Word of the day

April 14, 2020

Slipshod – characterised by a lack of care, thought, or organisation; showing little attention, car or effort; shabby, careless; slovenly; wearing slippers or loose shoes; (of shoes) worn down at the heel.


March of the Warbirds

April 14, 2020

Difficult and frustrating as the lockdown is, it would be much worse had it happened if the internet wasn’t enabling us to work from home, access entertainment and keep in contact with others.

It’s also enabled people to get together musically from their individual lockdown bases.

A reader emailed introducing me to the BayLynn Youth Band which is comprised of mainly Year 4 to University age young people based in Auckland.

Their musical director, who teaches music at St Peters College, has set them some practice and performance tasks during lockdown. March of the Warbirds is a piece written by their associate music director Bernie Allen who is an 82 year young legend in NZ Music.

 

 


Sowell says

April 14, 2020


Rural round-up

April 14, 2020

Winter is coming – Tom Hunter:

Rabobank provides a regular newsletter to its farming clients and the latest one makes for grim reading.

They’re forecasting a milk payout next season (20/21) of $5.60 per kg. Currently it’s at $7+.

Ouch.

The farmers I talk to don’t accept Rabobank’s analysis. Yet. And Fonterra, Open Country and other dairy companies are still optimistic that next season’s payout will still be well north of $6, even at not at this season’s level. The trouble is that their forecasts have often missed the big swings, notably the $4.30 payout of 2014/15, which came so rapidly after the record $8.40 payout, and I don’t have much confidence in Fonterra in general. . . .

Farmers: “cool” not to be unique. When they started farm environmental improvements, couple were unique – but not any more:

Eastern Southland dairy farmers Chris and Lynsey Stratford fielded a lot of questions on the environmental improvements being made when the property they manage was converted from sheep farming 10 years ago.

“Initially there was a lot of interest from other farmers,” Lynsey said.  “We were unique at the beginning – but not now…and that’s cool.”

That was in Southland – and Lynsey believes there’s been a much greater national understanding by farmers of action leading to big impacts on the environment over the last 10-20 years. . .

 

New Zealand onion growers celebrate multimillion-dollar export success in Indonesia:

New Zealand onion growers are celebrating being able to export their world class crop to Indonesia again.

‘Indonesia has just re-opened its market to New Zealand onions after some clarification was required for the new import rules,’ says Onions New Zealand Chief Executive, James Kuperus.

‘This follows months of negotiations, but with the support of key figures such as Director General Horticulture, Indonesia, Prihasto Setyanto and the Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, the regulations have been clarified and exports have resumed.’ . .

Sheep conference going ahead via virtual technology :

The stage is set for an international sheep conference, thanks to virtual technology.

Called Head Shepherd, the event on April 16 has been organised by neXtgen Agri, whose team usually spent most of its days visiting clients and assisting with breeding programmes both in Australia and New Zealand.

It had come to a “screaming halt” with the Covid-19 lockdown and the team was now providing that support via video and phone calls, founder and agricultural geneticist Dr Mark Ferguson said. . . 

Straight off the tussock, farming at Okuku Pass – Tim Fulton:

Jack’s mother Winifred knew the Latin name for every plant in the garden but Bill Blain did most of the work. Bill came out to New Zealand from London in 1882 on the same ship as the English cricket team, who were heading to Australia for the first ever Ashes series.

He had been working in the tramway stables in London, where at one stage he had been in charge of feeding about 7000 horses, but came out because of his lungs were crook. Despite his apparent poor health, Bill’s first big job in New Zealand was draining the Coldstream swamp for John Macfarlane – and then working a paddock for him at Loburn. He also drove traction engines, and apparently went to the Boer War as a fully qualified steam engine driver – but he had a long, narrow trenching spade which he prized for the rest of his life.

He worked for both the Macfarlanes and Fultons from the moment he arrived in New Zealand. He was with us at Broomfield and then went into a boarding house in Rangiora. . .

Primary sector needs more govt support:

The Government needs to urgently engage with the meat industry to look at ways to allow increased productivity over coming weeks, otherwise there will be a significant animal and farmer welfare issue, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“While farmers are an essential business, they are still experiencing significant disruption from COVID-19 and are grappling with the ongoing effects of drought.

“Meat processing plants are an essential service and have taken the appropriate steps to enact social distancing and other precautions for staff, but this has also led to productivity constraints.

“Meat Industry Association Chairman Tim Ritchie told the Epidemic Response Committee there was 75 per cent less venison being processed, 50 per cent less sheep meat and 30 per cent less beef. . . 


The Alone Rangers

April 14, 2020

Three comedians and a filmmaker found themselves locked down together:

What do you get when you isolate three Kiwi comedians and a filmmaker on one rural property in the middle of a pandemic? 

That’s not the start of a joke, it’s how Rhys Darby’s comedy web series The “Alone Rangers” Show came to be. 

The Flight of the Concords star had been based in LA before the pandemic hit. But when things started “getting really bad”, he and wife Rosie, fellow Kiwi comic Jonno Roberts, who’d been performing in on Broadway before the theatres were closed, and director Dean Cornish decided heading home was the best idea.  . .

Now, along with Darby’s long time pal and collaborator Jaime Bowen, they’re riding out the lockdown safe and sound in Matakana, about an hour north of Auckland. It’s one big, rural bubble of 10 including the kids.

With so many creative folks in one place, the next step was an obvious one. 

“We have quite a bit of talent here, so we thought ‘well, it would be stupid not to make use of the time and make something funny’.”

That something turned out to be The “Alone Rangers” Show, a web-series made up of 10-minute clips, starring Darby’s tree-obsessed NZ Park Ranger Bill Napier, a good, keen Kiwigian bloke.  . . 

Bill Napier, NZ’s finest park ranger is in lockdown with Jason Chaseman and his nemesis, Aussie ranger Ron Bradman. Taking a break from all the park work they create a TV show to inform and entertain, The Alone Rangers. In this first episode they look at what sports they can still play, post lockdown, and Ron entertains with a song.

Please note, all crew and performers are in the same isolation bubble.

Starring…. Rhys Darby as Bill Napier Jonno Roberts as Ron Bradman Jamie Bowen as Jason Chaseman

Cameras held by Finn Darby and Georgia Hatzis

Edited by Finn Darby and Jamie Bowen Musical Adaptation by Guy and Jonno Roberts

Directed by Dean Cornish

Produced by Rosie Carnahan-Darby for Darbmeister Films


Contradictions and confusion still undermining confidence

April 14, 2020

A good news story of a wedding under lockdown has highlighted the confusion and contradictions over what is an isn’t essential:

A furore has erupted among the country’s wedding celebrants after a North Shore couple were allowed to tie the knot at their home despite the nationwide lockdown.

Jeff Montgomery, the Registrar-General for Births, Deaths and Marriages, is standing by his decision to let the couple go ahead with their special day, sending an email to all celebrants today stating it is up to them and their clients if they decide to get married during the 4-week lockdown period. . . 

But the Registrar-General emailed celebrants later saying it wasn’t up to him to decide if weddings should go ahead or not.

Weddings have occurred recently, for example when one of the couple is about to pass away, or because of religious requirements.

“It is up to the couple and the celebrant to consider how essential the wedding is and to work within the level 4 rules”.

“It is not the role of the Registrar-General to make decisions about whether or not a ceremony occurs. ‘Permission’ or ‘exemptions’ are not something that I have authority to issue and I do not make judgments on what services may or may not be essential.

“My role is to issue licences where the couple meet the requirements, to register celebrants who are expected to abide by the law, and to register relationships that have been legally solemnised,” he wrote.

That’s quite clear, so who can make decisions about whether or not a ceremony occurs?

In today’s briefing with media, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said weddings could go ahead as long as they abided by social distancing rules.

That seems clear, but what does the Covid-19 website say?

All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed.

This does not include workplaces of people undertaking essential businesses.

If a wedding celebrant was running an essential business that might be okay but:

These requirements apply to family and social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, tangi or weddings. These gatherings can not go ahead.

We are asking you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

So there we have it – the Registrar-General quite rightly says it’s not up to him to say if a wedding is essential.

The DG of Health says weddings could take place as long as people obeyed social distancing rules.

But the COvid-19 website says weddings can’t take place.

The confusion and contradictions over this provide more grounds for having the guiding rule for what can take place under Level 4 lockdown what’s safe rather than what’s essential.

Providing everyone involved took the proper precautions to maintain social distance and either wash their hands or use sanitiser before and after touching the pen and paper work, it ought to be safe to have a wedding with just the couple, two witnesses who were already in their bubble and a celebrant.

But under the Level 4 rules no weddings are supposed to be taking place.

Changing to safety as the guide rather than essential would not only allow very small wedding ceremonies to take place, it would allow a lot more small businesses to open again.

That could save jobs, and businesses, take pressure over businesses like supermarkets that are open, and get rid of the confusion and contradictions over what is and isn’t essential.


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