Word of the day


Lacinate – having edges irregularly and finely slashed; jagged; fringed.

May the 4th . . .


Is this where I confess I’ve never watched any Star Wars films?

Such is the power of popularity, I do understand the reference though.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


An apple harvest no-one will ever forget – Nikki Mandow:

Apple growers have filled our fruit bowls and bolstered our export coffers, while harvesting a bumper crop and maintaining strict social distancing for their workforce. It’s been a nightmare.

Simon Easton sounds relaxed. The fourth-generation apple farmer grows 61 hectares of fruit outside Motueka with his brother. They are nearly at the end of this year’s harvest – a week more picking, a month more packing and they’re done.

Easy as. Not.

On a scale of one to 10, Easton reckons his stress levels this season have been up around 9.8. Particularly at the beginning of the pandemic. . .

Coronavirus: Alliance Group adapts to changing global markets -Louisa Steyl:

The rural sector is tipped to help Southland’s economy pull through the coronavirus lockdown. What does that mean for the Alliance Group? Louisa Steyl reports.

Being agile and responding to markets’ rapid changes both domestically and on a global scale will help some companies come through the downturn in the economy.

The Alliance Group, with processing plants in Dannevirke, Levin, Nelson, Oamaru, Timaru and its two Southland-based plants Lorneville and Mataura, has been affected during the lockdown.   . . 


Fish and Game review change to refocus:

The recently announced review into Fish and Game needs to ensure the organisation’s focus returns to working in the best interests of anglers and hunters, National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“Over recent years there has been tension between Fish and Game and farming groups that has contributed to a rural-urban divide.

“Many prized fishing and hunting spots are on privately owned farmland and there is a lot of goodwill between individual farmers and recreational hunters and anglers in negotiating access. . . 

Kiwis left scratching their heads as butter turns white – Esther Taunton:

Something’s happening to our butter.

Usually a deep yellow, it’s been getting progressively lighter and even farmers are puzzled by its now barely off-white hue.

In a recent tweet, Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford pointed out the change, comparing a block of Anchor butter to his “tan free legs.” . .

Act now, plan ahead – Colin Williscroft:

Hawke’s Bay farmers struggling through extended drought and increasing feed shortages are being told to act now and plan for winter.

It’s a message farmers in other parts of the country should heed as well, with feed shortages likely to be wide-ranging. 

The southern half of Hawke’s Bay is entering its seventh month of below-normal rainfall and there is no sign of the drought breaking. . .

Learning from Covid: How biosecurity lessons in Asia will help Australia :

As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, a consortium of Australian and New Zealand veterinary scientists has been established to train a new generation of ‘animal disease detectives’ in 11 countries across Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“A year after African swine fever wiped out more than a quarter of the global pig population and with more than 200,000 people dead from COVID-19, equipping veterinarians with the tools for disease outbreak investigation and surveillance has never been more important,” said program leader Associate Professor Navneet Dhand from the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity. . .

Communication cracks


After weeks of complaints from frontline health workers over access to flu vaccines, the government finally admits that not every New Zealand who wants one will be able to get one:

The Government is backing down over the flu vaccine, admitting for the first time there are issues in the supply chain.

After weeks of repeated denials, including from the Prime Minister and top health officials. The Associate Health Minister admits the Government is looking at improvements.

And as Julie-Ann Genter also concedes, stock numbers the Government have been using – as recently as yesterday, may not be entirely accurate.

For weeks Kiwis have been told there are plenty of vaccines. More doctors have come forward today saying that’s not true.

“There have been a number of occasions where we’ve had to turn people down, where that’s lead to a reaction from the public and the staff have had to wear that response and frankly, it’s simply not fair,” says Tim Malloy of the GP Owners Association.

As admission came just 24 hours after 1 NEWS revealed a leaked letter from the Ministry of Health showing a gap in distribution.

“I definitely think communication could have been better,” says Ms Genter. . .

Communication could have been better? Really?

How could that be when the media here and abroad keep telling us the Prime Minister is so very good at communication and it was she who told us, several times, there were plenty of vaccines?

Not only did she tell us there wasn’t a problem, she told us she didn’t accept the loud and repeated assertions from doctors and nurses that there were serious shortages.

The only problem with communication was that the PM and health officials weren’t listening to the people on the health frontline who were repeatedly telling them there was a problem.

The bigger problem wasn’t the communication cracks it was that fact there aren’t enough vaccines and that not all of us who want one will be able to get one.

This follows the very recent shortage of measles vaccines and doesn’t inspire confidence in the system and the people running it.

That at least some of them are also the ones advising and formulating policy over the response to Covid-19 makes matters worse.

Confidence in the system isn’t helped by news hospital staff and patients have been put at risk:

Urgent questions are now being asked about nursing protocols at Waitakere Hospital after 57 staff were stood down as Covid-19 risks.

Nurses are now asking why there were no protocols in place to prevent staff working with Covid-19 patients from also working with other patients, and why health and safety  recommendations to that effect were not accepted by management.

The 57 staff had all been in contact with three nurses who had already tested positive for Covid-19.

“That is a lot of staff, a lot of families and a lot of bubbles,” says Kerri Nuku from the NZ Nurses Organisation. “Patients are also very angry that the system they trusted to look after them has let them down.”

Newsroom understands those stood down from Waitakere are being regarded as probable cases – meaning they have returned an initial negative test but are treated as probably positive due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.

The nursing roster at Waitakere apparently allowed nursing staff to move between infected and non-infected patients in different wards. . . 

The whole country is locked down and a hospital had nurses moving between infected and non-infected patients?

Meanwhile, in Queenstown expectant mothers are having to use a street-side shower:

An expectant mother is “flummoxed” and furious she is expected to use an outside portable shower that barely works after she gives birth at a temporary maternity unit in Queenstown.

Helen Hodges, of Arrowtown, is due to give birth on May 5 and has changed her birthing plan to deliver somewhere that has suitable washing facilities after she discovered she was expected to use an outside shower set up outside a community dental clinic.

The clinic, opposite Lakes District Hospital, is being used as a temporary maternity birthing unit as part of the Southern District Health Board’s (SDHB) Covid-19 response. . . 

Surely with the decimation of tourism in the area there’s a hotel or motel that could provide something better?

Insufficient flu vaccines, inadequate health and safety protocols for staff working with infected patients and and sub-standard shower facilities are not problems a first world health system should have and it will take a lot more than communication to fix them.

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