Word of the day


Boyar – a member of the old aristocracy in Russia, next in rank to a prince; a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Wallachian, Moldavian, and later Romanian and Livonian (Modern day Latvia and Estonia ) aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes.

Hat tip: Liam Hehir

Thatcher thinks


Rural round-up


Farmers despair :

Rising stress levels among farmers struggling to digest a deluge of regulatory changes while weathering constant attacks by critics, have community leaders worried.

BakerAg director Chris Garland says morale is as low as he has ever known it and he is seeing experienced, stoic farmers burst into tears, worn down by constant public attacks on the industry while trying to comprehend the impact of new rules.

He is worried about the mental wellbeing of farmers, a view shared by the heads of several rural support trusts.

Rural Support’s national chairman Neil Bateup says demand for help in his region of Waikato has increased. . . 

The increasingly uncompromising Todd Muller – Alex Braae:

National’s new agriculture spokesperson finds himself in one of the party’s most important portfolios, at a time of dramatically increasing tensions in the sector. Will Todd Muller, a man regularly mentioned as a future leader contender, find common ground?

Todd Muller’s obsession with politics began with an American encyclopaedia, which his parents bought from a door to door salesman in 1979. 

The long biographies of US presidents jumped out at him. He copied their signatures, and drew pictures of them. In time, Muller even came to write a book about his future political dreams. 

“The short synopsis is that I go to America when I’m about 21, I become the vice-president of the United States when I’m 28, and then of course some tragedy befalls the president, and I become the president. And I serve as the United States president for 13 consecutive terms.”  . . 

Data and science do the work – Neal Wallace:

The topography of The Ranch in south Otago is steep to rolling hill country but it is managed and performs like an intensive breeding and finishing farm. Farm managers Maurice and Renee Judson tell Neal Wallace much of the performance comes down to decisions based on science and data.

The impact of data on agriculture has been reckoned to be comparable to that of fertiliser.

The challenge is to decipher that volume of data about farm performance and parameters into a workable form and that is where south Otago farm managers Maurice and Renee Judson have an ace up their sleeve.

The farm is owned by Canterbury-born Lincoln University-trained lecturer and plant physiologist Dr David Ivory who has spent about 30 years working for the United Nations on sustainable agricultural programmes around the world and his wife Wichanee. . . 

Let’s get behind our rural community – Kerre McIvor:

A couple of years ago, almost to the day, I wrote a column calling for there to be a Cockietober – a month to celebrate farmers and their invaluable contribution to the economy.

I felt, back in 2017, that farmers had got a rough ride during the election campaign, and that farmers were getting it in the neck unfairly. They were being blamed for the poor water quality in New Zealand despite the fact that city dwellers are letting literal and metaphorical crap flow into their harbours and rivers. They were being told how to manage their stock by people who’d never set foot on a farm. They were told they didn’t pay their workers enough, they were being told they were destroying the planet by providing milk and meat for consumers, they were told they mistreated their animals.

I thought things were bad two years ago. But it appears things have got much, much worse.

In an open letter to the nation, BakerAg, a rural business consultancy firm, has called for people to get in behind our rural community. . . 

Sheep water ban stuns farmers – Colin Williscroft:

Farmers have been broadsided by a rule in a proposed regional council plan that will cost some of them $1 million each.

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s proposed Natural Resources Plan includes sheep among stock to be excluded from waterways throughout the region, including hill country, a rule neither farmers nor the council saw coming.

Federated Farmers Wairarapa president William Beetham said the rule was not raised during the plan’s hearings process.

But the proposal is unworkable. . . 

Launch of the New Zealand Agritech Story:

New Zealand has a new story to tell, one that highlights the nation’s ingenuity, development of cutting-edge technology, and care for its people and place.

The New Zealand Agritech Story provides a compelling way of promoting New Zealand’s agricultural technology internationally, to build awareness and preference for New Zealand solutions and ultimately help more New Zealand agritech businesses succeed on the world stage.

The NZ Agritech Story, launched today, includes a comprehensive suite of free promotional materials that highlight New Zealand’s leading edge in the sector.

Peter Wren-Hilton, the executive director of Agritech New Zealand, said the story would make a key difference for export companies. . . 

Brazil’s fires and biofuels – Jim Steele:

From leaf cutting ants that cultivate fungus gardens to flowers that fool potential pollinating insects into having sex, the magic of rainforest ecology always inspired my love for nature’s creativity. So, it’s no surprise that any and every report of burning rainforests would rally deep concerns across the globe. Nonetheless I am disturbed by dishonest gloom and doom regards recent Amazon fires. NASA reports since 2003 the square kilometers of forest burned each year has dropped by roughly 25 percent. But such good news doesn’t get headlines.

Although the NY Times wrote the fires have no climate connection, meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who writes numerous catastrophic climate articles for Slate and the New York Times, suggested the fires show, “We are in a climate emergency”. As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years, but Holthaus dishonestly tweeted, “The current fires are without precedent in the past 20,000 years.”

To heighten global hysteria, French president Macron and actor Leonardo deCaprio, tweeted photographs of forest infernos. But those photos were taken 20 years ago. Likewise, Madonna tweeted wildfire photos taken 30 years ago, and others tweeted flaming photos from regions far from the Amazon.

Activist vegetarians denounced meat-eaters for deforestation, arguing forests are burnt to create pastures for cattle. But they failed to mention pastures previously created for grazing without deforestation, are now being usurped by biofuel cultivation. Indirectly, it’s the biofuel fad that has driven cattle grazers to carve out new pastures in the rain forests. . . 

Dairy delivers for NZ


Professor Graeme Doole, DairyNZ principal economist has some facts to counter the anti-dairy rhetoric:

Every New Zealander is better off today thanks to the nation’s dairy cows – and that’s no exaggeration.

We will continue to be better off into the future too, because of this important sector and its powerful linkages to the overall well-being of New Zealanders.

The nutritional benefits of dairy to the human body as part of a balanced diet are factually documented. Dairy is also central to many of our culinary cultures – from crumbly cheddar and smooth brie, to ice cream, yoghurts, and butter for baking or on toast with marmalade.

What might not necessarily be as readily understood is the way the dairy sector helps to provide many of the things Kiwis say matter to them.

As we look at what makes life here in New Zealand good, and what can make it better, I want to cast light on how dairy works with every drop of milk to help improve our lives, from helping to pay for the goods and services we value, to assisting to reduce the price of others, including imported items.

Anyone worrying about poverty and hunger ought to be encouraging more dairy production here to keep the price lower and reduce the price of and reliance on imports.

At the same time dairy farmers, who are such innovators and are so responsive to the signals they receive, are improving their environmental practices, be it fencing and riparian planting to protect waterways, installing upgraded effluent systems, or working to reduce greenhouse gases.

They are also playing a key role in communities nationwide as they work together to address issues with water quality.

Dairy is closely intertwined with the entire economy, contributing in so many ways to higher living standards for New Zealanders.  Quite simply, the healthier the country’s economy, the better the quality of our lives, both now and into the future.

The dairy sector will earn New Zealand around $17.5 billion in export revenue this year, and is set to top that next year. This is greater than the revenue accruing to the forestry, meat, and wool sectors combined.

The entire economy benefits from this expenditure through dairy’s spending, directly, as in what dairy farmers and dairy companies go out and buy from businesses across the country, and indirectly.

Dairy significantly helps to fill Government’s tax coffers too, providing more money to pay for the essential services that help to improve peoples’ quality of life – education, hospitals, social security and welfare, police and so forth.

In the 2018-19 year we estimate that dairy farmers paid around $0.5 billion in taxes. For the 2019-20 year they will likely pay even more.

Dairy also delivers for regional government with rates and other charges, helping to pay for local infrastructure and services. Last year, farmers alone paid more than $200 million in rates.

Currently, the dairy sector employs 46,000 workers – that’s the entire population of Timaru, Canterbury’s second largest city, or more than all those living in Wellington’s Upper Hutt.

On-farm there are 34,000 full-time equivalent employees, and a further 12,000 across 35-plus dairy processing plants.

Dairy sector employment has grown faster (+3.1 percent per year) since 2000 than the rate of national job creation (+1.8 percent per year), boosting rural communities.

Not bad credentials really.

Regional statistics 2017-2018


    • Dairy generated $500 million in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $350 million; dairy processing $150 million at Fonterra’s Edgecumbe and Reporoa sites.
    • Dairy provided 2,800 jobs – 2,400 on farm; 400 in processing.


    • Dairy generated $2.2 billion in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $1,600 million; dairy processing $600 million at 11 sites (Fonterra nine, plus one each for Tatua and Miraka).
    • Dairy provided 13,400jobs – 9,900 on farm; 3,500 in processing.

Bay of Plenty

    • Dairy generated $500 million in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $350 million; dairy processing $150 million at Fonterra’s Edgecumbe and Reporoa sites.
    • Provided 2,800 jobs – 2,400 on farm; 400 in processing.


    • Dairy generated $950 million in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $800 million; dairy processing $150 million at Fonterra’s Eltham, Kapuni and Whareroa sites.
    • Provided 5,500 jobs – 3,700 on farm; 1,800 in processing.

Lower North Island

    • Dairy generated $700 million in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $550 million; dairy processing $150 million at Fonterra’s sites in Longburn and Pahiatua, and Open Country’s in Wanganui.
    • Provided 4,400 jobs – 3,100 on farm; 1,300 in processing.

West Coast-Tasman

    • Dairy generated $260 million in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $250 million; dairy processing $10 million at Fonterra’s Takaka site and We4stland’s near Hokitika.
    • Based on the population of 75,344, this equates to $3,450 per person that was injected into the West Coast-Tasman economy thanks to dairy.
    • Provided 2,100 jobs – 1,500 on farm; 600 in processing.


    • Generated $1.5 billion in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $1,2 billion; dairy processing $300 million at five sites – Fonterra’s at Brightwater, Clandeboye and Darfield, Synlait’s at Dunsandel and Westland Milk Product’s at Rolleston.
    • Provided 8,500 jobs – 6,000 on farm; 2,500 in processing.


      • Generated $1.1 billion in regional GDP – dairy farming contributed $950 million; dairy processing at $150 million at five sites – Fonterra’s at Edendale and Stirling, Open Country’s at Awarua, Danone’s at Balclutha and Mataura Valley Milk’s near Gore.
      • Provided 6,100 jobs – 5,100 on farm; 1,000 in processing.

The green radicals, other anti-farming groups and individuals calling for a reduction in cow numbers haven’t joined the dots between dairying and its significant contribution to the economy and the country’s well being.

They take no account of the efforts put into addressing problems caused by poor practices in the past and ensure better ones in the future.

They are also blind to the fact that if climate change is a concern it is better to have more dairying here where it is so efficient than in other countries where it is less so.

Quote of the day


We are pragmatists. We don’t stick to any ideology. Does it work? Let’s try it, and if it does work, fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one. We are not enamored with any ideology. Lee Kuan Yew who was born on this day in 1923.

September 16 in history


1386 King Henry V of England, was born (d. 1422).

1400  Owain Glyndŵr was declared Prince of Wales by his followers.

1701 James Francis Edward Stuart, sometimes called the “Old Pretender”, became the Jacobite claimant to the thrones of England and Scotland.

1776 American Revolutionary War: the Battle of Harlem Heights was fought.

1795  The first occupation by United Kingdom of Cape Colony, South Africa with the Battle of Hout Bay.

1810  With the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo began Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.

1812  Russians set fire to Moscow shortly after midnight.

1858 Andrew Bonar Law, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1923)

1863  Robert College of Istanbul, the first American educational institution outside the United States, was founded by Christopher Robert, an American philanthropist.

1875 James C. Penney, American department store founder, was born (d. 1971).

1893 Settlers race in Oklahoma for prime land in the Cherokee Strip.

1898 H.A. Rey, American children’s author, creator of “Curious George”, was born (d. 1977).

1905 New Zealand’s first fully representative rugby team to tour the Northern Hemisphere, the ‘Originals, started the All Black tradition including the haka and the ‘All Black’ name.

'Originals' kick off All Black tradition

1908 General Motors was founded.

1919  The American Legion was incorporated.

1920 The Wall Street bombing: a bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the J. P. Morgan building in New York City – 38  killed and 400 injured.

1923 Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor of Singapore, was born (d. 2015).

1924 – Lauren Bacall,  American actress, was born  (d. 2014).

1925 – B. B. King, American musician, was born.

1925 – Charles Haughey, Prime Minister of Ireland, was born (d. 2006).

1926 – Eric Gross, Austrian-Australian composer was born (d. 2011).

1928 – Lady Gwen Thompson, English author and educator, was born (d. 1986).

1930 Anne Francis, American actress, was born (d. 2011).

1931 Hanging of Omar Mukhtar.

1941 – Joe Butler, American vocalist and drummer, was born (The Lovin’ Spoonful).

1942 Bernie Calvert, British musician (The Hollies), was born.

1942 – Dennis Conner, American sailor, was born.

1945  World War II: Surrender of the Japanese forces in Hong Kong, presided over by British Admiral Cecil Harcourt.

1947 Typhoon Kathleen hit Saitama, Tokyo and Tone Rivr area, at least 1,930 killed.

1948 Kenney Jones, English musician (The Small Faces; Faces; The Who), was born.

1955  Juan Perón was deposed in Argentina.

1956 David Copperfield, American magician, was born.

1963  Malaysia was formed from Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak.

1966  The Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera, Antony and Cleopatra.

1970 King Hussein of Jordan declared military rule following the hijacking of four civilian airliners by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which resulted in the formation of the Black SeptemberPalestinianparamilitary unit.

1975  Papua New Guinea gains its independence from Australia.

1975  The first prototype of the MiG-31 interceptor made its maiden flight.

1976  Shavarsh Karapetyan saved 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into Erevan reservoir.

1976 – Tina Barrett, English singer-songwriter and actress (S Club), was born.

1978 An earthquake measuring 7.5-7.9 on the Richter scale hit the city of Tabas, Iran killing about 25,000 people.

1982  Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon.

1987  The Montreal Protocol was signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.

1990  A rail link between China and Kazakhstan was completed at Dostyk, adding an important connection to the Eurasian Land Bridge.

1991  The trial of deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega began in the United States.

1992  Black Wednesday: the Pound Sterling was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism by currency speculators and forced to devalue against the Deutschmark.

2005  Camorra boss Paolo Di Lauro was arrested in Naples.

2007  One-Two-GO Airlines Flight 269 carrying 128 crew and passengers crashed in Thailand killing 89 people.

2007 – Mercenaries working for Blackwater Worldwide allegedly shoot and kill 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad; all criminal charges against them are later dismissed, sparking outrage in the Arab world.

2013 – Taliban insurgents attacked the United States consulate in Herat,Afghanistan, with two members of the Afghan National Police reported dead and about 20 civilians injured.

2013 – A gunman killed twelve people at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched its Kobane offensive against Syrian–Kurdish forces.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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