Word of the day

June 13, 2014

Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13.


Rural round-up

June 13, 2014

Farmers warned of dangers of meth labs – Susie Nordqvist:

Waikato police have told farmers at Fieldays they’re too trusting about whom they’re renting their farm cottages to, and tenants that end up using farmland for methamphetamine labs can cost farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Basically the chemicals are all placed into this flask and then it’s boiled, well it’s heated, on an element [and] the pseudoephedrine comes off, and you end up with the finished product,” explains Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall. . . .

Red meat delegation heads to China:

A major delegation of New Zealand red meat exporters is heading to China next week.

The group, being led by the Meat Industry Association, represents more than 95% of New Zealand red meat exports.

The Chairs, Chief Executives and other senior staff will meet with Chinese regulatory agencies, industry bodies and customers. . .

Sheep and sheep meats in China – Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about one specific region in China’s pastoral zone, high on the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. This is just one part of China’s pastoral zone which extends for thousands of kilometres from Inner Mongolia across to Xinjiang and down through the western provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet. The precise numbers of sheep on these lands is unclear. It is not because the Chinese Government hides the correct numbers, but because pastoral farmers keep the numbers to themselves. The United Nations FAO agency estimates that in 2012 there were 187 million sheep in China, but no-one really knows.

What happens in China’s pastoral zone is important to New Zealand for two reasons. The first is that we are all part of a global environment, with sustainability a global issue. The second is that China is now New Zealand’s most important market for lamb and mutton; the gap between local demand and supply in China is the key driver of sheep industry profitability back here in New Zealand. . . .

Fieldays shoes might seem ‘exotic’ to Aucklanders – Mike McRoberts:

Footwear is an essential part of farming and also appears to be a big part of the National Fieldays this year.

Horselands’ Angie Gil is selling boots at the four-day event and says visitors are expecting a bargain.

“I think that you don’t come to park in a paddock and then walk around Fieldays to not get a bargain.” . . .

Minister welcomes KPMG Agribusiness Agenda:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today welcomed the annual KPMG Agribusiness Agenda at the National Fieldays, noting the strong correlation between Government and industry priorities.

This year’s Agenda reiterated the importance of strong biosecurity and food safety systems, and highlighted uncertainty around a potential change of Government as a major point of concern across the over 150 industry leaders surveyed.

“I’m not surprised to see the significance of biosecurity flagged again by industry, and it has been my number one priority since becoming a Minister,” says Mr Guy. . .

The biggest myth about organic farming – Ross Pomeroy:

The majority of Americans believe that organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods. The majority of Americans are wrong. Two systematic reviews, one from Stanford University and the other by a team of researchers based out of the United Kingdom, turned up no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or lead to better health-related outcomes for consumers.

But the idea that organic foods are healthier isn’t even the largest myth out there. That title belongs to the widely held belief that organic farming does not use pesticides. A 2010 poll found that 69% of consumers believe that to be true. Among those who regularly purchase organic food, the notion is even more prevalent. A survey from the Soil Association found that as many as 95% of organic consumers in the UK buy organic to “avoid pesticides.”

In fact, organic farmers do use pesticides. The only difference is that they’re “natural” instead of “synthetic.” . . .

Families mark a century on the land – Sally Rae:

Since 1905, successive generations of the Simpson family have farmed Springside at Tokarahi in North Otago.

From draught horses to large, modern tractors and combine harvesters, each generation has kept up with new farming practices.

The Simpson family was among 42 families to attend the recent New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence, for families who have farmed the same land for 100 years or more.

It was the highest number of families to be recognised for their commitment since the awards were first held in 2006. . .


Which decade should you live in?

June 13, 2014

Which decade are you?

I’m the 50s:

You are simple and old-fashioned. You always see the bright side of life, and can always put a smile on someone’s face.

Hmm – I’m not quite old enough to remember that decade, but that description is something to aspire to.

 


Friday’s answers

June 13, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said, Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.?

2. What are the gestation periods of sheep and cows?

3. It’s agneau in French, agnello in Italian, cordero in Spanish and reme in Maori, what is it in english?

4. What’s the name for any three of the following gelded animals: bull, ram, boar, rooster and stag?

5. Is farming still the backbone of NZ?

Points for answers:

J Bloggs got 3.

Alwyn got 3 1/2 for #2and 2/3 for #4

Chris wins an electronic batch of ginger crunch with 5 and a bonus for the only one to get havier.

David and Andrei also win an electronic batch of ginger crunch each for 5 right and Andrei gets a bonus for perspicacity for his answer to #5.

 

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Jo Hayes Nat candidate for Chch East

June 13, 2014

The National Party has selected List MP Joanne Hayes as its Christchurch East candidate for the 2014 General Election.

“Joanne has been a valuable member of our caucus as a List MP and will work hard for Christchurch East,” said Regional Chair Roger Bridge.

“National has made the rebuild one of its top priorities. Another Christchurch-based MP will help to keep our city’s voice strong in John Key’s National Party.”

Ms Hayes said she was proud to earn National’s nomination and is looking forward to the campaign.

“National is making real progress on the Christchurch rebuild, building a stronger economy with more jobs, and supporting hardworking families. Christchurch communities are seeing the benefits of a Government that is focussed on what matters and putting the needs of Christchurch at the top of the agenda,” said Ms Hayes.

“There are just three short months until the election on 20 September. I’ll be working hard to get out in the electorate and engage with the issues facing Christchurch East communities,” said Ms Hayes.

Joanne Hayes – Biographical Notes                                                                                      

Joanne Hayes is a National List Member of Parliament. She is of Ngati Porou, Ati Haunui A Paparangi, and Rangitane ki Wairarapa descent, and is married to Pat with two sons and two grandchildren.

Before entering Parliament at the beginning of this year, she held executive level positions in the health, social services, and education sectors, most recently as Director of Community Relations for UCOL Whanganui.

Ms Hayes previously stood for National in Dunedin South in 2011.

Jo has the distinction of being the candidate who won the party vote in Dunedin South which had been regarded as deep red.

Christchurch East is also a very red seat. Jo and her team will be working hard to change that and the electorate will benefit from having another government MP working in and for the city as it recovers from the earthquakes.


End of Free Trade consensus

June 13, 2014

Wayne Mapp fears for the future of free trade:


. . . For decades now National and Labour have had a cosy little arrangement when it comes to free trade. Both parties could count on each other to provide a solid bloc of votes in parliament to pass any bill implementing free trade agreements.

So any hyperventialting by the Greens, New Zealand First, the Maori Party or Mana counted for nothing. Jane Kelsey might get to write as many op-eds as she likes, but she has virtually no influence on the actual outcome of the free trade agenda. The solid National–Labour coalition ensures that the relevant legislation will pass.

But will this arrangement prevail after this election?

Clearly, if National is elected they will want to pass legislation implementing various aspects of TPP, in the event that the TPP treaty is finalised and signed between 2014 and 2017. Of course any such treaty will not be exactly as New Zealand wants since it will be a compromise between fourteen nations. . .

New Zealand already has very open borders. Other countries with more restrictions will be held back by powerful lobby groups wanting them to continue.

To get consensus will require compromises.

But the shape of the TPP treaty is starting to emerge. There will be a long drawn-out phase down of tariffs and quotas in agricultural products. The timing of the phase down will be dictated by Japan and the United States, and it will extend over many years, perhaps as many as twenty. Copyright terms will be extended to 70 years or more. State trading entities like Pharmac could lose at least some of their exclusive rights. There will be an international tribunal for major investment disputes.

For National this will be OK. Over time the US, Japanese and Canadian agricultural markets will open up. And provided the loss of the Pharmac monopoly is not too dramatic, it will be seen to be a good trade off. . .

National is quite clear it supports free trade – but labour is no longer.

This election could see Labour down in the low 30s as a percentage of the total vote. If a combination of Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and Internet Mana can form a government, Labour is only going to be 60% of the government, at most.

That has risks for more than trade.

All its likely partners have opposed every single free trade agreement over the last two decades. Collectively they could demand that Labour not support the TPP as a price of coalition. And could Labour resist such a demand?

What’s more, if the Left (apologies to Winston who is not really left) do not have enough votes to form a government, would Labour still continue the cosy arrangement of supporting free trade agreements? Increasingly Labour activists, including their left leaning MP’s, oppose TPP. David Cunliffe, supported by Phil Goff and others, has positioned the party to be able to vote for TPP. But that is before the election. An election loss could well weaken the free trade faction in Labour.

Such a result would cause Labour to look deeply at it options, just as did with National when it lost in 2005. The Labour MPs will be looking at three terms in opposition. They will console themselves that this is the normal political cycle in New Zealand. But they will not be able to tolerate the thought of four terms in opposition. They will do whatever it takes to make themselves electable in 2017.

And in the event of an election loss, what will be the fate of Labour’s longstanding support of free trade when they weigh up what they will have to do for 2017?

New Zealand is one of the best performing economies in the OCED because of the efforts successive governments have put into opening our borders and developing new markets.

Returning to the bad old days of protection and subsidies would harm our economy and the social and environmental initiatives which depend on its strength.

And if Labour lurches even further left on trade what other dangerous territory might it enter in a desperate attempt to be elected?


Nuk Korako Nat candidate for Port Hills

June 13, 2014

National Party members in the Port Hills electorate have selected local businessman and iwi leader Nuk Korako as their  candidate for the 2014 General Election.

“The Port Hills electorate changed significantly in the recent boundary changes. Nuk has the genuine links to communities across Christchurch and the electorate to be a strong voice for Port Hills,” said Regional Chair Roger Bridge.

“We’re excited to have a candidate of Nuk’s calibre in Port Hills and will be running a strong campaign for the seat.”

Mr Korako said he was proud to earn National’s nomination and is looking forward to the campaign.

“Christchurch communities and whanau have been through a lot since 2010, but National has stood by Canterbury at every stage of the rebuild,” said Mr Korako.

“Southern Christchurch is experiencing strong growth and many unique challenges. I want to give communities across the seat a strong voice in John Key’s National Party as we rebuild our city.”

Mr Korako is of Ngai Tahu descent. He is married to Chris and is a father of four sons.

He balances the running of his own tourism consultancy with a range of community and iwi commitments.

Mr Korako currently sits on the Board of Cholmonderley Children’s Home and the Cholmonderley New Building Komiti, and sits on the Banks Peninsula Environmental Trust, Te Ihutai Ahuwhenua Trust, and the Torotoroa Trust.

His tribal commitments include the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Board (Tribal Governance Arm) and the Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation Board (Tribal Commercial Arm).

Boundary changes which take in more bluer areas and a candidate with good business and community experience and enthusiastic support from volunteers in the electorate – that sounds like a winning combination.


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