Shilpit – pale and feeble; puny; sickly looking; pinched and starved in appearance.
History was being made (we were told by mainstream media) when 170,000 New Zealanders took to the streets to demand decisive action against climate change. It capped a week in which the 16-year-old Swedish girl Greta Thunberg dressed down a summit in New York of world leaders:
“We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth”.
That apocalyptic vision was clearly shared by many young New Zealanders: one Wellington student called on the government immediately to cull the country’s entire dairy herd.
So what has happened in the fortnight since? . .
Water rules’ outcome predetermined – Alan Emerson:
I joined more than 400 local farmers at the Ministry for the Environment consultation meeting in Carterton.
In addition it was streamed to Federated Farmers members. It was an interesting experience.
The meeting started with MfE staff telling Wairarapa rivers are in good shape.
They then went on to outline all the expenses to be foisted on us even though our rivers are, in their words, in good shape.
We were then told we need to manage our emotions and to be respectful of other attendees.
I’d suggest it’s not easy to manage your emotions when you are getting considerable costs foisted on you for no good reason. . .
Kiwi clarity inspires import – Samantha Tennent:
Being a foreigner in a strange land is no barrier to progression in the dairy industry for one young woman from England. Samantha Tennent reports.
Nicola Blowey is the manager on 575-cow farm at Fairlie.
She was also the 2019 national winner of the Dairy Trainee of the Year at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.
She has found consistency and clarity across the NZ dairy sector compared to the diversity in Britain where farmers use grass in some way across their systems.
“Back home discussions don’t have the same clarity,” Blowey says. . .
Meat company still in limbo – Brent Melville:
About 160 seasonal workers at Oamaru Meats Ltd (OML) are entering their fourth week off the job after the meat processor shut down the majority of its processing on September 13.
The unplanned closure followed the suspension of its access to China beef markets.
The North Otago company, owned by Chinese company BX Foods, said it had been working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Chinese authorities to get more information.
OML director Richard Thorp, who had described the shut-down as a “temporary break in production”, said the plant had continued and about 20 staff had been retained for “non-China” processing. . ..
Pioneer of Central Otago winemaking still in the business – Yvonne O’Hara:
Reverend Samuel Marsden did not know it, but when he planted the first grapevines in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, on September 25, 1819, he was indirectly introducing an industry that is now earning Central Otago millions of export dollars.
Frenchman Jean Desire Feraud introduced wine grapes into Central Otago in 1864 at Clyde, as did Alexandra businessman Thomas Oliver in the same decade.
They were also indirectly responsible for the modern vibrant wine industry in Central Otago.
There are now 135 wineries and 32 grape growers, producing wines that attract global accolades.
There is 1884ha planted in vineyards, of which 1502ha is planted in pinot noir, and last season the region produced 11,868 tonnes of wine grapes, New Zealand Wine Growers says. . .
Minnesota farmers diversify into hemp production to stay viable – Lucy Kinbacher:
An American farming family are among a host of Minnesota growers taking up new hemp crops as prices for corn and soybeans tumble.
The Peterson family of Sever and Sharon, along with their son Aaron and his wife Nicola, operate about 445 hectares growing everything from corn, soybeans, pumpkins and apple trees, and are no strangers to business restructure.
Traditionally a truck garden vegetable farm in the early 20th century, they went on to dabble in wholesale production throughout the US and central Canada, roadside retail stores and even established Sever’s Corn Maze for added income. . .
The government has posted a $7.5 billion surplus:
The Government has unveiled a bumper $7.5 billion surplus and the lowest debt levels in almost a decade, the latest Crown accounts reveal.
That level of Government surplus has not been seen since at least 2008, just before New Zealand felt the full effect of the global financial crisis. . .
It’s taking all that money yet failing to deliver on its promises.
Surpluses are good, but $7.5 billion looks like too much of a good thing.
The government is either taking too much, spending too little, or both.
National’s Economic Development spokesman Todd McLay says:
“The Government should be looking to stimulate the economy by letting New Zealanders keep more of what they earn.
“Instead, it has piled on more and more taxes to the point where Grant Robertson is sitting on a big surplus while those living outside Wellington’s beltway struggle with rising living costs.
“One of the reasons debt is lower than forecast is because the Government is failing to invest in the infrastructure New Zealand needs.
“It has cancelled or delayed a dozen major new roading projects right across the country and replaced them with projects that weren’t ready, and won’t be ready for some time yet.
This isn’t just taking more tax and doing less with it. Stalling new roading work risks a loss of skilled people who will head overseas if there’s a gap between current projects finishing and new ones starting.
“Meanwhile, the Government has been piling on taxes. It has legislated to milk an extra $1.7 billion from motorists through fuel tax hikes and extra GST, while its misguided housing policies have pushed up rents and burdened landlords with extra costs and regulation.
“National legislated for tax relief that would have put more than $1000 a year extra into the back pockets of New Zealanders. This Government cancelled that.
“We will index tax thresholds to inflation so that New Zealanders aren’t taxed more by stealth every year because of the rising cost of living.”
Sound economic management requires much more than creating surpluses.
The government must take enough, but not too much, and it must scrutinise all its decisions to ensure its spending effectively and prudently.
The large surplus suggests the government could be investing more in infrastructure and filling some of the gaping holes in the health system.
It also shows it is taking far more than it needs and it could be leaving us all with a little more of our own money by way of tax cuts.