Word of the day

August 21, 2017

Ffridd  – the mosaic of dynamic habitats at the lowland- upland interface that has a long history of management types and rotations; upland fringe; the subtle mosaic of habitats where hill and moor meet farmland.


Dunne and dusted

August 21, 2017

Ohariu MP Peter Dunne has announced his retirement.

“The current political environment is extremely volatile and unpredictable. However, I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter. This shift in voter sentiment is quite at variance with polling and other data I have seen throughout the year, upon which I had based my earlier decision to seek re-election for a 12th term as MP for Ōhāriu. While I am naturally extremely disappointed after 33 years of service at this apparent change of feeling, I recognise and understand it, and respect absolutely the electorate’s prerogative to feel that way.

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. Consequently, after much consideration and discussion with those closest to me, I am announcing today that I will not be putting forward my nomination for election to the next Parliament. I do so with considerable reluctance, but I have always understood that holding public office is a temporary privilege granted by the people, and can never be taken for granted. . .

Dunne was a good electorate MP who got support in spite of his party rather than because of it.

A good proportion of that was from National supporters who understood that under MMP, Dunne’s support could make the difference between being in government or opposition.

It would have been galling for them that their votes enabled him to be a minister in three successive Labour-led governments.

It would also have been galling that while he gave National confidence and supply, he often voted against the party on other issues.

One of his initiatives was to extend the length of daylight saving, moving the start to the end of September and the end to the start of April.

That makes early mornings darker for southerners for several weeks than is optimal.

In making the change he appeared not to understand that in autumn and spring we don’t get enough daylight hours to gain any benefit from    having the clocks forward an hour.

It is unfortunate that his resignation comes after parliament has risen. A politician with his length of service would have had an interesting valedictory statement.

This will be the end of United Future which is barely registering in any poll.


Rural round-up

August 21, 2017

Labour needs to provide detail on water charging policy:

New Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern’s plan to charge water royalties for commercial bottlers and irrigation schemes is a pre-election crowd pleaser.

It capitalises on the outrage some people feel when they read of pure New Zealand water being shipped off in bottles overseas for the profit of foreigners. The idea that revenues raised can be redirected into cleaning up our stressed and polluted waterways also speaks to valid environmental concerns.

But the policy has come out of nowhere, and the lack of detail is worrisome. Voters could be excused for thinking it is a glib, once-over-lightly headline-grabber.

If they find themselves on the Treasury benches after next month’s election, Labour might learn the lesson with water that US President Donald Trump learned with healthcare – who knew that it could be so complicated? . . 

Te Mana brings the fat back into lamb to appease even the harshest critics – Pat Deavoll:

Chef and co-owner of the Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen, Dale Bowie reckons he can get even the most ardent critic to enjoy a lamb rack thanks to a product called Te Mana Lamb.

“We’ve had customers here say they don’t like lamb, but when others on their table start saying how great it is, they try some and think it’s brilliant,” Bowie says.

A generation of Kiwis has grown up with the mantra that fat is bad, yet Bowie’s table guests are told that Te Mana Lamb has a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats that are good for you. . .

Poo-powered electricity, hot water – Pam Tipa:

A biogas recovery system using methane from dairy effluent to generate electricity and heat water was one of three finalists in the Energy Technology of the Year award in the 2017 Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards.

The system was installed by John Scandrett of Dairy Green Ltd with Fortuna Group Ltd.

The ground-breaking project implementing a prototype methane recovery system on a 950-cow farm in Southland has demonstrated for the first time commercial viability of this technology within a cool climate, says Dairy Green in its award entry. . .

Getting off the well-worn farm track – Jamie Gray:

New Zealand’s farming model will have to change as lab-grown meat gobbles up the low-cost market, and Landcorp can lead the way, says chief executive Steven Carden.

Carden, who heads up the country’s biggest farming company, says the old model – producing bulk commodities at low prices – has served the country well for the last century or so.

Until now.

“We see headwinds coming around the traditional protein farming model, [that’s] meat and milk,” he says. . .

Selling our meat is a game of two halves – Craig Wiggins:

Over the past few months I’ve emceed a fair share of rural awards and conferences where mention of synthetic proteins and insect flour scared many a middle-aged farmer.

The talk that’s being shouted from on high about being prepared for these new products to take over the world of food production as we know it was more than enough to cause many a listener to question their future as sustainable farmers of the future.

A synthetic steak, a petri dish hamburger and cricket flour chocolate mudcake all sound like a taste test from hell. However, we’re being led to believe these products won’t only be palatable but taste more like the real thing than the real thing. . .

FMG board revamp:

Three agribusiness leaders have been elected to the board of rural insurer FMG.

Geoff Copstick, Murray Taggart and Steve Allen were elected by FMG members at its annual meeting in Hanmer Springs this week.

Copstick was chief financial officer of Gallagher Group in Hamilton for nine years. He is now on Gallagher’s board and chair of its audit and risk committee. Copstick also serves as an independent advisor to Northland Regional Council on finance, audit and economic development issues. . .

Scarred country creates pest nest – Tim Futon:

Earthquake damage has helped gorse, broom and pest animals fan out across Kaikoura.

Kaikoura’s pest liaison committee chairman Derrick Millton said the region faced an explosion of deer, goats and possums.

Parts of the Clarence back-country were full of Red deer and there was serious risk of more erosion and fouling of waterways if they weren’t kept in check, he said. . .

Two NZ wineries sold to fine wine start-up – Lauren Eads:

Two prominent New Zealand wineries have been acquired by a newly-established fine wine company co-founded by the man who launched Craggy Range and a US-based wildlife conservationist.

Pyramid Valley Vineyards in Waikari, North Canterbury, and Lowburn Ferry Wines, Central Otago, have both become the first purchases of Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates Limited Partnership (ANZFWE) – a new venture between Brian Sheth, sole director of US-based Sangreal Wines LLC, and Steve Smith MW, sole director of LandbaseWineNZ Ltd. . .


Disconnect between food production and people

August 21, 2017

Mid Canterbury arable farmer David Clark writes on Facebook:

It really saddens me to hear and read to the hatred and vitriol that been brought into this election campaign and I am very concerned at the rift between urban and rural and the disconnection between food production and our population.

The people who support Labour’s water tax can’t seem to join the dots between costs of production and the cost of food; nor are they joining the dots between farming and the export income which is essential if we want first-world goods and services.

We live in a nation of low unemployment, a world standard low cost health system, a no-fault accident compensation scheme, social welfare and pension provisions. We have an extraordinary high degree of food security in this country.

I live in a district whose main town has virtually the lowest unemployment in New Zealand. We have a vibrant, multi-cultural community that offers a wide range of employment opportunities and a very high level of community facilities. This is much transformed town that come out of the ‘80’s with its tail firmly between its legs.

Ashburton is a town that has been transformed in the last 25 years; this is a town that has been transformed by the development of irrigation, both in arable and dairying land uses.

This district grows over half of the world’s carrot and radish seeds along with a wide variety of other crops exported worldwide. We produce 8% of the National Dairy production.

I am an arable farmer using irrigation to grow seed crops that are exported worldwide and grain and vegetable crops for domestic food consumption as well as finishing lambs for NZ butchers and export.

We first put irrigation on in ’98 and then in 2011 installed pivots to achieve more efficient water use and lower leaching than the older irrigators we had originally operated, at a cost of well over $1 million. We did that voluntarily because it increased our production, reduced our water use and significantly reduced our environmental footprint, however we could only justify that expenditure because our business was bankable.

Our business proudly supports local firms for the provision of goods and services and like our fellow farmers, most of the gross income is spent in the local community and profit, if any is largely reinvested in our business via local firms.

We operate our tractors on GPS guidance, running at 20mm accuracy to reduce overlap, our fertiliser spreader is GPS controlled and records all applications to a geo-spacial map, our combine weighs every kg of crop and overlays that data onto a map so we can track inputs and outputs accurately here as a result of investment in technology. It is investment in this technology that is achieving improvements in our environmental footprint.

On Friday night I attended a public meeting to hear Labour Water Spokesperson David Parker present his proposal for a tax on irrigation water. His presentation was headed by “How did we get to this?” and showed a series of photos from around New Zealand of environmental degradation caused by agriculture.

The photos showed practices that are unacceptable for sure, no argument about that, but a selective portrayal of the worst of the worst in my view.

At not one point did I hear any positive comment of the actions of the farming community in NZ. But interestingly none of the photos depicted anything in Mid Canterbury, had nothing to do with arable agriculture and only one shot of Coe’s Ford after three years of drought had any connection to irrigation. There was only one photo of a degraded urban waterway and that was one that Federated Farmers had provided to Mr Parker earlier in the day and challenged him to display.

The purpose of the meeting and continuation of his presentation was to explain the Labour Party’s intention to impose a tax on irrigation in NZ with the intent of using the money raised to repair environmental damage.

The missing part of this logic was that his slide show did not depict irrigation as the cause of the degradation and this is confirmed by a report by Irrigation NZ that shows there is no correlation between areas of high irrigation development and regions with poor water quality in NZ.

So why tax irrigation? And Irrigation predominately in Canterbury and Otago that are regions with good water quality?
I listened to the proposal and wondered why, if using a public resource for private profit was so villainous, why would a food producer using irrigation be taxed, but a soft drink company abstracting water from the Auckland Municipal supply be exempt? I heard the argument popular in Ashburton about export water bottlers, but if the bottling company pumped from their own well, they would be captured by this tax, however if the plant connected onto the local Council reticulated supply, their export activity would be water-tax free.

I sat in the meeting heard a whole lot of vitriol and bitterness extended towards the agricultural community and I reflected on the fact that it was August 18th and that night our monthly bills would be paid and a not insignificant sum would be transferred to local businesses, local businesses that the attendees relied on for either direct or indirect employment or for taxation to fund their social payments. The receipts from our production re-cycle many times through our local community, and I’m pleased about that.

I reflected on the reality that in the last ten years a qualified tradesman in Ashburton could pretty much name their charge out rate or hourly wage on the back of rapid development, both urban and rural, largely, virtually entirely, whether direct or indirect, on the back of the productivity achieved irrigation in the Ashburton District.

This is a town where professionals view their income earning potential as better than in large cities, a town that offers an unemployment rate equal to the lowest in the country. A town with a man-made lake providing a housing location and leisure facility for all; a lake that is packed on any summer’s afternoon.

We have a town with a new art gallery; and a new aquatic centre costing $35m. A fantastic complex on which the paint was hardly dry and some around the town were grizzling that it needed the addition of a Hydro Slide for the children.

I listened to the anti-farming vitriol, and heard how they believed that we were stealing water and the town folk saw no benefit.

Every dollar we earn is re-cycled into our local community, the employment generated by our business, direct or indirectly is significantly higher than it was in 1994 when we moved to a dryland sheep farm running 2,000 ewes.

A theme, which seems to be propagated at present by the Left is that Water Quality is a Rural problem, and therefore of Agricultural origin.

I accept that farming has an environmental footprint; no doubt, I also accept that practices need to and will change. In my view, technology and regulation will go hand in hand to solve those problems. Interestingly the three key policies that David Parker said he would implement are already in place by way of the Canterbury Land and Water Plan and he congratulated the National Government appointed Commissioners at ECan on introducing a robust water management framework.

But I don’t think that is the end of the debate. We regularly swim with our children in the river that bounds our farm; in fact I would happily drink it. I, along with thousands of others enjoy recreation in Lake Hood which is fed by the Ashburton River.

But the media and the Left would portray our rivers as dangerously polluted and degraded.

In comparison, I cannot swim in the Avon or Heathcote, nor the Christchurch Estuary which are subjected to storm water flows, overflows from the sewer network, seepage from broken sewers and heavy metals and petroleum contamination, which at times are several hundred times safe levels. Sure Christchurch has been devastated by the earthquakes, but the pollution of these urban waterways long pre-date the earthquake.

I would look forward to the day we can safely swim in the Avon adjacent to Oxford Terrace.

We hear much of the risks of the Ruataniwha Dam, but overlook the reality that the Hawke’s Bay’s two cities pump their sewerage out in the bay. Invercargill City is currently arguing in the Courts to renew its consent to discharge sewerage into four waterways including a lagoon.

In the Hutt Valley the sewerage system has contaminated an aquifer and will likely require the long term chlorination of the local water supply.

I grew up in South Auckland and enjoyed swimming at their most magnificent beaches during summer. The situation now is that one million cubic metres of sewerage and wastewater pours into the harbour every year regularly requiring the beaches to be closed to swimmers.

Two summers ago we stopped for lunch at a public picnic table looking out to Lion Rock at Piha. As our children walked across the mown grass their shoes turned green from the septic tank leachate oozing from the ground. Their shoes and the whole area stank; it sure didn’t do much for our appetite.

Yet the Left are silent on urban water quality issues, best not scare the voters with any suggestion they may need to fund the upgrade of their own effluent disposal system. It is far more politically expedient to poke the borax at farmers. We all have a footprint on this planet, and poor water quality has many causes and we are all responsible for the many solutions. Taxing only one group is not that solution.

Across New Zealand we are covering much of our elite food producing soils with the ongoing march of urban sprawl, permanently removing this land from production. Surely mankind cannot have more of a footprint that covering food producing soil with concrete.

In our world, we are challenged to produce food at the lowest price in the world. We do so by employing world leading technology to be some of the most efficient producers on the planet. Why would I say the cheapest in the world? Well, if we are not, the manufacturers and supermarkets will turn and import the ingredients quickity-split.

You see, as much as we talk about providence of supply and country of origin, animal welfare and environmental footprint, the brutal reality it that the vast bulk of consumers purchase the grocery item that the supermarket has a “special” tag attached to and couldn’t give two-toots as to where it came from or what standards it conformed to.

Our family has proudly farmed continuously in various parts of NZ for 140 years; I am but a caretaker and would hope that at least one of my children might take our family forward as food producers. It is in our very best interests to ensure that this property is in better condition for the next generation than when I began my stewardship.

I have listened to the hatred, I have read the posts on social media riping into farmers and it saddens me. This is a very nasty election campaign and I hope it is not a reflection on society as a whole.

It is a wet Sunday afternoon and I have stock to check on, best get my wet weather gear back on and get cracking.

David Clark.

We all want clean water. Labour’s water tax policy isn’t the best way to achieve that.

It will take money from those doing everything right and take responsibility away from those doing something wrong.


Quote of the day

August 21, 2017

One’s ears are weary of the voice of the art teacher who sits like the parrot on his perch, learning the jargon of the studios, making but poor copy and calling it criticism. We have had enough of their omniscience, their parade of technical knowledge, and their predilection for the wrong end of the stick. – Aubrey Beardsley who was born on this day in 1872.


August 21 in history

August 21, 2017

1192  Minamoto Yoritomo became Seii Tai Shōgun and the de facto ruler of Japan.

1680  Pueblo Indians captured Santa Fe from Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt.

1689  The Battle of Dunkeld in Scotland.

1770  James Cook formally claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.

1772 King Gustav III completed his coup d’état by adopting a new Constitution, ending half a century of parliamentary rule in Sweden and installing himself as an enlightened despot.

1808 Battle of Vimeiro: British and Portuguese forces led by General Arthur Wellesley defeated French force under Major-General Jean-Andoche Junot.

1810  Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France, was elected Crown Prince of Sweden by the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates.

1821  Jarvis Island was discovered by the crew of the ship, Eliza Frances.

1831  Nat Turner led black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion.

1863  Lawrence, Kansas was destroyed by Confederate guerrillas Quantrill’s Raiders in the Lawrence Massacre.

1872 – Aubrey Beardsley, English author and illustrator, was born (d. 1898).

1878  The American Bar Association was founded.

1886 – Ruth Manning-Sanders, Welsh-English author and poet, was born (d. 1988).

1888  The first successful adding machine in the United States was patented by William Seward Burroughs.

1904  William “Count” Basie, American bandleader, was born  (d. 1984).

1911 Mona Lisa was stolen by a Louvre employee.

1915 – New Zealand troops attacked Hill 60 in the last offensive action fought by the New Zealanders during the Gallipoli campaign.

New Zealand mounteds attack Hill 60

1918   The Second Battle of the Somme began.

1920 Christopher Robin Milne, inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, was born (d. 1996).

1930 Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born  (d. 2002).

1933 – Janet Baker, English soprano and educator, was born.

1938  – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor, was born.

1942  Allied forces defeated an attack by Japanese Army soldiers in theBattle of the Tenaru.

1944 – Perry Christie, Bahamian politician, 3rd Prime Minister of the Bahamas, was born.

1944  Dumbarton Oaks Conference, prelude to the United Nations, began.

1945  Physicist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. was fatally irradiated during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1952 Glenn Hughes, British bassist and vocalist (Finders Keepers/Trapeze/Deep Purple), was born.

1952  – Bernadette Porter, English nun and educator, was born.

1952  Joe Strummer, British musician and singer (The Clash), was born  (d. 2002).

1958  Auckland became the first city in New Zealand to introduce the ‘Barnes Dance’ street-crossing system, which stopped all traffic and allowed pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time.

Auckland pedestrians begin 'Barnes Dance'

1959  President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union – now commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.

1963  Xa Loi Pagoda raids: the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces vandalised Buddhist pagodas across the country, arresting thousands and leaving an estimated hundreds dead.

1968  Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing the Prague Spring and Nicolae Ceauşescu, leader of Communist Romania, publicly condemned the Soviet maneuver, encouraging the Romanian population to arm itself against possible Soviet reprisals.

1968  James Anderson, Jr. posthumously received the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine.

1969 Michael Dennis Rohan, an Australian, set the Al-Aqsa Mosque on fire.

1971  A bomb exploded in the Liberal Party campaign rally in Plaza Miranda, Manila, with several anti-Marcos political candidates injured.

1976  Operation Paul Bunyan at Panmunjeom, Korea.

1983  Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport.

1986 Carbon dioxide gas erupted from volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing up to 1,800 people within a 20-kilometer range.

1991  Latvia declared renewal of its full independence after the occupation of Soviet Union.

1991  Coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed.

1993  NASA lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft.

2001 – NATO decided to send a peace-keeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

2001 – The Red Cross announced that a famine was striking Tajikistan, and called for international financial aid for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

2007   Hurricane Dean made its first landfall in Costa Maya, Mexico with winds at 165 mph (266 km/h).

2013 –  Hundreds of people were reported killed by chemical attacks in the Ghouta region of Syria.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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