365 days of gratitude


North Otago Federated Farmers’ AGM began this afternoon with a visit to McLean & Co, who specialise in handcrafted weaving using heritage looms and locally sourced wool.

We moved from there to Scotts Brewery, who make craft beer, including some which is gluten free, for the formal meeting, pizzas and beer.

The weavers, the brewers and those continuing, or taking up, office as Federated Farmers all had something in common – a passion for what they are doing.

The district, and the country, are so much the better for people like this and I’m grateful for that.



Word of the day


Acme – the point at which something is at its best or most highly developed; the best or most perfect thing that can exist or be achieved; highest point or stage; summit, peak.

Rural round-up


The problem is not dirty dairying, it’s still dirty government – Not PC:

Environment Minister David Parker is all set to tell dairy farmers how many cows he’s going to be let them have on their own farms.  This is, he claims, to fix “dirty dairying.”

But turns out you neither need nor want central planning to fix the alleged problem. What you do need is property rights — and common law.

Here’s a repost from 2008 that’s sadly topical again, explaining what that means… . . 

Give farmers who are having a free ride on the Feds a rev up, says Manawatu leader – Jill Galloway:

Freeloading farmers are getting a free ride when Federated Farmers goes to bat for them on rural issues, says a Manawatū leader.

Manawatū/Rangitīkei Federated Farmers president Richard Morrison said the value of Federated Farmers was often queried and everyone was after a tangible return for every dollar they spent.

“I can see why they want to know how the money is spent … however consider the wins we at the federation have had. There has been a benefit for farmers and rural communities.”

He said some farmers who were not members were getting an easy free ride on others. “Talk to those people and see if they will join up,” he told about 50 members at the region’s Federated Farmers annual meeting. . . 

Farmers have stake in caring for water: Waikato mayor – Craig Rowley:

At the heart of the Waimate district is the rural sector – farming that contributes to both the local and national economies.

Farmers have and continue to work hard to reduce any negative impacts on the environment. The establishment of water zone committees is one example of this.

The Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Water Zone committee is made up of local people, including farmers, who have a wide range of interests in water – the source, the use and the benefits that come with good water management practices. . . 

Commodity prices good but problems possible – Simon Hartley:

Commodity prices in many of the country’s agriculture sectors are in a “sweet spot” at present, but Brexit, US-China relations and global trade talks could yet create headwinds.

The waning strength of the New Zealand dollar has been in the headlines for the past week.The kiwi has been down 5% against its United States counterpart in recent weeks and at one point fell below US70c, boosting commodity prices in New Zealand dollar terms.

Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said, from a revenue perspective, the country’s agricultural sector was “in a bit of a sweet spot”,  although there was  the odd exception. . .

Emma Lewin wins Tararua Shepherd of the Year :

Four candidates — two men and two women competed for the title of Tararua Shepherd of the Year 2018.

At the Greenhill Station Field Day on Friday April 27 Emma Lewin was declared the winner.

According to judge Damian Reynolds of Totaranui Angus each was put through their paces in a rigorous two-hour assessment on the properties where they currently work.

This involved both practical skills such as stock handling and shearing as well as knowledge of the industry and operation of the farm they work on. . . 

Not an easy fit for agricultural drones in broadacre – Sharon O’Keefe:

THEY take pretty pictures and if you choreograph your headers correctly, your drone video may even trend on social media. 

However, precision agriculture specialists and researchers are questioning the utility of drones for broadacre agriculture. 

McGregor Gourlay, national digital agriculture manager, Brooke Sauer said while her company was a drone stockist, she felt as a general rule, drones were more useful for purposes other than broadacre precision agriculture.  . . 

Cumbrian farmer tracks down stolen pregnant sheep:

FOURTEEN stolen pregnant ewes have been safely returned to their Cumbrian farm thanks to a high-tech marking system.

Pip Simpson, whose farm is at Troutbeck near Windermere, has been a victim of previous livestock thefts.

He turned to a tracing system to help protect his flock from criminals targeting isolated farms across the county.

TecTracer, a forensic sheep tracing system developed by John Minary, a former senior police detective, and a Swedish ballistics expert ingrains coded markers into a sheep’s fleece,“marking” them with a unique identifying code which makes it easy to trace which farm the sheep originated from. . . 

World Ovarian Cancer Day


Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day.

Each year on May 8th, women living with ovarian cancer, their families and supporters, along with patient advocacy organizations from around the world, come together to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD) is the one day of the year we all raise our voices in solidarity across the world in the fight against this disease. . .

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all female cancers. Most women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making it more difficult to treat. There are often delays in diagnosing ovarian cancer. That is because there is no early detection test, and symptoms are often confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Five-year ovarian cancer survival rates vary around the world, ranging from 30% to 45%. By comparison, five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer range from 80% to 90%.

Ovarian cancer is overlooked and underfunded – yet every woman in the world is at risk of developing this disease.

You can find more about WOCD on Facebook and Twitter

And more about the disease at Ovarian Cancer New Zealand which lists the symptoms:

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

Bloating/abdominal (tummy) swelling

Eating less and feeling fuller

Pain in your abdomen/pelvis/back

Needing to pee more often (or leaking)

Other symptoms you might also experience include:

 Bowel changes  Indigestion  Painful Intercourse  Fatigue  Unusual Weight Loss  Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

Remember, symptoms can be vague and easy to ignore so listen to what your body is telling you and then discuss this with your doctor

Image may contain: 14 people, people smiling

Ovarian cancer kills one woman in New Zealand every 48 hours.

Early detection improves outcomes.

Luxury before necessity


Nadine Higgins writes: Let’s put primary healthcare before free university classes for rich kids:

. . . Three visits to my GP had set me back $180. I dropped another $200 on two courses of antibiotics, probiotics, Codral, cough syrups, cough drops, health shop lung elixirs, and an array of strong pain killers after I coughed so hard I injured my ribs (which is a real treat if you can’t stop coughing). The x-ray, thankfully, was being covered by my health insurance, which I pay fortnightly.

So, as I hacked and coughed and wondered why I’d put off that last doctor visit so long when I was clearly getting worse instead of better, my thoughts turned to the kids heading off to university this year, their fees fully funded.

It’s not an entirely illogical leap given this week the Government admitted its pledge to reduce the cost of going to the doctor by $10 by July 1 going to take longer to implement, basically because they don’t have the money.

I didn’t feel too strongly about the free first-year university fees policy until that moment in the x-ray room, but then I felt outraged.

Why are we helping people who can afford to upskill themselves and who will reap the benefits of upskilling themselves, when we don’t have enough money left over to make sure people can afford to look after themselves? . . 

It’s not just less expensive visits to doctors that has pushed other priorities off the government’s can-do list.

The payment to beneficiaries to help with winter power bills has been reduced.

Here we are at the beginning of May shivering and expecting this Winter Energy Payment to begin. It was promised to run from May to October. Well, layer up. It’s not arriving until July, but the delay is the least of your problems.

Here’s the bad news for the nation’s pensioners. You were all expecting a $700 increase to your pension this year (couples). You’re not getting it. It has been reduced to $413. Singles now only get $265.98. . .

In the announcement on the Beehive website, it was noted that payments would be made over 13 weeks in 2018 (a late start in July), whereas in 2019 it would begin in May for 22 weeks.

Innocently, I figured this was a systems issue. New Government, new payment and Winz needed time to get it up and running. Surely they’d just divide $700 by 13 weeks. It was a gold-plated election promise and Winnie would surely be a guard-dog on this one.

Errr no. In all that innocence I missed the words “When fully implemented, the annual payment will be…”

They’re talking about 2019 being the full implementation date.

The election promise was clearly a 2018 winter warmer. Can you imagine Labour going head-to-head with National’s $680 increase and proudly parading a $413 kilowatt floppy carrot?

A financial haircut of $287 is a substantial amount in kilowatts hours – 1190 kWh to be exact (going by my own anytime-rate). It’s at least a month’s power in winter to most pensioners. . . 

Wealthy retirees are no more in need of extra money for power than students are in need of fee-free education.

But there will be poor retirees and other beneficiaries who were depending on the payment to keep them from the cold.

The government has got its priorities wrong. putting luxury before necessity.

Fee-free tertiary education for all is a very expensive luxury that has left the government unable to properly fund necessities.



Quote of the day


Why could not advantage be taken of a time of relative calm and quiet to investigate and try to solve a question of such immense and worldwide importance, both from the humane and Christian stand-point?  – Jean Henri Dunant who was born on this day in 1828.

May 8 in history


589 Reccared I summoned the Third Council of Toledo.

1450 Jack Cade’s Rebellion: Kentishmen revolted against King Henry VI.

1541 Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River and named it Río de Espíritu Santo.

1753 – Miguel Hidalgo Mexican revolutionary was born (d. 1811).

1788 The French Parlement was suspended and replaced by the creation of forty-seven new courts.

1794 French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, who was also a tax collector with the Ferme Générale, was tried, convicted, and guillotined on the same day in Paris.

1821 Greek War of Independence: The Greeks defeated the Turks at theBattle of Gravia.

1828 – Jean Henri Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross; Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1910).

1846 Mexican-American War: The Battle of Palo Alto – Zachary Taylor defeated a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande in the first major battle of the war.

1861 American Civil War: Richmond, Virginia was named the capital of theConfederate States of America.

1877 At Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened.

1884 – Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, was born (d. 1972).

1886 Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented a carbonated beverage later named “Coca-Cola”.

1898 The first games of the Italian football league system were played.

1899 The Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin opened.

1902 In Martinique, Mount Pelée erupted, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and killing more than 30,000 people.

1914 Paramount Pictures was founded.

1916 – Swami Chinmayananda, Indian spiritualist, was born (d. 1993).

1919 Edward George Honey first proposed the idea of a moment of silence to commemorate The Armistice of World War I, which later resulted in the creation of Remembrance Day.

1925 – Ali Hassan Mwinyi,  second President of Tanzania, was born.

1926  NZ Railways Magazine was launched.

NZ Railways Magazine launched

1926 – David Attenborough, English naturalist, was born.

1927 Attempting to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, French warheroes Charles Nungesser and Francois Colidisappeared after taking off aboard The White Bird biplane.

1933 Mohandas Gandhi began a 21-day fast in protest against British oppression in India.

1942 World War II: Gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands rebelled in the Cocos Islands Mutiny.

1943 – Paul Samwell-Smith, British bassist (The Yardbirds) was born.

1944 – Gary Glitter, English singer, was born.

1945 Hundreds of Algerian civilians were killed by French Army soldiers in the Sétif massacre.

1945 – World War II: V-E Day, combat ended in Europe. German forces agreed in Rheims, France, to an unconditional surrender.

1945 End of the Prague uprising, today celebrated as a national holiday in the Czech Republic.

1946 Estonian school girls Aili Jõgi and Ageeda Paavel blew up the Soviet memorial that preceded the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn.

1951 – Philip Bailey, American singer (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1951 – Chris Frantz, American musician (Talking Heads), was born.

1953 – Alex Van Halen, Dutch-born American drummer (Van Halen), was born.

1953 – Billy Burnette, American singer and guitarist (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1963 – Soldiers of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem opened fire on Buddhists defying a ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on Vesak, killing nine.

1970 John Rowles hit number 1 on the charts in New Zealand and 20 in Australia with Cheryl Moana Marie.

'Cheryl Moana Marie' hits No. 1

1970 The Hard Hat riot in the Wall Street area of New York City: blue-collar construction workers clashed with anti-war demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War.

1972 Vietnam War – U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced his order to place mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and other goods to that nation.

1973 A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the American Indian Movement members occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation atWounded Knee, South Dakota ends with the surrender of the militants.

1976 The rollercoaster Revolution, the first steel coaster with a vertical loop, opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

1978 First ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, byReinhold Messner and Peter Habeler.

1980 The eradication of smallpox was endorsed by the World Health Organization.

1984 The Soviet Union announced that it would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

1984 Corporal Denis Lortie entered the Quebec National Assembly and opened fire, killing three and wounding 13. René Jalbert, sergeant-at-arms of the assembly, succeeds in calming him, for which he later received the Cross of Valour.

1984 Thames Barrier officially opened.

1987 The Loughgall ambush: The SAS kills 8 IRA members and 1 civilian, in Loughgall, Northern Ireland.

1988 A fire at Illinois Bell‘s Hinsdale Central Office triggers an extended 1AESS network outage once considered the worst telecommunications disaster in US telephone industry history and still the worst to occur on Mother’s Day.

1997 A China Southern Airlines Flight 3456 crashed on approach into Shenzhen’s Huangtian Airport, killing 35 people.

1999 Nancy Mace became the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel military college.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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