Word of the day

09/03/2020

Humbuggery – dishonest talk, writing, or behaviour that is intended to deceive people; language, behavior, or ideas that are absurd and contrary to good sense; something intended to deceive.


Thatcher thinks

09/03/2020


Rural round-up

09/03/2020

South Otago group buying in to idea of improving environment – Richard Davison:

Southern farmers have come in for a public bashing in certain sections of the media during recent months, as unflattering winter grazing conditions hit the spotlight. Richard Davison takes a look at a group offarmers demonstrating poor environmental practice is the exception, rather than the rule.

Taken at face value, it would be easy to believe the agricultural sector has paid no heed to governmental directives and public appeals to join the clean water revolution now gaining in momentum.

But invest even a moment to dig a little more deeply and peer through the quaggy murk, and that notion is quickly dispelled.

The award-winning Pathway for the Pomahaka agricultural catchment water-quality improvement scheme, started in 2015, has begun to expand into eight more South Otago catchments, bringing with it tried-and-tested techniques, and a spirit of experimentation that is about to be enthusiastically adopted by new stakeholder farmer groups. . .

Airport dairy training school still in limbo – Daniel Birchfield:

Plans for a dairy training farm at Oamaru Airport remain on the back-burner as visa processing delays continue to thwart the National Trade Academy’s ability to enrol international students.

Plans to establish the school, next to the academy-affiliated New Zealand Airline Academy, were announced in August last year.

It was due to open this month, but the academy was not able to fill classes.

The issue arose when six overseas visa processing offices were closed by Immigration New Zealand last year. . .

Let the harvest begin:

Kiwifruit picking is underway in Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty, signalling the beginning of the 2020 kiwifruit harvest.

The 2020 season is forecast to be another very large crop with around 155 million trays of Green and Gold kiwifruit expected to be picked in orchards and packed in packhouses across New Zealand from Northland to Motueka. This year’s crop is forecast to be well up from the 147 million trays exported in 2019.

It is predominantly the Gold variety which is first picked, followed by Green kiwifruit in late March. The last fruit is picked in June. . .

Public, media support of dairying – Hugh Stringleman:

Mainstream media organisations are not anti-dairy farming or beating up on the industry, DairyNZ communications manager Lee Cowan says.

Media items about dairying, across all forms of media, have remained more than 90% positive or neutral over the past three years of analytics, she told Farmers Forums throughout the country in the past month.

Cowan said the problem is sensitivity bias among dairy farmers who are interested in articles about dairying and who therefore read or watch them and are more likely to have an opinion. . .

Sarah’s Country | Spirulina’s for drinking, water’s for fighting – Sarah Perriam:

A favourite saying of Grandad C R Perriam was “Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting”. Nothing has changed since the fight between gold miners and farmers in Central Otago in the 1800s, till now.

We have never had so much technology at our fingertips to preserve water in human history so the fight is about the social licence for every drop.

This week in Sarah’s Country we discover the exploding future of super-foods grown from algae in water with Justin Hall from Tahi Spirulina, New Zealand’s first spirulina farm on how this diversified, plant-based market is on fire. . .

Research to explore benefits of sheep grazing on lucerne:

British farmers are to learn from their counterparts in New Zealand as new research explores the benefits of sheep grazing on lucerne.

The farmer-led field lab will look at grazing ewes and lambs on only lucerne – a legume that is widely used as forage for sheep in New Zealand.

It is valued for its high yield, drought tolerance, protein content, and digestible fibre.

Farmers taking part will assess lucerne’s potential in finishing lambs quicker, tolerating low rainfall, and reducing fertiliser inputs by fixing nitrogen in the soil. . .

 


Fishy

09/03/2020

Matt Shand has trawled New Zealand First’s past and come up with something that smells fishy:

Winston Peters had dozed off during the meeting in 2001. He was woken by his advisor who handed him a $5000 cheque from fishing magnate Neil Penwarden and a report alleging corruption in the scampi quota system.

 After taking both, he left. 

This set the stage for the so-called “Scampi Inquiry”, which started after Peters alleged corruption in the industry during a speech inside the house, as outlined in Penwarden’s report, then failed to deliver any evidence after it began. 

“It was suggested it was common these sorts of meetings usually generated a donation,” Penwarden says. “We gave the party $5,000. I don’t know if it made it to the party.”  

Handing over money to an MP at these sorts of meetings should not be common practice, it’s con man practice.

If the money made it to the party it should have been recorded and the donor issued with a receipt.

Peters was asked direct questions by Stuff about this incident. His response was to call it “farcical”, belittling the sources contacted individually. Penwarden was able to recall the details. So too was his advisor Ross Meurant who helped broker such meetings. 

Meurant, a former National MP and detective was living in two worlds being employed both by Peters’ as an adviser and by Vela Fishing Group Companies at the same time. 

Meurant says Peters becomes angry whenever someone challenges his own versions of events or stands up to him

“I’m of the view that Winston believes his own version of events,”  Meurant said. 

He may well believe his own version that but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Meurant is lifting the lid on a long-standing tradition of political influence from the fishing industry and NZ First dating back as far as 2001. . . 

New Zealand First is under investigation by the SFO.

These allegations must be included in that investigation.

What Shand uncovered smells fishy and concludes:

Penwarden never gave any more money to NZ First or to Peters. He says he had learned his lesson. Likewise, other donors to the NZ First Foundation shared this sentiment. Some even asked for the money back. 

“The point is: we learned a lot of Winston Peters and over time standing back and observing his behaviour we were not persuaded in any way about his credibility, honesty and decency and suitability to be involved in politics,” Penwarden says. 

The SFO investigation will take time, almost certainly more time than is left before the election.

In the meantime we have a deputy Prime Minister facing serious allegations about his behaviour and character.

Will Jacinda Ardern continue to stand by him when these allegations aren’t just being made against the party and foundation but against the man himself?

She probably doesn’t even believe the fiction she keeps repeating that because it’s about another party she can’t, as PM, do anything about it and she can’t expect voters to buy it either.

It didn’t wash when it was the party, it will be even less credible now it is her deputy about whom these allegations are being made.


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