Word of the day

October 30, 2019

Spanghew – to throw violently into the air; especially, to throw (a frog) into the air from the end of a stick.


Sowell says

October 30, 2019


Rural round-up

October 30, 2019

Taranaki farmers fear new freshwater rules will drive them out of business – Catherine Groenestein:

Dairy farmer Ali Wicksteed is so confident of how good the water on his farm is, he scoops a glassful from a stream on his property and takes a long drink.

Yet he and his wife Nicola fear they could be unable to carry on farming their central Taranaki property under new rules proposed in the Government’s Action for Healthy Waterways discussion document.

The changes aim to improve water quality and reduce the amount of pollution entering waterways from cities and farms.  . . 

They grab every opportunity – Annette Scott:

Driving their business to grow and intensify while keeping true to their farming values for Mt Somers Station is a challenge for David and Kate Acland who are also heavily involved in both their local community and wider industry groups. They talked to Annette Scott.

Mt Somers Station is a 3800 hectare family property in the heart of the Mid Canterbury foothills. 

The Acland family has farmed the fully integrated property with proud traditions of caring for their land, environment and people for almost 40 years.

The philosophy has always been to farm with minimal impact, recognising that to farm sustainably they must farm profitably and remain open to change as they take a 100-year view on their farming business decisions. . .

Venison spreads it’s wings – Annette Scott:

Farm-raised venison is changing with New Zealand no longer having all its eggs in one basket, new Deer Industry NZ chief executive Innes Moffat says.

With established markets evolving and new ones emerging some important new markets have been developed.

They are the result of active market development programmes by both individual venison companies and collectively by the five main venison exporters supported by DINZ.  . . .

Ngāi Tahu Farming strongly encourages sector to work together to progress five-year joint action plan:

Ngāi Tahu Farming chair Barry Bragg says the government’s announcement of their five-year joint action plan on agricultural emissions signals a step in the right direction, but that the sector must work collaboratively to implement urgent change.

Ngāi Tahu Farming is a large-scale agricultural presence in Te Waipounamu with interests in dairy, beef and forestry, and Bragg says that the business strives to balance economic priorities against reducing environmental impact.

“We are charged with running a farming business that contributes to the commercial outcomes of the iwi, as well as upholding Ngāi Tahu values. . .

Marlborough couple to downsize their Pine Valley ‘paradise’ after 50 years – Sophie Trigger:

Lloyd and Valerie Mapp are downsizing. 

After nearly 50 years in Pine Valley, in rural Marlborough, the Mapps are selling 50 hectares of land, including their home, flat paddocks and rolling hill blocks.

But they’re not moving far – just 2 kilometres in fact, to the front of the farm, where they will lose their sheep, but continue beef farming. . .

 

Scientist profile: Ross Monaghan:

My understanding of a meaningful life is having a sense of purpose and having a sense of struggle that’s attached to that, because you quickly get bored with yourself if those ingredients are missing,” says Ross Monaghan, Science Team Leader of the Environmental Sciences Team.

Ross was born and bred in the sleepy rural Southland town of Mataura, 13 kilometres south of Gore. This was where he spent quite a lot of his childhood growing up on family farms where his enjoyment for agriculture began to flourish.

“I quickly realised that to own a farm without a large backing of capital was quite a tough thing to do, so I drifted into agricultural science. I then specialised in soil science. I could see that obviously agriculture is important to New Zealand and that there are quite a lot of environmental pressures coming through due in part to agriculture, so that’s where I thought I could perhaps gain some expertise and try and make a difference to alleviate some of those pressures.” . . .


Thanks IHC

October 30, 2019

People with intellectual disabilities and their parents owe gratitude to IHC which has just turned  70:

On 25 October 1949, 22 parents met in Wellington. A notice had been placed in the Evening Post the previous day calling for ‘parents and guardians of backward children in the Wellington district… to attend a meeting … to consider the formation of a parents’ association’. 

The meeting elected Hal Anyon as interim president and his wife Margaret Anyon as secretary/treasurer, plus two committee members. At the following meeting, on 23 November, 50 people formed the Intellectually Handicapped Children’s Parents’ Association. Within three years there were a thousand members in several branches around New Zealand. In 1994, following several name changes, the large nationwide organisation became the IHC.

Those founding parents were brave and stroppy. They had to be. In 1949 there was widespread discrimination against people with what was then called intellectual or mental handicap. This situation was a legacy of decades of eugenic assumptions in which disabled people, particularly those with intellectual or learning disability, were considered defective and likely also deviant. Widespread assumptions of ‘tainted heredity’ and shame meant parents were strongly advised to hide their disabled children away from families and communities in institutions and forget about them. Many mothers were powerless to fight the removal of their child in the face of state authorities. . .

Both our sons had brain disorders which left them with multiple disabilities.

Tom was only 20 weeks when he died. Dan survived five years without passing any developmental milestones.

Looking after him got harder as he grew physically without developing intellectually and IHC’s support was invaluable.

Just how good the organisation was, was summed up by the manager of the local branch when we were trying to work out what was best for Dan.

He said, “Let us know what you need and we’ll work out how to provide it.”

I served on the branch IHC committee for several years which increased my admiration for the work the organisation does in supporting and advocating for the intellectually disabled and its members.

They continue to face challenges, one of which has resulted in a mother taking the government to court to prove her disabled son isn’t her employer:

An independent disability advocate has filed papers asking the Employment Court to decide if people with intellectual disabilities have the mental capacity to be employers.

The government is promising to change this, but advocate Jane Carrigan doesn’t want to wait and is going to court. . .

In order to get funding, Ms Fleming has to be an employee of her disabled son, a relationship the Ministry of Health has already admitted is a mere fiction.

Independent disability advocate Jane Carrigan said for too long the ministers and their ministries have indulged in what she calls tricky and technical conduct, by creating sham employment relationships.

And in doing so, the ministers had removed themselves from their responsibilities under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act, she said.

“This allows the ministry to step back in the very cynical name of choice and control and say to people with disabilities – the majority of whom I might add have an intellectual disability – ‘well there you go, you’re the employer, you have the choice to employ who you want, the control to manage how your employment relationship works’.”

Ms Carrigan said that was ludicrous.

“The so-called employer is usually lying in bed with nappies on and has no capacity to manage the employment relationship intellectually. And even those people who are only physically disabled, many of them, because they are high/very high needs, will rely on a family member to do all the employment relationship stuff,” Ms Carrigan said.

Ms Carrigan said if there was an employment relationship it was between the carer and the Ministry of Health and she wanted the court to say so. . .

Thanks to those brave and stroppy parents who formed it, IHC’s advocacy has resulted in a lot of improvements to care and support for intellectually disabled people and their families in the last 70 years.

I am very grateful for the help it gave us and also aware of the help others still need and the battles still to fight.


Healthy Waterways submission

October 30, 2019

Submissions  on freshwater policy close tomorrow.

You can make a submission here or email it to:  consultation.freshwater@mfe.govt.nz 

Federated Farmers has advice on how to submit here.

My submission is:

The goal of cleaner waterways should not be up for debate.

But how clean, how quickly and at what cost is.

1. I support the requirement for Farm Environment Plans.

The North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) requires independently audited FEPs from all farms it supplies as a condition of its consent and this works well.

2. All regulation must balance environmental requirements against the financial and social costs.

a) The North Otago Irrigation Scheme has had significant environmental, economic and social benefits.

i) Before irrigation there were four houses on our farm and the two immediate neighbours’. There are now 16, most of which are occupied by young families.

ii) This development has been repeated all over the district which is now drought-proofed.

iii) New on-farm jobs have been complimented by the creation of jobs for people who service and supply farmers.

iv) This has resulted in a significant economic and social boost to the Waitaki District and the town of Oamaru.

v) The consent condition included the supply of water to the Waiareka Creek. What used to be a series of stagnant pools most of the year is now a clear-flowing stream all year.

vi) The consent condition requiring farm environment plans which are independently audited each year has allowed development to proceed while protecting soils and waterways.

vii) This sort of development and the environmental, economic and social benefits which have resulted from it would not have been  able to be done if the policies proposed had been in place.

viii) New policy must ensure new irrigation schemes can go ahead.

3. Regulation based on effects is better than prescriptive policy which will stymie development.

4. All policy must take into account the ability of farmers and councils to implement and monitor requirements.

i) It would take years to build up the workforce of suitably trained and skilled advisors, consultants and council staff required to implement and monitor the proposed policies.

5. Policy must not take a blanket-approach to regulation.

i) Different catchments and different areas within catchments require different policies.

II) Different climate,  different topography, different soils, different gradients require different treatments within catchments.

6. Policy working towards cleaner waterways must balance social and economic factors with environmental ones.

i) Primary production plays a significant role in the economic and social wellbeing of New Zealand.

ii) Anything which harmed that would not just make individuals and communities poorer it would make New Zealand poorer thereby reducing its ability to pay for environmental improvements.

7. Policy working towards cleaner waterways must address the problem of fouling by colonies of birds.

i) Testing by the Otago Regional Council has found high E Coli levels in the Kakanui River are due to sea gulls, many of which are protected.

ii) This is not peculiar to the Kakanui River, fouling by protected species and other birds, including game birds, happens all over the country.

iii) I accept the need to leave protected species alone during nesting but we will never get clean waterways if they return year after year. Policy must allow action to re-locate nesting areas well away from waterways.

 


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