Word of the day

August 24, 2014

Alterity,  – the fact or state of being other or different;  diversity, difference, otherness; an instance of this;  the entity in contrast to which an identity is constructed.


Rural round-up

August 24, 2014

Smart switch could save lives on farms – Lauren Hayes:

The scientific smarts of a young Southlander could save lives on farms.

James Hargest College pupil Maria Burnett took home the premier technology award from the NZAS Science and Technology Fair for her project, Smart Switch.

For the project, the 16-year-old invented a shield to cover the power take-off (PTO) shaft on tractors.

The PTO shaft carried electricity from the tractor to the implement attached to it and spun 16.6 times a second, so was very dangerous, Maria said. . .

White truffles could transform forestry industry – Annabelle Tukia:

At $3000 a kilogram, white truffles are a true gourmet delight.

Now a team from Plant and Food Research have come up with a way to cultivate the delicacy on pine tree roots, and they say forestry owners could do the same, adding another stream of income to their business.

Deep in a Canterbury pine plantation, scientist Alexis Guerin is hunting for white truffles, a fungus that could one day transform pine plantations all over the country.

Scientists at Plant and Food Research planted the white truffle-infused pine seedlings 10 years ago and, with the help of truffle-hunting dog Ace, they’re now finding the fruits of their labour cropping up all over this plantation. . .

China’s milk thirst will grow – Stephen Bell:

China’s thirst for imported dairy products will expand over the next five years to equate to New Zealand’s entire annual production, Agrifax senior dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says.

Though NZ had a foot in the door, being first with a free-trade agreement with China, there would be increased international competition, made tougher by Russia’s ban on Western imports, Kilsby, who spent three weeks in China in June, said.

She found China would need to import more dairy produce in coming years than it had so far. . .

Migrant workers need more help – Alan Williams:

Dairy farmers helping their migrant workers to have improved access to English language classes could be the best way to help them integrate more into their communities.

This is the view of people offering support services to the workers, though they say there is also no harm in the various nationalities choosing to stay mostly in their own groups.

Given the challenges involved in living in a foreign country it’s only natural for different groups to gravitate towards their own nationality for comfort, support and advice, Aoraki Multicultural Council executive member Kate Elsen said.

New Zealanders shouldn’t be put off by that, she says, but everyone agrees that the better their understanding of English, the better it is for everybody. . .

Swiss cattle breeder puts rare herd up for sale  – Tim Cronshaw:

Colin Lyon hopes someone with the same passion as him will take on his rare Swiss breed of beef cattle to bigger things.

His small herd of stud braunvieh beef breeding cows, which has twice reached the semifinals of the Steak of Origin contest, was begun by Lyon obtaining embryos from an Australian stud in 2005.

Lyon feels that, having reached 71, beef breeding is a “young man’s caper” and would like to pass on the genetic line to someone else and his herd is for sale.

The braunviehs at his farm near South Canterbury’s Pleasant Point are believed to be the only cattle of their kind in New Zealand. . .

Cows in class:

Nelson dairy farmer Julian Raine is bringing the country into the city, when he teams up next week with the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme and Victory Primary School. A cow and a calf from Oakland’s, Mr Raine’s family farm, owned and worked by his ancestors since 1842, will visit the school on the morning of Monday 25th August.

The initiative is part of the Victory School’s Year 5 Integrated Study, “From Paddock to Puku”.

Victory School, Deputy Principal, Mr Sullivan, says “The idea for this terms integrated study came from our schools involvement in the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme, it was important for the students to learn more about where milk comes from and it’s health benefits, together with the cultural and environmental effects of drinking milk.” . . .


Can you match books to authors?

August 24, 2014

Can you match books with their authors?

I got 13/15:

Ultimate Booketarian!

Wow, very impressive! You did better than 84% of the people who took this quiz. You sure know your books!

 


Coming soon

August 24, 2014
Open large picture

 

I know I promised I wouldn’t complain, she said, but I’m not ready to start just yet.

Coming Soon ©2014 Brian Andreas

If you’d like a daily dose of whimsy like this you can sign up for emails at the link above.


NY to NZ – our gain

August 24, 2014

Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot  reacts to emotive opposition to foreign investment:

When it comes to the foreign ownership of farmland my family has a unique perspective. 

Before my wife and I moved our family thousands of miles from upstate New York to the Wairarapa, we did research.  A great deal of it.  We’d narrowed our choices to English speaking Canada, Australia and of course, New Zealand.  Adding a new language, when you are moving thousands of kilometres, adds too much complexity.  Since moving downunder, we’ve learned that being a “good b..tard” is a complement. Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said “Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language”. 

While Emily was the farmer, I was an investment analyst.  Together, we learned more about the country, its political stability, history, economy, agricultural system, climate and the rural property market.  Of course, being ‘foreign investors’, we checked out whether we’d be welcomed or not. 

We quickly dropped Canada from consideration for being even colder than New York.  We also wanted to break out of the closeted subsidy culture prevalent in North America. While Australia offered space aplenty, dealing with years of drought followed by floods was a challenge too far.  Our preference was for New Zealand’s more benign climate.

To farmers overseas, New Zealand is the mecca of farming.  Nowhere else had an organisation like Federated Farmers worked with a left-wing government to end subsidies.  Farmers there, we learned, were judged on their abilities as farmers and not the size of their subsidy cheque. New Zealand was at the forefront of pastoral research and practice too.  It also had plenty of migrant farmers who had integrated and excelled. New Zealand felt right.

Being in Federated Farmers a few years later, I came across one farmer who made Winston Peters look like a weak-kneed liberal.  Proving the debate is seemingly two-thirds heart and one-third brain, I later learned that he’d bought a farm in Australia but he still opposed foreign investment, albeit, slightly sheepishly. 

Sadly this hypocrisy isn’t unusual.

Deciding on a country is one thing, but it’s quite another to get the ideal farm. We were very fortunate to convince Castlepoint’s Board that New York Yankees were fit custodians for their iconic Wairarapa station.  That was 1998 and we’ve never looked back. 

Kiwis are the most hospitable people with an unerring knack of convincing you to take on more responsibilities. I was one of two non-New Zealand born farmers on the Federated Farmers National Board.  I’m also on the Board of Grow Wellington and to keep my feet firmly on the ground, I’m also Castlepoint’s Fire Chief.  Emily is similarly involved and our children are now working in New Zealand.

The Crofoots have and continue to contribute a lot to their local community, farming and the country.

Their decision to move from new York to New Zealand has been our gain.

Politicians are quick to say that families like us are their ‘ideal’ business migrants.  The message is that ‘people like us’ will continue to be welcomed, whichever party wins on 20 September. 

Unfortunately, that nuance is lost if you’re thousands of miles away reading herald.co.nz or watching news on-demand.  The streaming of talkback radio means Albany, New York can listen to ZB just as easily as someone in Albany, Auckland. 

If we were researching New Zealand, today, would we make the biggest of big moves?  Possibly not. 

The tone around foreign investment has hardened for the worse.  To outsiders, politics and cultish popularity now seem big determinants.  There’s also a nasty undercurrent which reflects poorly on us as Kiwis.  Who this is putting off we’ll never know, but it is off-putting.

That might be what those opposed to foreign investment want but it’s not necessarily in the best interests of New Zealand.

Farming is the most international industry we have.  It’s this mix of people that makes New Zealand agriculture unique and the success it is.  The Green Party opposed Shania Twain’s High Country purchase but look at what British record producer Robert “Mutt” Lange has given back; 53,000 hectares and a whole landscape permanently protected. The restoration and enhancement of Young Nicks Head would never have taken place had a Kiwi farmer purchased it rather than New York financier, John Griffin.  We’re even near neighbours of James Cameron, that’s in a rural sense because we’re over an hour away by car. 

Politics must come out of the ‘foreign investment’ debate because it can so easily spiral into the gutter.  Rules are important and we Kiwis accept that with sport, why not overseas investment? 

We have rules on foreign investment and those rules have been toughened since National has been leading the government.

It hasn’t been easy for foreigners to buy farms here for a long time and it’s harder now.

If the rules still aren’t tough enough it is fair enough to look at the m again.

But that look must be a rational one, mindful of both the costs and benefits of foreign investment, our obligations to trading partners and the benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders get from investing in other countries.

 

I know another couple from the USA who have made a big investment in New Zealand in hospitality and tourism. They are an asset to the community in which they’ve settled, the wider hospitality and tourism industry and the country.

I wonder how many others like that might write New Zealand off their list of countries to visit and possibly invest and settle in because of political opportunism?


Working for NZ

August 24, 2014

While most economic indicators were improving, unemployment remained stubbornly high.

But the tide has now changed.

Unemployment is falling – in Otago it’s down to around the unemployable.

Government policies including more flexible employment law and careful financial management which has resulted in low interest rates and lower taxes has helped.

If National wins a third term the trend of lower employment, more jobs and higher wages will continue.

Stick with our programme of responsible economic management to keep NZ on the right track. ntnl.org.nz/1w34xEk #Working4NZ

If we get a Labour/Green/NZ First/Internet Mana government, taxes and interest rates will increase, employment law will be made less flexible, business will become more difficult and businesses will lose the confidence they need to increase their workforce and wages.

With a third-term  National-led government working for New Zealand more New Zealanders will be working.

Jordan Campbell's photo.


Sunday soapbox

August 24, 2014

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse.

"You have to be before you can do and do before you can have."- Zig Ziglar more at Tom Ziglar


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