Word of the day


Prosily  – in  a prosy, dull, or commonplace manner; tediously; prosaically;  in a matter-of-fact way; dry.

Thatcher thinks


Rural round-up


Irrigators say future threatened by ORC water policy – Jono Edwards:

Scores of irrigators have told the Otago Regional Council the direction of its deemed permit overhaul will ‘‘destroy rural New Zealand’’.

They are at odds with environmentalists who are pleading that the status quo should not continue.

Twenty-one groups spoke at the council’s public forum yesterday about changes to its deemed permits process, which it has been instructed to undertake by Environment Minister David Parker.

Deemed permit irrigators have been working towards next year’s deadline to replace mining water privileges with consents. . . 

Bega Cheese hit with fears over milk supply after fire devastation – Patrick Hatch:

Bega Cheese’s shares fell 9.3 per cent to $3.92 on Monday, as the company and its dairy providers started to assess the damage caused by fires that have raged around the towns of Bega and Cobargo.

About 30 to 40 farmers had been affected in the area, said Shaughn Morgan, chief executive of the industry group Dairy Connect, with some reporting they had lost the bulk of their livestock.

Other farmers without power were struggling to milk their cows, while others were spilling their milk because dairy processors including Bega were unable to access roads to collect their produce. . . 

Rabobank announces extended support measures for bushfire impacted clients:

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has announced extended support measures for bushfire impacted clients, following further widespread fire activity in recent days.

Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said the bank’s staff in bushfire-affected regions were continuing to contact clients to check on their safety and welfare and offer assistance where required.

“Unprecedented fire activity has impacted a significant number of communities across the country, with loss and damage to agricultural land, livestock, houses and infrastructure and most tragically, lives. Although it is still too early to assess the full extent of the damage, the impact of the fires on farming businesses has been compounded by ongoing drought with many holding very limited reserves of feed, fodder and water,” he said. . . 

New Zealand’s first ocean farm divides submitters– Chloe Ranford:

An application from the country’s largest salmon farming company to start farming fish in the “open ocean” has divided opinion, with some calling it an “innovative milestone”, but others labelling it “premature”.

New Zealand King Salmon wants to set up a farm as large as Kāpiti Island in the waters off Marlborough and eventually farm 8000 tonnes of king salmon a year in the colder waters.

It lodged a resource consent with the Marlborough District Council last July asking to build the farm within a 1792-hectare site in the ocean – a New Zealand first. The company says the farming operation will take up a small fraction of the site, 7km north of Cape Lambert. . .

Time for UK farming to ‘reclaim’ January, red meat experts say – Olivia Midgley:

Veganuary will be countered with a co-ordinated message using expert speakers and social media influencers to promote healthy meat-based meals and combat misinformation about the UK farming industry.

Farmers are the most trusted link in the food supply chain, with only six per cent disagreeing and 62 per cent of consumers feeling positive about British agriculture, a survey by AHDB ahead of Veganuary has revealed.

AHDB, which has joined forced with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), to turbocharge the promotion of red meat and its benefits for human health and the environment throughout January, said the industry should be proud to ‘hold its head up high’. . . 

New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust Names Next CEO:

The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Parsons, MNZM, DSD as their new Chief Executive Officer. Chris Parsons will replace Anne Hindson on 04 May 2020, following her stepping down as General Manager at end of April.

“We were thrilled by the quality field of candidates and consider ourselves fortunate to have someone of Chris Parsons calibre and experience step up to lead New Zealand Rural Leaders through its next stage of growth,” said Andrew Watters, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Hailing from the Far North, Chris Parsons has a sheep and beef background and co-owns Ashgrove Genetics Ltd. He is also a decorated Army Officer, Certified Member of the Institute of Directors and holds master’s degrees in management and in strategy. . . 

Body to leave Ruralco, Chan-Dorman chosen chair-elect – Sudesh Kissun:

South Island rural service trader Ruralco says its chairman Alister Body has signalled his intention to step down from his role and pursue broader agribusiness interests.

Body chaired the Ruralco board for the past two years and served as a director since 2011.

Body has agreed to continue to support the business until June 30 when he will retire from the board. . .

Need more electorates


More than 300 objections have been lodged to the proposed electoral boundary and name changes:

The Representation Commission has received 332 objections to the proposed electorate boundaries and names for the next two general elections.

450 people contributed to the objections through individual and form submissions and one petition. The submissions can be viewed online at www.vote.nz.

“The proposed electorates that we’ve received the most objections about are around Auckland and in Otago and Southland,” says Representation Commission chair, Judge Craig Thompson.

“Some of the objections are about keeping communities together,” says Judge Thompson. “Other objections are about the names of some electorates and we’ve received suggestions for names that people feel better reflect those areas.” . .

There’s always been difficulty keeping communities of interest in the same electorate and that worsened with MMP which made electorates bigger.

I’m in Waitaki, the third largest general electorate. It covers parts of Central Otago, MacKenzie, Queenstown Lakes, Timaru and Waitaki District councils.

It includes towns as disparate as Oamaru and Wanaka, Ranfurly and Tekapo, and Maheno and Makarora.

Neighboring Clutha Southland is bigger still and even city-based electorates like Dunedin North and Dunedin South stretch into the hinterland to cover diverse communities with little if anything in common.

The starting points for boundary changes is the set number of seats for the South Island – 16. That puts around 65,000 people in each electorate plus or minus the 5% tolerance.

Adding at least one more seat to the South Island would lower the number of people in each electorate and its area and make it a bit easier to maintain communities of interest.

This wouldn’t be popular, but the population in each electorate is more than double what it was 50 years ago.

We didn’t have List MPs back then, but while some do base themselves in electorates and do a lot of constituency work, not all do and not all electorates get this extra representation.

No-one is suggesting we double the number of electorates but the larger population, large area too many electorates cover and difficulty in keeping communities of interest together is a reason to have a few more than we have now.

When MMP was introduced we had 65 electorates (60 general and five Maori) and 55 list MPs.

The increased population has resulted in five more general seats and two extra Maori ones with a corresponding reduction of seven List places.

Increasing the number of List MPs would be even less popular than adding a few more electorate ones but failure to address the issue of more and more people per MP is making it harder to have cohesive electorates and harder for MPs to represent them effectively.


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