A Rangitikei based iwi, a Maori incorporation and local Pakeha farmers will be working together to run the historic Flock House farm near Bulls.

AgResearch has completed the sale of its Flock House farm to Nga Waiariki-Ngati Apa for an undisclosed sum.

The farm was brought by Te Runanga o Ngati Apa, in partnership with Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation and Waitatapia Station Limited, and farming will be carried out by Te Hou Farms Limited Partnership. . .

$7m to assess irrigation viability in South Canterbury:

A new funding agreement will investigate the viability of the Hunter Downs irrigation scheme for up to 40,000 ha in South Canterbury, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

‘The Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund will provide $7.044 million over two years to co-fund technical investigations and design work to determine if an irrigation scheme is viable, both from a technical and economic perspective,’ says Mr Guy.

‘This will be matched by funds from shareholder equity and the scheme’s partner, Meridian Energy. . .

Green Ribbon Award finalists announced:

To mark World Environment Day, Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the finalists for the 2014 Green Ribbon Awards, which honour outstanding contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment.

“Over the 24 years of the Green Ribbon Awards, more than 150 environmental champions have been recognised for their initiative, commitment and dedication to tackling environmental issues,” Ms Adams says.

“For this year’s awards, 113 nominations were received across 12 categories. The finalists come from a range of backgrounds and the work they do is challenging, time-consuming and sometimes unrewarded. . . .

Federated Farmers @ Fieldays 2014:

Federated Farmers has not only uprated its 2014 Fieldays presence with a site in the feature pavilion but will hold the final meeting of its current Board in Hamilton ahead of Fieldays.

“Federated Farmers will make Hamilton, or should I say, Megatron, as its base for Fieldays week,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, who retires from the role in July.

“As this is my final Fieldays as National President, I am pleased to say we are making our largest ever investment into our Fieldays site.  . . .

Drinking water from poo nearly ready for market:

A technology for extracting drinkable water from manure is on its way to commercial application this year, a US university said today. The technology is particularly useful for animal operations in dry regions where water is at a premium, according to Michigan State University.

The McLanahan Nutrient Separation System is an add-on to an anaerobic digester, which extracts energy and chemicals from manure. The system adds ultrafiltration, air stripping and a reverse osmosis system to produce water that’s clean enough for cattle to drink. . .

 


Friday’s answers

June 6, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said:The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.?

2. Which animal said All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.?

3. What feature differentiates fish from other water-dwelling creatures?

4. What is a redd?

5. Fish, feathers or fur for a pet?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three right, J Bloggs got two and Alwyn got three with a bonus for the full answer to #2.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Money but no people

June 6, 2014

The Internet Party has money – lots of it.

But it’s having problems getting people.

I came across two posts like this on Facebook last night:

imp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had a meeting to set up the Internet Party on Campus but got only five people – they need 10 to get affiliation with OUSA.

The party which has all that money and wants to appeal to young people can attract only five people to a meeting at Otago University.

Whether that’s a result of apathy or antipathy to the party doesn’t matter, the result is the same – lots of money but very few people.

Successful parties need people and no amount of money can make up for the lack of them.


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