Word of the day


Magdelen   – a reformed prostitute; a home for reformed prostitutes.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Confidence of farmers falls:

Rabobank’s latest rural confidence survey shows the shadow covid-19 has thrown on the rural sector.

Farmer sentiment has slipped since late last year with net farmer confidence down from 112% to -44% in the March quarter.

Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris said the survey results shine a light on the psyche of farmers at a critical time for the nation. 

“The food and agri sectors will be crucial in helping to rebuild the NZ economy and Rabobank continues to have a strong, positive long-term view of the sector outlook,” Charteris said.  . . 

COVID-19: Meat processing delays forecast – Peter Burke:

COVID-19 will continue to impact heavily on the ability of farmers to get stock killed during April and May.

The impact is due to physical distancing requirements between meat plant employees to prevent the spread of the virus Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service, in conjunction with the Meat Industry Association and the processors, have just released its assessment on processing capacity across the country and the potential impact on waiting times for farmers. 

The findings show the new meat processing protocols have reduced the industry’s peak processing capacity by approximately 50% for sheep and 30% for cattle. . . 

Don’t let fear overcome you – Colin Miller:

Farmer’s Chaplain, Colin Miller on overcoming fear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before writing my column for this month, I have had to sit by and wait this out. The reason?

Things are changing so rapidly. By tomorrow, today’s breaking news may well be out of date. There is a good chance, by the time this lands at your place, our world may be quite different again.

So yes, I will need to conclude with something that has no ‘use by date’. . . 

Stock sale options being explored – Neal Wallace:

Stock agents and venders are getting innovative to ensure seasonal trading of livestock is occurring while traditional selling methods can’t be used.

Some sales of weaner calves and deer are being held online but others are being arranged privately by agents linking vendors and previous buyers. 

Philip Wareing, who owns Arrowsmith Station in the Ashburton Gorge, had to cancel his annual on-farm weaner deer and weaner calf sales but says he is fortunate agents worked with previous buyers to ensure the stock were sold over a similar time frame to last year. 

“We’re very, very happy with that but it was at substantially lower prices than last year.  . . 

Orchard takes to web to keep pumpkins rolling out – Richard Davison:

First pizzas, now pumpkins.

A rapid diversification into home delivery is paying dividends for a previously locked-down Central Otago business.

Darryl Peirce runs Peirce Orchard at Millers Flat — better known to passers-by as The Pumpkin Place — which a fortnight ago was forced to shut down its roadside shop to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

Reacting quickly to the change in circumstances, he activated fruit and vege home delivery website theorchardshop.nz, and appealed to the Ministry for Primary Industries for registration as an essential service. . . 


UK’s native breeds could ‘flourish’ post-CAP, charity says:

The UK’s native breeds could flourish and grow their demonstrated value to the countryside post-Brexit, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has said.

The latest Watchlist, the charity’s annual barometer of breed numbers, shows that native breeds have a ‘sound platform’ for reviving in numbers post-CAP.

RBST says native breeds could bring ‘new levels’ of environmental, economic and cultural benefit to agriculture and to rural communities. . . 

City cooks, country cooks


In cities supermarket queues are hundreds of metres long.

In the country:

Tim Brooke-Taylor 17.7.40 – 12.4.20


Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor has died after contracting Covid-19.

The BBC obituary:

Tim Brooke-Taylor was at the heart of British comedy for more than six decades – with his words, wit and quickfire japery making millions of people laugh.

His comedic roots lay in the Cambridge Footlights, where his contemporaries included John Cleese and the two men he later collaborated with on the TV show The Goodies – Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

He began his broadcasting career on BBC radio, quickly developing a reputation as a performer and scriptwriter.

Probably best known as one of the members of the anarchic Goodies, he was also a long-standing panellist on Radio 4’s, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. . . 


Agility and speed needed for recovery


National Finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith says agility and speed are needed as we rebuild the economy:

. . . Every day that the talents and energies of Kiwis are not being put to use, every day that most hospital beds are empty and normal health and education activities are not carried out, we are paying a heavy price. 

The critical thing  this coming week is for the Government to clarify what it sees are the steps to progressively reopen the economy after the lockdown.   Is it all online commerce first with home deliveries, all elements of the supply chain feeding essential services, construction and general medical work?  Then what’s next? Everything that doesn’t involve large crowds, while retaining restrictions on borders?

These steps need to be announced as soon as possible.

We need absolute clarity about what’s in and what’s out at each step, and how social distancing in the workplace will work in practice.  Confusion and gross unfairness between businesses may have been forgiven as we raced headlong into lockdown at the start of the crisis, but it won’t be forgiven as we come out. 

If clarity around what is safe rather than arbitrary, confusing and often conflicting rules on what is essential was the guiding principle there would be less confusion and unfairness.

If the level four, three and two system that we’ve created is unnecessarily clunky and rigid, we should abandon or adapt it, so that new segments of everyday life can be opened up as quickly as possible without having to go through a great bureaucratic chain of command to shift from level three to two. 

Throughout, businesses would benefit from as much signalling of the changes as possible to get ready. . .

Businesses need to plan for reopening. The more knowledge they have and the sooner they have it the better able they’ll be to open sooner and safely.

Of course there is a risk that if we open up too soon we may see infection rates go up.  The response to that is extensive testing, tracing and isolation.   But as we can all see, the alternative of staying in lockdown longer than necessary is far from risk free. . .

The economic and social costs are already high and rising. There are also health costs in the lockdown through diagnosis and treatment delayed.

In the medium term, we need pro-growth policies to encourage investment.   This is not the time for the state to take over the economy or for a committee of Wellington officials to decide where investment should flow.

No virus can change the formula for success.  Most growth, jobs and opportunities will come from people and their businesses taking a risk to invest in rebuilding and expanding their enterprises, hiring new people, starting new ventures, buying new machines. 

They’re more likely to make those investments if they feel confident in the direction taken by the Government – that it won’t regulate them to death, over-tax them or keep changing the rules. 

The Government should hold off on the countless new costs and rules it was planning to impose on the productive sector in the next year or so, so that they can catch their breath and get started.

The government has a big role in the recovery, but it is not in doing things businesses are better doing, nor can it be in getting in the way of businesses doing them.

Meantime, it’s a good time to invest quality infrastructure, the innovation and R&D sector, and in the skills needed for the modern workplace.

There’s no reason our country can’t return to prosperity soon if we continue to apply agility and urgency to the great task of rebuilding our economy.

Governments don’t usually do agility and speed but governments don’t usually lockdown their countries either.

It isn’t going to be easy to get out of lockdown, it will be harder still to get over the consequences.

If the government isn’t able to be agile and speedy, it must do all it can to allow businesses to be.

%d bloggers like this: