Word of the day

July 22, 2014

Manuhiri  – guests, visitors.


Rural round-up

July 22, 2014

Lepto danger with flood waters:

RURAL WOMEN New Zealand  reminds Far North farming families to be mindful about health issues in dealing with flood waters, including the elevated risk of leptospirosis.

Families should be careful about drinking water, pull on their gumboots, wash hands and faces thoroughly, and cover cuts and grazes before they come into contact with flood water to reduce the chance of getting infections, in particular leptospirosis, Rural Women says.

The leptospirosis bacteria is shed in the urine from infected animals including stock, rodents, dogs, possums, and hedgehogs and is more easily spread about where there is excess surface water as the Far North is currently experiencing. . .

Free lunch for Northland farmers:

WHO SAYS there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or dinner, asks the Northland Rural Support Trust.

It is holding free lunch or dinners for flood-hit Northland starting tomorrow (Wednesday, July 23).

“We can’t stop it raining, but here’s a chance to have a dinner you don’t have to cook and an opportunity to talk to other storm affected folk plus pick the brains of some support people,” the Support Trust says to farmers.

Free food and drink is supplied at each event thanks to the trust and local merchants. . .

Stark difference between NZ and Australian dairying but why? – Pasture to Profit:

The visual & financial differences between the New Zealand & Australian dairy industries at the current time are stark and startling!

Why is the NZ dairy industry booming and Australian dairy farmers under so much pressure & having to dig deep to remain profitable. Both dairy industries supply into the same international market and Australia has a much bigger domestic population and local market. A strong local market is often argued as being a strength and likely to lift dairy farmers farm gate price. The economy in both countries is relatively strong & to a large extent was not greatly affected by the world financial crisis. Yet one dairy industry is hanging in by their fingernails while the other is buoyed (perhaps unrealistically!) by higher milk prices. . . .

AbacusBio finalist in sheep awards – Sally Rae:

Dunedin-based AbacusBio and its managing director Neville Jopson both feature among the finalists in this year’s Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

After being held in the South for the past two years, the awards have been shifted to Napier and will be held on August 6.

Dr Jopson is a finalist in one of two new categories – the sheep industry science award, which recognises a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming. . .

Decision on effluent area reserved:

An Environment Southland hearing committee has reserved its decision on whether Southland meat processor South Pacific Meats (SPM) can spread effluent on to a larger area of farmland in northern Southland.

SPM, jointly owned by Affco New Zealand and Talleys Fisheries Ltd, opened a plant at Awarua, south of Invercargill, in 2005.

Last year, it gained consent from Environment Southland to spread sludge from the bottom of its wastewater treatment pond on to 55.5ha of a 1033ha sheep farm near Garston. . . .

Farms: the abuse of children –  A Farm Girl’s Fight:

Recently, I was reading some blogs and websites of organizations and individuals that oppose farmers. These websites have “facts” that are outrageous. Luckily, these facts have “sources” attached….that link back to their own website. Anyway, it’s humorous to me, and gives me ideas for my blogs. And let me tell you what. I am fired up.

There was a sentence on one of the websites (which no I will not link to their website) that stated:

“Farmers are awful people that often take advantage of underage children, often their own, forcing them into a life of work and learning of inhumane ways.”
Let me tell you something. With the exception of the “inhumane ways” addition, that statement is damn true and I am darn proud of it. . . .

 


No sea cold enough

July 22, 2014

Hamish Walker, National’s candidate in Dunedin South received one of those Ice Challenges and accepted it with a twist.

He chose to do it by total immersion in the sea at St Clair,wearing a kilt, with the support of some Young Nats and the accompaniment of the bagpipes.

 

Can't say THANK YOU enough to John BP, Katy H & Liz B who were stupid enough to join me this morning for the Ice Challenge- what commitment to the National Party!

It goes to show there’s no sea cold enough to stop the pursuit of party votes for National and #TeamKey who are seeking #3moreyears.

You can see it on video here – while you’re there you could like his Facebook page too.


Moa siting

July 22, 2014

Trevor Mallard’s suggestion of bringing back the moa is being regarded as a dead duck by his leader but the topic is refusing to die:


Hauiti standing down

July 22, 2014

National list MP Claudette Hauiti is standing down.

National MP Claudette Hauiti is calling time on her short stint in politics, removing herself from contention at the coming election.

She had been selected at as the party’s candidate for Kelston, but told her caucus colleagues of her decision this morning. 

Her decision comes just days after it emerged she surrendered her Parliamentary charge card after using it to pay for a Christmas trip to Australia.

That trip, and other unauthorised spending on the card – known as a purchasing or p-card – led to the list MP returning it to Parliamentary Service in March.

Outside the caucus room, Hauiti confirmed her intention to stand down from politics at the election, but refused to comment further.

She is yet to release a statement.

It’s understood she was told she would receive a low list ranking, and Kelston was considered to be a safe Labour seat. . . .

This is the right decision.

 

 


It’s red meat’s turn

July 22, 2014

The red meat sector has been lagging behind dairying for the best part of two decades but ANZ’s Privately Owned Business Barometer Survey says that’s about to change:

Over the past two decades red meat farmers have not enjoyed the same stellar gains as dairy farmers due to decreasing real prices, increasing costs, lack of reinvestment and an industry structure that did not encourage collaboration or economies of scale.

The ANZ survey of 779 farmers, including 374 red meat farmers and discussion groups found that most participants were planning investment in their farms to increase productivity and take advantage of rising global demand for protein.

“The survey found the sector was confident that conditions were right to regain some of the lost momentum and play a bigger role in the New Zealand economy,” said Graham Turley, Managing Director Commercial & Agri for ANZ Bank NZ.

“Farmers we spoke to had active strategies in place to take advantage of rising global demand for protein, and advances in agronomy and genetics to increase production.

“While structural issues within the industry remain unresolved, many farmers have an expectation that solutions are emerging that will lead to better integrated supply chains.”

Key findings of the ANZ Red Meat Sector Key Insights Report
65% of red meat farmers plan to increase production in next 3–5 years. Of these:
• 84% plan to invest in pasture
• 69% plan to invest in animal genetics
• 53% see benefit in getting expert help in improving farm productivity
• 63% say succession is about passing the farm to family or whanau
• 34% say the purchaser’s ability to finance is the key barrier to succession

Turley said it was likely the red-meat sector would see faster productivity gains than dairy.

“Already, many operations are achieving outstanding results way in excess of the averages.

“The top 20% of farmers are achieving productivity of around four times more than the average, irrespective of land class and location.

“They rightly have the confidence to reinvest profits to lift productivity and generate long-term wealth.”

Beef + Lamb NZ has been working with farmers to help them learn from the top operators who are doing significantly better than average.

On and off-farm research and improvements in farming practices have already led to significant improvements as this shows:

We’re producing 7% less lamb but from 46% fewer sheep which means there’s been a huge increase in productivity in the sector.

No-one should be celebrating the fall in milk prices but it might help sheep and beef farmers take a fresh look at their own sector and see opportunities for improvement.


Management matters

July 22, 2014

Frequent flyers are familiar with the safety talk cabin crew on airlines deliver.

They all say if an oxygen mask appears you should put your own on first then help others.

That’s a good metaphor for life.

If you don’t look after yourself you can’t look after other people and you might end up needing help from them.

Regular holidays are a sensible part of self-care which is why I won’t criticise politicians who took the opportunity parliamentary recess offered to have a break.

The first most people knew about holidaying leaders was a story in the Herald which devoted nine paragraphs to John Key spending 10 days in Hawaii and one sentence saying David Cunliffe would be taking a break.

That got the expected criticism of the PM from the usual suspects but there wasn’t much reaction at all to Cunliffe’s holiday until Sunday when someone in his party went seriously off message:

. . . However, Labour MPS are disgusted by Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider said.

Labour is trailing National by 30 percentage points, polling just 24.9 per cent in the latest Stuff-Ipsos poll.

“A lot of MPs are really f….. off about it,” the insider said.

“They are all working hard up and down the country, and f…… Cunliffe is on holiday. Guys like [Phil] Goff and [Annette] King and [David] Shearer, these guys really want it badly and they are working like their lives depend on it. And I think they are a little incredulous about what the guy is doing.”

Cunliffe’s camp saw very little value in the hypothetical poll on replacing the Labour leader.

“We take issue with the validity of the finding that a whole lot more people (including all of the National voters polled) would vote for Labour if someone else (unnamed) was leader. This is meaningless,” said Simon Cunliffe.

The insider said while the prime minister was also holidaying – John Key is in Hawaii – there was a “world of difference” between an incumbent prime minister enjoying 52 per cent support in the polls and an opposition leader trailing nearly 30 points behind.

“It sounds a little treasonous, but the guy doesn’t want it badly enough. If he did, he would be working. I think it is disgraceful behaviour, and not the sort of behaviour becoming of a guy who wants to be prime minister.

“We will be having a talk to David at caucus about his work ethic on Tuesday. We’ll be letting him know he’s got two months to turn this around, and we’re backing him and right behind him but he’s got to lift his game.”

The insider believed up to 20 of the 33 Labour MPs were deeply unhappy with Cunliffe’s leadership, but had accepted that an attempt to dump him this late in the term would backfire.

Instead, he said some, especially those whose places in Parliament were now at risk because they would not be returned on the Labour list on present numbers, would run increasingly individual campaigns focused solely on regaining their seats.

Clayton Cosgrove, eighth on the list, and Kelvin Davis, 18th, were deviating from party line, as seen by Davis’ public backing – against party policy – of the Puhoi-Wellsford SH1 “holiday highway” upgrade.

“Clayton knows …. he’s not back on the list, so if he doesn’t win his seat, it’s the end of his career. And he also knows his career is very closely tied to the political capital of David Cunliffe.”

The insider believed Cunliffe’s decision to go on holiday showed he didn’t have the qualities to become prime minister.

“David says family is really important to him, and I get that, but the thing is if you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game. Politics involves sacrifice, and it is hard on families. David knew this… he’s been a cabinet minister and an MP for 15 years.

“Six months out from the election he should have said to his wife and family, ‘sorry darling, you’ll see me Sunday evenings, the rest of the time I am up and down the country. That’s what his MPs are doing and Phil Goff’s wife hardly ever saw him for the three years he was leader, he worked like a demon, and so did Helen [Clark].

“He’s just not got the work ethic and the question is, does he want it that badly, it almost seems as if he wants the glory, but he hasn’t got the guts.”

There’s nothing wrong with taking a holiday but there’s something lacking in Cunliffe’s leadership and political management if it wasn’t discussed with caucus colleagues beforehand and done with their blessing.

Another incident which highlights poor management was his meeting a sex offender.

. . . But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.” . . .

Rodney Hide highlighted the case in a column nine days ago.

It is possible Cunliffe didn’t read the column and no-one is doubting his word that he didn’t know.

It’s not his honesty which is being question it’s political management – again.

If Labour was well managed someone in the party would have made it their business to find out who the offender was and let the leader know for several reasons, not least of which would have been to save him from what happened.

Cunliffe is being let down by insiders who are putting their personal ambitions ahead of the party’s and it is very difficult to counter that.

But he’s also being let down by poor management and at least some of that is his responsibility as leader.

Management matters in politics and parties which can’t manage themselves can’t be trusted to manage the country.


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