Word of the day

June 24, 2015

Necromancer – a person who practises necromancy; one who supposedly communicates with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future; a wizard or magician.

Rural round-up

June 24, 2015

Still more milk than market – Rabobank’s latest dairy outlook:

A recovery in global dairy prices is still on the horizon, however burgeoning stocks have pushed out any sustained upturn in the market until the first-half of 2016, according to Rabobank’s latest Dairy Quarterly report.

The global outlook, released exclusively to Rabobank’s agribusiness clients earlier this week, reaffirms the bank’s position that a recovery phase is imminent, however it has pushed out the timeframe by at least three months. . .

 The good and bad of farming with lifestyle neighbours – Kate Taylor:

The views from Philip and Robyn Holt’s farm, Maraetara, are spectacular – across the Ahuriri estuary to Hawke Bay and Napier Hill.

They’re not the only ones to appreciate it though. When Philip was growing up the only neighbours were other farmers. Now houses dot the hillsides and Maraetara has boundaries with about 70 neighbours.

This growth of lifestyle blocks has negatives and positives, says Philip. . .

NZ beekeeper plans bee sanctuary on Niue – Cheryl Norrie:

When beekeeper Andy Cory went to Niue in 1999 in search of a honey business, he had to hack his way through a jungle to find a collection of beehives which had been abandoned 30 years previously.

He remembers finding 240 hives.

“They were all rotten and had fallen on their sides. The bees were still in them and they were fine.” . . .

Too little data to pinpoint cause of NZ beehive deaths – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – The sudden and devastating demise of honey bee hives, known overseas as colony collapse disorder, may threaten New Zealand’s $5.1 billion apiculture industry, after thousands of colonies were lost over last spring.

North Island beekeepers spanning the Coromandel, Great Barrier, Wairarapa and Taranaki suffered significant losses with some reporting up to 95 percent of adult bees disappearing from hives. However, a lack of reporting to the Ministry for Primary Industries or the Environmental Protection Agency meant there was no certainty about whether the sudden collapses were linked, the New Zealand Apiculture Conference in Taupo heard. . .

Farm debt pressures being surveyed:

Lincoln University researchers want to know how farmers and their families are dealing with being in debt and the stress it can bring.

Bruce Greig, Dr Kevin Old and Dr Peter Nuthall, from the University’s Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, are conducting a nationwide survey investigating farm debt and the level of anxiety experienced by farmers who incur it.

Mr Greig says they want to discover how they manage debt as it is one of the many skills farmers require. . .

NZ lambskin, sheepskin face ‘lose-lose’ with over-supply, weak demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand exports of sheepskin and lambskin, at their lowest level in more than four years, are unlikely to recover any time soon as a glut of excess stock and weak demand weigh on prices.

The value of raw sheepskin and lambskin exports fell to $128.6 million in the year through April, the 15th straight decline in annual exports and the lowest level since January 2011, according to Statistics New Zealand data. The latest figures, for May, will be published on Friday. . .


Settlement reached over ASB rural interest rate swaps:

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has reached a settlement with ASB regarding the sale, promotion and marketing of interest rate swaps to some rural customers.

The Commerce Commission (the Commission) investigated ASB for the sale of interest swaps and reached a separate settlement with ASB in December 2014.

The FMA settlement was reached based on the conclusions from the Commission’s investigation and the FMA’s engagement with ASB in relation to its processes for selling and marketing interest rate swaps to rural customers. . .


No shades of grey for governors

June 24, 2015

The Herald opines:

Fairly or not, politicians are expected to have solid, unambiguous positions on every issue. Not for them the shades of grey that influence the decision-making of most people in everyday life. Consequently, it is unsurprising that the Auckland councillors who are thinking of abstaining to allow the council’s 10-year budget to pass are being strongly criticised. . .

The issue is too important for any councillor to choose not to choose. They were elected to provide a voice for the citizens of their ward. That should not be lost when they are so adamant about the budget’s shortcomings.

Abstaining would allow the budget and the extortionate rates rise it requires to pass.

In effect the councillors abstaining are voting for the budget without having the courage to commit themselves to it.

That is a gross failure of competence and dereliction of duty.

People are elected to governance positions to govern and these councillors are paid more than many full-time workers are to do their best for the city and the people they represent.

If they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to vote for or against the budget which is the most important vote each year, they shouldn’t be on the council.

Wanaka wow

June 24, 2015

Flag of the day

June 24, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There are more than 4000 in the gallery already.

This one is Aotearoa a flag for New Zealanders by William Hindmarsh.



Baby it’s cold inside

June 24, 2015

The South Island has woken to the second morning in a row of sub–zero temperatures.

. . . It was -6.4degC in Queenstown at 6.30am and -8.1degC in Alexandra, while Wanaka was -3.7degC and Oamaru was -3.1degC. Dunedin was -0.5degC.

Omarama was sitting at -20degC while Tara Hills near Twizel was -18.9degC about 6.30am.

The all time record low is – 25.6degC, recorded in Ranfurly in 1903. . .

This is winter as it used to be.

Breaking ice on puddles and skating on icy patches on footpaths as we walked to school was a regular occurrence.

Back then it was cold outside and in.

We lived in uninsulated houses with little heating.  We had a fire in the kitchen and in the very depths of winter a kerosene heater was lit in the hall to take the chill off the bedrooms before we went to bed.

It was colder still for my mother who was one on nine children in a house with too few bedrooms to accommodate them. The oldest ones slept on an open veranda winter and summer.

Children sleeping in conditions like that now would almost certainly be reported to welfare agencies.

Back then it wasn’t unusual although temperatures were regularly lower.

Were cold-related illnesses also normal and not reported, or has something else changed that people in cold houses and the health problems resulting from that have become news?



Quote of the day

June 24, 2015

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.” ― Robert Fulghum

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