Word of the day

February 7, 2020

Footle – to engage in fruitless activity; mess about; waste time; fool, trifle; act or talk in a foolish or silly way; nonsense; foolishness; silliness.


Sowell says

February 7, 2020


Rural round-up

February 7, 2020

Coronavirus: Generates a “perfect storm” for meat exporters & a “get prepared” warning for other business:

Business exporters and importers are advised to take steps to ensure there are ‘no surprises,’ if trade with China is disrupted by the Coronavirus situation.

“Talk to your bank, make sure customer expectations are established and understood, and that no sudden surprises occur,” suggests Auckland Business Chamber head, Michael Barnett.

He sees a perfect storm coming for meat and other traders. . . 

New Zealand forest owners wary of closing access risk in Chinese market:

New Zealand log exporters are bracing themselves for supply chain problems in China due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Some forest owners are already reducing their harvesting rate. Regrettably this will have an immediate effect on harvesting crew employment.

The New Zealand Forest Owners Association says that the extended Lunar New Year public holiday makes it difficult to know what is going to happen when sawmills in China restart. . . 

Fake meat ‘an opportunity not a threat’ for Kiwi farmers – Esther Taunton:

Taranaki dairy farmer Trish Rankin used to worry about the rise of plant-based proteins. Not anymore.

Now she sees alternative proteins paving the way for Kiwi farmers to market their meat and dairy to consumers who just want to do one thing “better”.

“Things like the Impossible Burger aren’t aimed at vegetarians and vegans, they’re aimed at meat eaters who want a meal that’s better for the environment, better for animal health and welfare, and lower in cholesterol.  

“Our meat and dairy ticks those boxes and when people start realising that they can make better choices without having to eat fake meat, that’s where we can come in – we’re the ‘possible’ to the Impossible customer.” . . 

Farmers waiting to count the cost – Richard Davison, Louise Scott, and Karen Pasco:

Farmers across Southland and Otago are counting the cost of serious flooding which has left hundreds of farms underwater and resulted in lost livestock and ruined crops.

The Government declared last night it was a ‘‘medium scale adverse event’’, opening the way for funding of $100,000 through Rural Support Trusts to speed up recovery and provide technical advice.

Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor, who had flown over the affected areas, said the response to the flooding event had been ‘‘absolutely amazing’’. . .

Plant and Food Research sponsors Inaugural Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for horticulture:

Plant & Food Research is proud to be a Gold sponsor of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy, Excellence in Māori Horticulture Award 2020. This year marks the first time since its establishment in 1933 that the competition has celebrated outstanding Māori in the horticultural industry.

David Hughes, CEO, Plant & Food Research says, “For decades the competition has alternated between dairy and sheep & beef farming each year. We appreciate this timely recognition of Māori contribution to horticulture. We’re particularly delighted to support this event and be part of its legacy because we believe good practices in horticulture are fundamental for us and te hapori whānui to build a smart green future together.” . .

Zero-carbon Britain presents a subsidy challenge for farmers – Jeremy Clarkson:

There is currently a lot of snarling and teeth-grinding about government plans to let a Chinese company called Huawei install and run lightning-fast 5G services for our driverless cars and our mobile phones and our wind farms.

The Americans say this is madness, because, should there ever be any hostilities with China, which isn’t entirely out of the question, Huawei could come through an electronic back door and instruct our driverless cars to crash into our wind farms, and our nuclear submarines to rain fire on our own cities.

Or the Chinese could simply push a button and switch the whole system off, which would turn Britain into a muddy, medieval hovel full of disease and people with warts on their faces. Imagine your kidwith no wi-fi. You can’t, can you? . . 

New partnership supports sustainable future for New Zealand farming:

We’re delighted to announce that Ruralco has become a strategic partner of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and will be aligned with the nationwide Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The new partnership is timely, as those eligible for the 2020 Awards have just been finalised and can be viewed here.

Ruralco is a values-led farming cooperative that has been supporting farming businesses and their families with competitive pricing and real value since 1963. Their vision is to be the partner of choice for rural New Zealand, a goal which includes supporting credible organisations that are committed to building a sustainable future for farming. . .


Thickness of political blood

February 7, 2020

The adage that blood is thicker than water applies to politics.

There is no better illustration of the thickness of political blood then the failure of USA senate to impeach President Donald Trump.

The Republican majority prevailed with only one voting on principle rather than partisan politics.

David Farrar calls him the only honest Republican senator:

If Clinton or Obama had done ever 5% of the misdeeds of Trump, every Republican Senator would have voted for them to be removed from office. With one exception they put party before country.

 will go down as the last honest Republican Senator. He had nothing to gain from voting to convict and will face massive abuse for doing so. So why did he? Here’s some pertinent extracts from his statement:

The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Yes, he did.

The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

The President’s purpose was personal and political.

Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

What he did was not “perfect”— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine. . . 

As they say these truths are self-evident.

In the last several weeks, I have received numerous calls and texts. Many demand that, in their words, “I stand with the team.” 

Thick blood puts the team before the truth.

 I can assure you that that thought has been very much on my mind. I support a great deal of what the President has done. I have voted with him 80% of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

If only others were so brave.

I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

It takes a lot of strength to stick to your principles when everyone else in your team can’t see past the thickness of their political blood.

We met people in Trump country on an irrigation tour 18 months ago.

One told us that his faith, his marriage, his family and his party were the four most important things in his life.

The only answer to the question of how he could reconcile his faith and his support for his President was the thickness of political blood.

And apropos of that thickness, unless the Democrats get their act together that President will hold office for another four years.


Maori seats and tribunal will pass best-by dates

February 7, 2020

National Party leader Simon Bridges says that Maori seats and the Waitangi Tribunal should eventually go.

Bridges cited the Royal Commission in 1986, which proposed that if the country adopted the MMP system, it should abolish the Māori electorates.

That logic still stood, he said.

“We have more Māori in Parliament today than in a very long time under a MMP environment, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to impose that.  . .

We not only have more Maori in parliament, we have more in senior roles – deputy Prime Minister, deputy leaders of National and Labour, and co-leader of the Greens. Only the Labour one holds a Maori seat.  The National ones are there as electorate MPs in general seats, the other three are list MPs.

Ending Maori seats has been National Party policy for years. That it didn’t happen when National was last in government is due to it inviting the Maori Party into coalition.

And as Dame Tariana Turia, one of those invited into the coalition, pointed out in a discussion on Agenda in 2008 Maori seats didn’t give a Maori voice:

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

Maori should be asking themselves what they’ve got from this government after voting Labour MPs into all their seats.

They should also ask why they need Maori seats when there is no one Maori voice.

Maori seats have long passed their best-by date and the Waitangi Tribunal will pass its eventually too:

“When we have moved past grievance, which I hope all New Zealanders would like to see at some point in time and those historic[al] issues with settlements have been full and final, you do have to say what is the role of the Waitangi Tribunal?” he said.

While many people would say a new, updated role for the tribunal should be found, Bridges said that was not his view.

He wanted to be clear he still saw a strong role for the government in partnership iwi, hapū and Māori in general when it came to the likes of te reo and partnership schools.

The Tribunal has a role until the final Treaty settlements are made.

After that it should go so we can all get over the grievances and move on to growth, together.

 


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