Word of the day

March 3, 2020

Drek – rubbish; trash.

Hat tip: Inquiring Mind


Thatcher thinks

March 3, 2020


Rural round-up

March 3, 2020

Farmers feeling socially disconnected as younger generation migrate to social media – Lawrence Gullery:

A trail of dust follows Philip Dench’s motorbike as he rides up to the milking shed in the baking sun.

He steps off his bike wearing boots, shorts, a singlet, cap and sunglasses.

It’s hard to figure out what he’s thinking behind those sunglasses but that’s the way he likes it.

“I have to know the person first, I won’t talk to a stranger, no way,” Philip says. . . 

Southland farmers face winter grazing charges – Rachael Kelly:

Three charges have been laid against Southland farming companies for breaches of winter grazing rules last year.

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said the charges related to incidents on two sites.

“The charges are for discharges where they may reach water,” Mapp said.

The first court appearance was scheduled for this week but that was subject to change, he said. . . 

High standards pay off – Charlie Williamson:

While his friends dreamed of glamorous sporting careers Mihaka Beckham dreamed of working the land and being a dairy farmer. Charlie Williamson reports.

While his primary school friends were talking about how they would be the up and coming All Blacks stars when they grew up young Mihaka Beckham was saying he would one day be a dairy farmer. 

And with the help of a few mentors and his ability to seize any opportunity he could find along the way Mihaka, now 23, is living his childhood dream. 

Mihaka works as herd manager on a Taupo dairy farm milking 440 Jersey-Friesian cows on 170ha effective for Bryan and Tesha Gibson. . . 

Farmers call for ORC rates details -Brent Melville:

Federated Farmers says back-to-back annual rates increases from the Otago Regional Council should come with a more detailed plan of what benefits would come from farmers’ money.

The ORC yesterday announced it would push rates up by 9.1% as part of overall spending of $75.5million, including expenditure on reworking water plans, increasing consent processing staff and capacity for environmental incident response.

Federated Farmers South Island regional policy manager Kim Reilly said the second consecutive year of rates rises had come without firm detail as to how the rate adjustments might be packaged. . . 

Epidemiologist embracing ‘M.bovis’ battle :

Mark Neill says he likes a challenge, and admits he’s got one on his hands.

Mr Neill, a veterinarian, is the lead epidemiologist in the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme. He was one of the speakers at the Ministry for Primary Industries’ public update meeting in Oamaru last week.

Since September, Mr Neill has been seconded by the ministry from Ospri’s TBfree programme, where he has worked since 2002. . . 

Welsh woman declares vindication after ‘guerrilla rewilding’ court case

Sioned Jones used to adore the landscape and wildlife of her adopted home in Bantry, a bucolic region in west Cork on Ireland’s Atlantic coast. She planted vegetables and herbs, foraged for nuts and berries and observed birds, insects, frogs and lizards.

Then, on land above her house, the state-owned forestry company Coillte planted a forest of Sitka spruce, a non-native species that Jones considered a dark, dank threat to biodiversity.

The Welsh grandmother got a chainsaw and started cutting – and cutting. A few trees at first, then dozens, then hundreds. In their place she planted native broadleaf trees – birch, hazel, oak, alder, crab apple and rowan – a guerrilla rewilding campaign that lasted more than 20 years. . . 


Virtue signalling with other people’s money

March 3, 2020

The government is virtue signalling again:

The government is being accused of ‘virtue-signalling’ after banning KiwiSaver default funds from investing in fossil fuel companies.

A number of changes will be made to how the default funds are run, including the new ban.

KiwiSaver members are allocated a default provider if they don’t actively choose a KiwiSaver fund – and nearly 700,000 people are currently in that situation. . . 

People who do this are likely to be inexperienced investors.

Sam Stubbs from the KiwiSaver provider Simplicity said fossil fuel companies were not delivering great returns, so were not a hot pick for investing at the moment anyway.

Excluding fossil fuel investment in itself was not that controversial, he said, but it was notable the government was targeting individuals’ funds.

“There’s always the risk of moral hazard … where the government is playing God about where your money should be invested.” . . 

Whose money is it? It’s the investors’ and the government shouldn’t be coming between them and their providers.

Chief Executive of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, John Carnegie, said while the industry was on board with the transition to renewable energy, he did not believe the government should be dictating which investments are acceptable.

The choice should be made by the saver, he said, in part because deciding what is “responsible or not is highly subjective”.

Stubbs agreed, saying people might not like plastics for example.

“And you might say let’s get rid of plastics … that means you get rid of all shoes, ear implants, heart valves, plastics are in everything – there are very obviously some bad things but some great things as well, all of these things are judgements.”

With investors already worried about their KiwiSaver balances due to uncertainty created by the Covid-19 virus, National’s Paul Goldsmith said the government has chosen now to “meddle” with their investments.

“The coronavirus will have a huge effect on our economy, an economy that is weaker than it should be because of this government’s poor economic management.

“Instead of focussing on ways to improve this, the government is tinkering around the edges and indulging in virtue signalling”, he said. . . 

If KiwiSaver providers sell shares in fuel companies they will be bought by someone else and that will have absolutely no impact on the companies nor will it have any impact on the environment.

It is virtue signalling with other people’s money.

While this particular intervention will probably have little impact on returns for the funds, it establishes a very dangerous precedent. If it’s fuel companies this time, it could easily be something else that would negatively impact on people’s retirement funds next time.

It’s not the government’s money. It belongs  to individual investors and they government should not be telling them, or their KiwiSaver provider, what to do with it.

 


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