Word of the day


Schlockmeister – a purveyor of cheap, inferior or trashy goods; junk dealer;  a writer, filmmaker, etc. who produces kitsch.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Kiwi lamb in limelight – Annette Scott:

Changing consumer demand in China has opened an opportunity for New Zealand lamb to take centre stage.

In a move to encourage online sales of NZ lamb in China, Beef + Lamb and Alliance have joined forces to launch a digital campaign aimed at leveraging the new consumer behaviour.  

The e-campaign is focused on driving online red meat sales as Chinese consumers seek out healthier food options in the wake of covid-19.   

“Alliance and B+LNZ are co-investing in the initiative to drive the awareness of NZ’s healthy and natural grass-fed lamb but ultimately to drive sales,” B+LNZ market development general manager Nick Beeby said. . . 

Wallaby curse – Farmer refuses to be caught on the hop – Sally Brooker:

Wallabies have been marketed as a cute local attraction in Waimate, but farmers curse the day they crossed the Ditch.

The problems began soon after Bennett’s wallabies from Tasmania were taken to The Hunters Hills in the Waimate District in 1874 for recreational hunting.

Their population boom led to damaged farm pasture, crops and fencing, and native bush and forestry plantings.

A 2017 Ministry for Primary Industries report predicted the cost to the economy of not controlling wallabies in the South Island could be $67million within 10 years.

Anecdotal reports say the numbers are increasing again in the Waimate area. Many farmers are upset about it, but few would go on the record.

Walter Cameron had no such qualms. He has been dealing with wallabies at his family’s 3900ha Wainui Station, near Hakataramea, for most of his life and knows how to keep them in check.  . . 

High paying environmental jobs not realistic:

The Government’s $1.1 billion idea of redeploying people into environmental jobs is great in concept but difficult to turn into reality, National’s Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“It’s a struggle to get Kiwis to take well-paying jobs in the horticulture or farming sector, so convincing people to become rat-catchers and possum-trackers in the numbers the Government is hoping for will be an enormous challenge.

“It’s all very well allocating the funding, but there’s no detail on how the job numbers will be achieved and this Government has a poor track record of delivering on their big policies.

“The $1.1 billion for 11,000 jobs means they’ve allocated $100,000 per job. There is no detail about how much of this is going to workers on the ground doing the environmental work and how much of this is going to added bureaucracy in Wellington offices. . . 

Training our rural doctors – Ross Nolly:

Attracting general practitioners to work in small rural areas has been challenging at times, which has led people to delay seeking medical care. Ross Nolly caught up with one Taranaki rural GP who says there are a lot of benefits to working in small communities.

In recent years finding doctors willing to work in rural general practices and rural hospitals has been difficult.

The Rural Hospital Medicine Training Programme is a subset of the Royal New Zealand GP College. It’s a relatively new programme and its aim is to give doctors an experience of rural hospital medicine. 

The programme has been operating at Hawera Hospital in South Taranaki for three years and shares some elements with general practice with many doctors practising rural GP and rural hospital medicine simultaneously. . . 

The power of community – James Barron:

Chairman of Fonterra Shareholders Council, James Barron on Fonterra, COVID-19, and the importance of community.

He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together. It’s a phrase that seems to be coming up a lot lately, and it reminds me how powerful community can be.

For wider New Zealand, the challenges brought about by COVID-19 have been significant.

But they have also presented some unexpected opportunities – to rediscover community spirit, spend quality time with our families, and do what’s best for the greater good. . . 

Tree planting is not a simple solution – Karen D. Ho and Pedro H. S. Brancalion:

A plethora of articles suggest that tree planting can overcome a host of environmental problems, including climate change, water shortages, and the sixth mass extinction (13). Business leaders and politicians have jumped on the tree-planting bandwagon, and numerous nonprofit organizations and governments worldwide have started initiatives to plant billions or even trillions of trees for a host of social, ecological, and aesthetic reasons. Well-planned tree-planting projects are an important component of global efforts to improve ecological and human well-being. But tree planting becomes problematic when it is promoted as a simple, silver bullet solution and overshadows other actions that have greater potential for addressing the drivers of specific environmental problems, such as taking bold and rapid steps to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. . . 

Kindness with other people’s money


The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ‘actively considering’ more public holidays in an attempt to boost domestic tourism.

What planet is she on even contemplating this absurd tax on the economy?

Additional statutory holidays would serve as a regulatory tax on business, suppressing economic recovery, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The Prime Minister should not be ‘actively considering‘ additional public holidays. Forcing businesses to close, or fork out for time and half plus a day in lieu, will only serve to whack them again. And there’s no guarantee New Zealanders will actually use a statutory holiday to engage in tourism.”

“More broadly, shutting down the economy is an absurd response to an economic crisis. We should be encouraging all New Zealanders back to work, not forcing them to take a day off for the sake of one sector.”

“A better way to support domestic tourism would be to cancel this year’s fuel tax hike, or even cut the tax rate. Make the Kiwi road trip great again.”

We already have four week’s annual leave and 11 statutory holidays.

That’s six working weeks and a day each worker is away, without any sick or bereavement leave.

A business with six staff is paying the equivalent of a staff member who didn’t work for just over half the year.

Adding another day’s holiday won’t necessarily help tourism businesses either. I can’t remember the last time I did anything remotely touristy on a public holiday and tourism businesses that operate on the holiday will not only have to pay staff holiday rates, they’ll have to give them another day off in lieu of the holiday they work.

New Zealand already has a big problem with low productivity, adding an extra day’s holiday would compound that.

It’s easy to be kind with other people’s money. This mad idea wouldn’t quite be killing the economy with kindness but it would do it more harm than good and add yet another hurdle on the road to recovery.

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