Word of the day

November 21, 2017

Chemiluminescence – the emission or production of light as the result of a chemical reaction.


Matt King’s maiden speech

November 21, 2017

Northland MP Matt King’s maiden speech:

Ko Matt King Toku Ingoa

No Te Noota Ahau

No Reira 

Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Tatou Katoa

Mr Speaker can I start by congratulating you on your election to the prestigious role of speaker.

I look forward to your many positive rulings over the next 3 years … in our favour.

Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, I stand before you filled with pride as the representative of the people of Northland.

I’m proud to be a National Party MP in the most powerful and united opposition this Parliament has ever seen.

Today is my opportunity to introduce myself, share my journey and what I hope to achieve while I’m there.

I come from the mighty Northland a truly beautiful place steeped in history.

I live a short distance from the harbour where Kupe first landed on our shores. 

A short distance from the site of our first Maori settlement and the region with the largest Iwi Ngapuhi.

Our electorates largest town is Kerikeri and it’s also the site of our first permanent European settlement and NZ’s oldest surviving building The Stone Store.

In the beautiful coastal town of Russell we have NZ’ first capital and across the water at Waitangi the grounds where the Treaty was signed.

These factors taken together make us the birthplace of our nation. 

The vast Northland electorate stretches from Cape Reinga and 90 mile beach in the North across to the beautiful Whangaroa and BOI harbours in the east to Dargaville and the mighty Tane Mahuta Kauri in the west then wrapping around Whangarei and extending past Wellsford and Mangawhai to the south.

We have 1700kms of coastline and the best scenery in the country despite what my colleague Tamati Coffey might try and tell you.

We enjoy the country’s highest average temperature, we have 3.6 per cent of the population and just over 5% of the land area.

We are a region with many challenges but I am incredibly positive and optimistic about our future.

It’s a true honour to be voted in by the people of Northland to represent them and it’s a real privilege to be one of 120 people tasked with the responsibility of ensuring this country is governed well.

I want to acknowledge our leader Bill English and our senior management team both past and present for their leadership and guidance of our country over the past 9 years through the GFC, the Christchurch earthquakes and several other major challenges we have faced as a Nation.

Mr Speaker, can I also acknowledge our Party President, Peter Goodfellow and the National Party board he leads.

I want to acknowledge Northern Region Chair Andrew Hunt and his executive and finally our general manager Greg Hamilton and the crew from the service centre whom I am told are possibly the best team we have ever had.

I would also like to acknowledge my predecessors and the work they have put into the Northland electorate.

I would like to acknowledge my National Party colleagues especially from the 2017 intake and my colleagues from across the house for their success in getting here.

We enjoyed some time together during the induction period before the games began and I look forward to working with all of you on the various select committees and other duties.

I would like to mention and acknowledge my two main opponents in Northland Labour’s Willow Jean Prime for showing the same determination and perseverance as I have to make it here.

And NZ First Winston Peters for being unrivalled in his longevity as New Zealand’s longest serving and possibly best known Politician.

It’s important to me that as one of the front men we never forget the team behind us working away to ensure our success.

To my superb Northland electorate team a huge thank you to you all.

I am nothing without you, I appreciate every bit of time, every effort and every bit of encouragement that you have all put in. I want you to enjoy our success because it is OUR success.

Mr Speaker I want to make special mention of our Electorate Chair Rose Ellis. Rose is a massive asset to Northland.

In the 2015 by-election she drove over 10,000kms in one month and put in countless hours of work all at her own cost to support the National campaign in Northland.

In our 2017 campaign Rose didn’t let up she led from the front and really did make a huge difference and I will never forget that.

Mr Speaker I would also like to single out for special mention my campaign chair Grant McCallum.

Grant is a former National Party board member and a man with a mountain of knowledge who was and is a huge help to me.

Grant’s guidance and advice were critical to our success.

Mr Speaker I want to offer my thanks to all Northlanders who supported me through the campaign and put their faith in me to be their representative.

My political career began in 2010 when I entered the rather prolonged race to be the Northland candidate for the 2011 election.

I made the short list on that occasion but didn’t make the podium.

Having no desire to be an MP anywhere but Northland I essentially shelved my political dreams and got on with what was a pretty good life.

Then rather unexpectedly along came round two in 2015. This was a mad dash to the finish in a greatly shortened selection process and this time I made the podium but didn’t get the gold.

Finally in late 2016 in round 3  I made it across the line and was selected as the National Party candidate for Northland.

On that day my campaign began and did not stop until late on 22 September with my electorate chair Rose Ellis balancing on my shoulders pulling out the last nail of our last hoarding.

I credit this long and onerous campaign and my team for our ultimate success in winning back Northland.

Mr Speaker a bit about my early history and my journey here.

I want to thank my family, starting with my wonderful parents who gave me the best start in life anyone could wish for.

If everyone experienced the upbringing I had there would be no need for Policeman or Judges, lawyers or prisons, you wouldn’t even need locks on your doors.

I am the eldest son of Joe and Jenny King who this year celebrated 52 years of marriage.  My father a well-respected Chiropractor and farmer and my mother a school teacher and fantastic provider.

My parents worked really hard for what they have and made many sacrifices to give us the life we enjoyed.

My father’s word is his bond, a handshake seals the deal. He leads by example and set the bar high.

Words cannot describe how proud I am of them.

I was also blessed to briefly know my oldest sister Joanna who was taken from us at a young age. I have one younger sister Tara and one younger brother Patrick whom I admire greatly.  

I’m the proud father of three amazing children, Jake, Robbie and Jasmine and the husband to an incredible woman and mother my wife Sarah.

I was born 50 years ago in Auckland and moved north at aged 9.  We grew up on a picturesque hill country farm in the mid-north which we now own.

We have an amazing life on that farm, swimming in and drinking water from the two rivers that flow through it.

Riding our horses and dirt bikes across the hills, hiking through the bush, eeling in the creeks, scaling the cliffs and climbing deep into the glow worm caves …our farm has it all.

40 years later nothing has changed we can still do that although these days I much prefer to sit on the riverbank and watch my kids do the action stuff.

After leaving schools and scraping together some cash I left on my big OE.

I bought an old American Ford station wagon in San Francisco and for a year it was my home whilst I travelled the length and breadth of North America clocking up over 20,000 miles covering many parts of Mexico, the US and Canada. This was a huge adventure filled with incredible memories and recommend it to all.

On returning to NZ I completed 3 years of study graduating from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Science.

After graduating I followed in my grandfather’s footsteps and joined the Police.

During my 14 year Police career I got to experience the human race in all its glory.  I dealt with the sad the mad and the bad.

I saw and experienced things that cannot be unseen and came out of it at the other end with a heightened level of compassion for people that has never left me.

I learnt many of my most valuable life lessons during this period of my life.

I like to share with you a story about my grandfather also named Joe a policeman for 30 years.

He ended up on the North Shore in Auckland before the harbour bridge was built.

He was the sole policeman from Campbell’s Bay to Waiwera. I recall him telling me many stories from his policing days and these have stuck with me. 

I recall a story where my grandfather received a call to a bad car accident on the Orewa hill north of Auckland.

At that time a new cop had just been stationed in Orewa and my grandfather headed north to assist him.

He learned that a car had rolled that the 3 occupants had been thrown out and that the car had landed on one of them. That the injuries were life threatening head injuries and that it was pretty grim.

My grandfather was told that the injured passenger was his son, my father. On route to the scene my grandfather passed the ambulance going the other way heading to the hospital and knew his son was in it.

He continued on to the scene to help his mate the new cop and did his job because that’s the kind of man he was.

My grandfather has long passed away but if I am half the man he was and my father is then I will be doing alright.

Mr Speaker by far the biggest and proudest achievement of my university days was the discovery of my soul mate and love of my life my wife Sarah.

Sarah has been by my side for the past 27 years and is one out of the box.

I can honestly tell you I would not have made it here without her love and ongoing support.

Never has there been a truer word spoken than beside every successful man their stands a great and equally successful woman.

Mr Speaker I want to close with my dream for Northland.

I want a region where all of our children can grow up get educated, have a career and raise a family in Northland.

I want a region where all of our children are raised in the strong, stable and loving environment that I enjoyed.

That we can stem the flow of our young people out of Northland.

It’s especially personal to me as my son Jake is chasing his dream and training to be an airline pilot in Hamilton.

I would dearly love it if we grew to the stage where he could complete his training in Northland so I could get to enjoy having him around more often.

How do we do grow and prosper well it starts with investing in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our digital and energy network, our schools our hospitals and our people, especially our people.

I want to encourage our many talented people to step up, take leadership roles in our communities, become mentors and lead by example.

I want us to stop talking about the potential that Northland has, I want to realise it.

I am committed to keeping Northland on the map to keeping us front and centre.

To Northlanders I give you this promise I will work the hardest and the smartest that I can to achieve our dreams and our aspirations.

I’m proud to be a Northlander. I’m proud to be your MP.


Rural round-up

November 21, 2017

Wool gains ‘dream come true’ – Sally Rae:

Watching the volume of wool growing for Lanaco’s healthcare products and seeing lambs being born from specifically bred genetics is a ‘‘dream come true’’ for Nick Davenport.

Mr Davenport is chief executive and founder of the Auckland-based company, previously known as Texus  Fibre, which specialises in fibre innovation and developing functional materials derived from wool.

Wool from sheep developed by Wanaka man Andy Ramsden, from the Dohne, Cheviot and Finn breeds, and trademarked as the Astino breed, is used in healthcare products. . . 

Family’s top two places a show first – Sally Rae:

‘‘Not a bad show’’ is how Will Gibson dryly describes his family’s record-setting feats at last week’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch.The Gibson family, from Middlemarch, won the prestigious Senior Meat and Wool Cup with their yearling supreme champion Hereford bull and were runners-up with their 2-year-old Santa Gertrudis cow with calf at foot.

It was the first time in the show’s history the same exhibitor has won the top two placings and it was well-deserved recognition for a family who work hard, are passionate about their livestock and also about exhibiting at A&P shows.

The yearling bull Foulden Hill Mustang was unbeaten in his classes over the two days, both in the Hereford and all-breeds classes, and he also won the Junior Meat and Wool Cup. . . 

Alternative proteins – on the verge of  mainstream:

Alternative proteins are on the verge of becoming mainstream and ‘stealing’ growth from traditional meat products as they play a growing role in meeting consumer needs and preferences, according to a recently-released global research paper.

The report, Watch out…or they will steal your growth by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, examines why alternative proteins – including plant-based meat substitutes, emerging insect or algae-based products and lab-grown meat products – are starting to successfully compete for the “centre of the plate”.

Report author, Rabobank global sector strategist for Animal Protein Justin Sherrard, says it is the ‘growth’ – rather than the current market size – of alternative proteins that is of greatest significance. . . 

Predator Free farm award:

Farmers will be recognised for their part in the nationwide movement of Predator Free New Zealand when a new Predator Free Farm Award will be presented next year as part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Sponsored by Predator Free NZ Trust and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the new award will acknowledge the efforts of farmers who have put in place systems to effectively manage and monitor predators including possums, rats, feral cats, ferrets, weasels and stoats.

The award will be given to farmers who have been successful in controlling predators and are likely to have wider native biodiversity and habitat enhancement programmes in place.

Chair of Predator Free NZ Trust, Sir Rob Fenwick, said “farmers manage a significant proportion of the New Zealand landscape so they are vital in the drive to make New Zealand predator free.” . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand extends its support of B+LNZ Genetics:

After four years of operation and a series of successful milestones, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has extended its support of wholly-owned subsidiary B+LNZ Genetics beyond its initial five-year funding programme.

B+LNZ Genetics was established in 2013 to consolidate farmer investment in New Zealand’s sheep and beef genetics research and innovation into a single entity. Its programme was forecast to generate $742m of benefits over 10 years, but that figure has since been reviewed upwards, to $947m, or $7,890 per annum per sheep and beef farm. With rising costs this helps keep farmers competitive. . . 

Butter at record $5.67 a block :

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017.

Butter prices led the way again – up 62 percent from the same time last year. Milk and cheese prices also increased (up 7.5 and 12 percent respectively) and had large contributions to the increase in food prices seen in the year to October 2017.

“Dairy products are very widely used inputs in a number of food items,” consumers price index manager Matthew Haigh said. “The effects of price rises flow on to products such as takeaway biscuits, buns, cakes and coffee, and eating out for lunch and dinner, all of which saw increases in the year to October 2017.” . . 

Global Dairy Platform announces new chairman:

Global Dairy Platform (GDP) has appointed Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Theo Spierings, as GDP chairman, effective November 16, 2017.

Mr. Spierings says he is pleased to be taking on the role and playing a part in maximizing the contribution dairy can make to the world.

“More than ever, people are turning to dairy for nutritional security and sustainable food and every day we see the good that dairy can do. . . 

 


Tributes to Michael Spaans

November 21, 2017

Michael Spaans, a former director of Fonterra and chair of DairyNZ has died.

Fonterra chair John Wilson paid tribute to him:

Sadly, today our Co-operative has lost one of our strongest people with former Director Michael Spaans passing away last night. He is survived by his wife Kristina and children Olivia, Logan and Harvey.

Earlier this year, Michael decided to step down from the Fonterra Board and focus on trying to recover from cancer. He and I go back many years and I saw him approach his illness in the same way he approached everything in life. He was resolute and determined and did his utmost to continue on as normal. It was a brave fight and I am sure that will not surprise those of you who knew him.

Michael was a proud dairy farmer with a passion for our Co-op and our industry. I have often talked about the importance of having leaders developing within our ranks and Michael is a very fine example. Michael served on the New Zealand Dairy Group Shareholder Council, before joining the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council at the time our Co-op was formed. He was also part of the first intake for the Fonterra Governance Development Programme, and later built his governance experience outside the industry including directorships with ASB Bank, Shoof International, DairyNZ, Manuka SA, Waikato Innovation Park, Innovation Waikato and Ospri New Zealand.

He then brought this experience, along with a huge level of energy and commitment to our Board, and won the respect of his fellow Directors and farmers for his willingness to listen and engage. Michael was a man who knew the importance of detail. He made sure that he knew this business extremely well, understood our strategy and was completely across the detail of the numbers. He always looked for constructive solutions and thought deeply about our Co-op’s governance and his role in the evolution of our business.

His insights and experience — along with his genuine interest and inquisitive mind — were also invaluable on Fonterra’s Milk Price Panel, the Co-operative Relations Committee, and the Audit and Finance Committee.

As late as last month, Michael was working for the betterment of New Zealand farmers in his capacity as Chairman of DairyNZ. He has also remained an ambassador for Fonterra on the international stage and in Wellington, recently speaking at the United Nations in New York on behalf of the Global Dairy Platform and all farmers.

We have lost a close friend, leader and an advocate of our industry much too soon. Our thoughts and deep gratitude for all that he contributed go to his family.

DairyNZ also paid tribute to him:

It is with great sadness that DairyNZ acknowledges the passing of (Reindert) Michael Spaans (54), husband, father, farmer, director, and recent chair of DairyNZ.

Michael Spaans

Michael has been a valuable member of the DairyNZ board since 2008 and was elected chair in November 2015. He was also a director of Fonterra from 2013 until January 2017 when illness forced an early retirement.  However, he continued on as a director of ASB and Shoof International, and with his farming interests in Canterbury, Chile, and the United States, as well as his home farm.

DairyNZ acting chair, Barry Harris, says: “Michael will be greatly missed by the board, our staff, our farmers and the wider Waikato community. His passion and knowledge of the sector, and dedication to improving outcomes for dairy farming profitability and sustainability are well known. We are going to miss his thoughtful debating and farmer-first approach to investment, his involvement with the dairy leaders group, his focus as chair of the Waikato Dairy Leaders Group and the group’s desire to improve the state of the Waikato River, and support for the Healthy Rivers plan in particular.”

Growing up on a family farm at Tauhei, near Morrinsville, Michael attended Mangateparu School, Morrinsville Intermediate and Morrinsville College. He later took over his parents’ farm at Manawaru, residing there with his wife Kristina and their three children, now aged 16, 20 and 22, until his passing.

A keen basketballer as a young man, Michael started farming life in Te Aroha as a young sharemilker, getting into governance around the time of the creation of Fonterra. He started with the old New Zealand Dairy Group shareholders’ council and continued to serve as Te Aroha Ward rep when the council and company became part of Fonterra. From there he has held many governance positions, dedicating his life to improving farming in New Zealand.

“Michael always had presence and not just because he was 6ft 9in tall, but because he was thoughtful, considered, and passionate about farming,” says DairyNZ’s chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle.

“Besides his love and dedication to his family, he was also dedicated to DairyNZ, even ill, he made such an effort to add value to our organisation.  He felt and was often quoted as saying how vital an organisation like DairyNZ was to act in the best interests of farmers, and the DairyNZ family are going to miss him.

“Our deepest sympathies lie with his family, especially his wife Kristina, who has also dedicated her past nine years to us too.”

A replacement chair of DairyNZ will be announced shortly, along with a replacement solution for a new farmer director.

Fifty four is far too young for a good man whose death will leave a large hole in his family and circle of friends.

Farming will also miss his contributions as a farmer, director and community stalwart.


National Ag Day needed here too

November 21, 2017

It’s National Agriculture Day in Australia where the rural urban divide is widening:

The traditional divide between city slickers and their country cousins has turned into a yawning chasm, with 83 per cent of Australians convinced agriculture and farming have no or little relevance to their lives.

A new survey commissioned for the first National Agriculture Day tomorrow also found only 4 per cent of Australians correctly identified agriculture as the fastest-growing sector of the Australian economy, while fewer than half had met or talked to a farmer in the past year.

The National Farmers Federation, which commissioned the survey, believes it proves an urgent need for agriculture to promoted nationally as an exciting, hi-tech industry vital to Australia’s economic future, to reverse the misperception it is a dull, outdated sector of the past.

NFF president Fiona Simson said few Australians are aware that the nation’s once-quiet agricultural sector is now producing more than $64 billion of food and fibre products annually, provides 1.6 million Australians with jobs, grew at a phenomenal rate of 23 per cent last year and single-handedly prevented the economy from reversing into recession over the previous two quarters.

“This is an industry that is powering ahead and which was the largest contributor to national economic (GDP) growth in the last two quarters, but no one in the cities knows that any more,” Ms Simson lamented yesterday.

“In the old days, everyone knew a farmer and understood what farmers did and where their food came from, but city people are now so geographically distant and disconnected from the broader agriculture and food industries, that all that understanding and interest has been lost.”

It doesn’t help that increasing urbanisation means fewer people in the media understand farming and wider rural issues, nor that this has allowed the radical green movement to dominate the debate with arguments based on emotion rather than science.

The 2016 census revealed that 49 per cent of Australians today were either born overseas or have foreign-born parents, while 70 per cent live in the eight capital cities.

The number of farmers has also shrunk from 320,000 to fewer than 90,000 in the past 35 years according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the country-to-city population drift and the nation’s urbanisation has continued unabated. . . 

Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said there was no more important industry than agriculture, and National Agriculture Day was a time for all Australians to acknowledge and thank generations of farming families.

“Our nation’s farmers, and agricultural and food sector workers and businesses, do so much more than simply keeping us fed; they are international leaders, stewards of Australia’s landscape and environment and produce some of the best food on the planet that feeds 60 million people around the world,” Senator Ruston said.

“The Aussie farmer has made Australia the lucky country.”

The importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy is very unusual in a developed country but the contribution is often undervalued.

Is it time we had a National Agriculture Day too?


Bring back rabbit boards

November 21, 2017

Moeraki, which is best known for its boulders and the delicious seafood served at Fleurs Place, is suffering from a plague of rabbits.

Rabbit numbers on the Moeraki peninsula have  skyrocketed and are at “plague” proportions, residents say.

The township of Moeraki is “just crawling” with rabbits this spring, locals say,  and dozens  can be seen  at the local camping ground, on roadsides, in gardens and anywhere they can find food.

Not permitted to shoot or poison rabbits in urban areas, locals are left waiting for the release of a new strain of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus to help control them.

The Otago Regional Council says it is the landowner’s responsibility to control pests, but residents spoken to by the Otago Daily Times say they have grown weary of the fight to control them.

Waitaki District Council Waihemo councillor Jan Wheeler, who lives on a farm on the peninsula, said the problem there was “shocking” despite her husband’s  efforts at rabbit control, and it was worse in the Moeraki village, which was “just crawling” with them this year.

“For every pair there’s been, there’s about seven babies running about. It’s a shocking problem. It’s been like this for about six years and it’s growing every year,” she said.

Retiree Brian Todd, of Hampden, last month began hunting, freezing and selling rabbits killed near Moeraki as pet food to a Timaru business.

In the middle of one day, he stood in the same spot on a Moeraki farm for  two and a-half hours and shot 46 rabbits, he said.

“There’s more rabbits in town than on the outskirts. The last thing I want to do is lose my firearms licence, but I reckon I could take out 1000 around town in a couple of weeks.” . . .

Moeraki retailer Leanne French said the village provided an ideal environment, particularly given there were many areas where landowners were not in a position to control them.

“They’re up in the …  holiday homes, where nobody lives …  they are just happily hanging out on the front lawn.

“As an example, we live where there are nine 12-acre [4.8ha] blocks, and there’s only three permanent people that live here. There are so many other pieces of land where nobody ever comes, so nobody can look after it. That causes trouble.” . . 

An application to import the new strain of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus has been made to the Ministry for Primary Industries and is being consulted on at present.

The new strain  infects only the European rabbit and no other species.

Otago Regional Council director of environmental monitoring and operations Scott MacLean said  the virus, if approved, would be available by autumn next year and Moeraki would be a priority for its distribution. . . .

Our hills aren’t moving with rabbits as they are in Moeraki but we’ve noticed a population explosion at home.

We’ve tried every legal way of killing them but haven’t made any noticeable impact on numbers.

We often see them on the lawn and around the garden. Even our raised vegetable beds aren’t safe since they’ve learned to jump up to nibble on young plants.

A few decades ago every district had a Rabbit board which employed people to cull the pests.

Since then, everyone’s responsible for dealing with the problem on their own properties but rabbits don’t observe boundaries. Culling rabbits on one property achieves little if neighbours don’t cull them too.

Is it time to bring back Rabbit Boards?

That would reduce the pest population and create a few jobs too.


Quote of the day

November 21, 2017

It is the generation of the unemphatic. Steal, kill, lie, fornicate, but beware of indulging with conviction. – Beryl Bainbridge who was born on this day in 1932.


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