Word of the day


Lugubrious – looking or sounding sad and dismal; mournful or gloomy, especially in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Meating needs of hungry Kiwis:

Two farmers have stepped up to help the growing number of families affected by food poverty.

Meat the Need is a new charity set up by Siobhan O’Malley and Wayne Langford to provide a way for farmers to give livestock to food banks and city missions.

The livestock is processed by Silver Fern Farms where it is turned it into mince and distributed to charity groups.

O’Malley said it is not quite right that farmers can feed millions of people overseas but there are still people hungry in New Zealand.  . .

Fonterra chairman’s milk price caution – Sudesh Kissun:

Fonterra farmers are being told to brace for a lower farm gate milk price next season.

In an email to farmer shareholders last night, Fonterra chairman John Monaghan pointed out that milk production in key markets around the world is up.

This could affect global supply/demand balance that supported “solid” milk price this season.

Fonterra is forecasting a milk price range of $7 to $7.60/kgMS this season. It will announce the opening forecast for the 2020-21 season late May. . . 

Essential food processors take massive wage subsidies – Brent Melville:

Primary food processors deemed essential under government’s lockdown restrictions, have received wage subsidies totalling about $90 million.

The Ministry of Social Development’s online tool, developed to promote transparency of payments under the scheme, shows that the two major meat companies account for a combined $77.7 million.

Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group have been paid subsidies of $43.3 million and $34.4 million respectively to supplement wages for a combined 11,000 workers. . .

NZ Food processing sector’s key role in NZ’s post Covid-19 recovery :

NZ’s processed food sector is well placed to support New Zealand’s economic and social recovery from the global COVID-19 crisis, according to the head of food science and innovation hub, FoodHQ.

FoodHQ CEO, Dr Abby Thompson says under Level 4 there has been unprecedented examples of collaboration and innovation in the NZ food industry, in order to overcome the obstacles of lockdown at home and abroad.

“The level of activity and enthusiasm that companies, scientists and entrepreneurs have applied to the problem of processing and supplying food has been outstanding.” . .

Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards champions named:

At a time when kiwis are rediscovering home cookery, the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards is delighted to announce its 2020 Champions – the best of the country’s locally grown and made food and drink products.

Organic farmers, Bostock Brothers, were named Supreme Champion for theirOrganic Whole Chicken. Hawke’s Bay brothers Ben and George Bostock have their chickens roam free on their parents former apple orchard. They pride themselves on letting their chickens grow naturally, feeding them home-grown organic maize and giving them longer, happier lives. As well as how they grow their chooks it’s what they don’t do which adds to flavour. Bostock’s chicken is free of chemicals and antibiotics and when it comes to processing their product does not receive chlorine baths. The judges raved about the product saying, ‘Outstanding flavour, succulent and delicious.’ .  .

Dairy farmers to cast milk solids levy vote:

Dairy farmers are encouraged to have their say in the milksolids levy vote 2020, which is now open for voting. It is a one-in-six year vote for industry good organisation, DairyNZ.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel said the milksolids levy funds industry good activities through DairyNZ which delivers dairy sector research, development, advocacy and expertise.

“The milksolids levy has been part of New Zealand dairy farming for 17 years. Its roots are in funding work that enables farmers to continue thriving in an ever-changing world. With the challenges of COVID-19, the changing nature of farming has never been more real,” said Mr van der Poel. . .

Blue chip East Coast station placed on the market for sale:

The rare opportunity to purchase an iconic, high-performing East Coast station is drawing strong interest from farmers and investors throughout New Zealand.

Mangaheia Station near Tolaga Bay is on the market for the first time in many years, offering a unique opportunity for buyers to tap into on-going strong returns anticipated from the red meat market in a prime winter growing location.

Simon Bousfield, Bayleys Gisborne agent says Mangaheia’s uniqueness is due as much to its scale as to the strong level of investment the property has enjoyed in recent years. . . 

DIY face mask


When fine motor skills were distributed I was somewhere else.

The thought of getting out a sewing machine increases my blood pressure.

I can so relate to this.

Simon said


Simon Bridges posted his view on the government’s decision to extend the lockdown at level 4 that has unleashed a lot of criticism.

A union and doctors are saying similar things but they’re not getting the same media pile-on.

Could it be, as Heather du Plessis-Allan said yesterday, it’s not what he said but that Simon said it?

Here’s what he said:

The decision for New Zealand to stay locked down in Level 4 shows the Government hasn’t done the groundwork required to have us ready.

The public has done a great job of self-isolating and social distancing. The entire country has made huge sacrifices to ensure the four week lockdown was effective.

Unfortunately the Government hasn’t done enough and isn’t ready by its own standards and rhetoric.

New Zealand is being held back because the Government has not used this time to ensure best practice of testing and tracing and the availability of PPE hasn’t been at the standard it should have been.

The PSA is still saying that PPE distributions for health workers has been unreliable and uneven.

. . . “We have repeatedly been promised PPE. Our members have repeatedly been told the DHBs and the Ministry of Health will keep them safe. These promises have repeatedly been broken,” says Melissa Woolley, Assistant National Secretary of the PSA.

“At least 128 health workers have been infected with Covid-19 so far, and we know for a fact that thousands of our members are working without reliable access to PPE. These tend to be workers in predominantly female industries, undervalued and underpaid for decades, and they have once again been forgotten about when it counts.” . .

Back to what Simon said:

The rate of testing for the first half of lockdown was low, work has only just begun on surveillance testing to confirm whether community transmission is occurring. Tracing is the biggest challenge and experts have identified major shortcomings in the methods being used by the Government.

All of that is factual.

This is a real shame as businesses will suffer further damage and that will lead to poor health outcomes as a result of the huge stress this will cause for a lot of people.

Rapid and easily accessible testing for workers with symptoms will be essential to give small businesses the confidence needed to get back to work.

I’m sure many Kiwis feel frustration that we still can’t do many things Australians have done through the entire lockdown period, at great cost in terms of jobs and livelihoods, with similar health outcomes.

The decision to be guided by the arbitrary notion of essential rather than safety has meant far fewer businesses were able to operate, far more are in danger of folding and far more jobs will be lost.

It’s no less safe to buy a novel online, for someone with their own tools to do an elderly person’s garden, for a sole operator to carry out his or her trade this week than it will be next week, but the level 4 rules prevent that and level 3 will allow it.

I now worry that the harm of staying in lockdown will be greater than if we were to come out. We will no doubt see a rise in mental health problems and stress related illnesses.

I also have real concerns about the delay in healthcare for some people, like cancer treatment, screening and thousands of operations across the country.

Poorer physical and mental health as a result of rising unemployment is also a fact.

Several doctors have raised concerns about the risks, and costs, of delayed diagnosis and treatment.

New Zealanders can be proud of the sacrifices they have made during this difficult time. The Government must now move as fast as it can to sort out the issues with tracing, testing and PPE so we can get our country moving again.

Simon is not alone in saying tracing needs improvement.

Dr Ayesha Verrall, who audited the national contact tracing system said the contact tracing system was only a third as good as it needed to be.

Dr Verrall told Nine to Noon the numbers were promising, but more still needed to be done to improve the system as case numbers dropped.

That so few people have died of Covid-19 and the number of cases is low and declining needs to be acknowledged but that doesn’t mean that no questions can be asked and no criticisms made on how that’s been achieved.

As an electorate MP, Simon will have had lots of constituents coming to him with problems caused by the lockdown. His MPs will have passed on issues raised by their constituents. He owes it to them, and all the others whose lives have been, and will continue to be, blighted by the government’s actions to criticise its policies and performance.

As Leader of the Opposition, Simon has not only the right, but the duty to question the government and point out shortcomings in its actions.

People have the right to argue about what he said, but it is wrong to criticise him for saying it.

This is New Zealand, not North Korea where no criticism of their dear leader is permitted.

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