Word of the day


Hythe – a landing place, especially on a river; a harbour or small port for ships or boats; a small haven.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Govt accused of ‘greenwashing’ over failure to use Kiwi wool in public buildings – James Fyfe:

Pressure in the farming sector is growing for New Zealand wool products to be used in public-funded buildings and KiwiBuild homes.

Last week Otago farmer Amy Blaikie launched a petition demanding action on the issue, with thousands of people already adding their signatures. 

Wool prices are currently at a record low, with the costs of shearing the wool being higher than what farmers earn by selling it. Blaikie says the situation is “disheartening”.

“If nothing is done to help, inspire or spur the wool industry then the future looks bleak,” Blaikie told Newshub. . . 

Farming in a fishbowl – Sonita Chandar:

Just a 10-minute drive from Auckland’s bustling Queen Street lies a farm where our future farmers are being taught. Sonita Chandar reports.

It’s not easy being a farmer at the best of times but when you are surrounded by townies who just have to look over their back fences to see what you’re up to it is even more important to get it right.

Peter Brice is the farm manager at the ASB Mt Albert Grammar School (MAGS) Farm in the middle of Auckland city. 

Its 8.1 hectares milks fewer than 10 cows, has seven chickens, 21 Suffolk ewes, a Gold kiwifruit orchard and a native tree nursery. . . 

Small dams floated after scrapped Ruataniwha project – Anusha Bradley:

Potential locations for several small dams are being investigated by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

The decision was made by the council’s environment committee today and was being hailed as an important step in securing a long-term supply of fresh water for the drought-prone region.

“Water security is critical to the social, economic and environmental future of the region,” Regional Council Chair Rex Graham said.

“We want to take the ambitious approach and accelerate this work to future proof our water supply in Heretaunga. This will allow for cities and businesses to grow, despite the challenges of climate change,” he said. . . 

New recruits learn to drive tractors after losing jobs in pandemic– John McKenzie:

Four very large wheels, a ton of horsepower and a new career on the farm.

Run at Telford in South Otago, 120 people have signed up for the six-week course.

Most of them recently lost their jobs as airline pilots, jet boat operators, vets, pharmacists and tour guides among others. . .

Finishing line in sight for Extension 350 farmers:

Northland Inc’s award-winning Extension 350 celebrated a significant milestone this week as the project’s first three clusters approached the completion of their three-year journey of change, development, and opportunity.

Farmer-led and farmer-focused, Extension 350 (E350) kicked off in 2016 with the intention of getting a total of 350 farmers involved across Northland over a five-year programme.

The initiative aims to assist farmers in achieving their goals and objectives – profitability, environmental sustainability and wellbeing – through rigorous analysis and benchmarking, the sharing of information with their peers, and regular input from mentors, consultants and the E350 project team.

“The finishing line is now in sight for those first 15 farms and their journeys are almost done,” said Luke Beehre, Project Lead for E350. “The programme is all about providing a network for farmers, a place to share their stories and experiences, and to enable positive things to happen in their businesses and their home lives. . . 


Legalising marijuana- environmental negatives?:

There are many groups within NZ including the Green Party that are calling for the legalisation of marijuana for personal/medicinal use and my question for them is: – How can they reconcile that stand with the negative environmental effects from cannabis cultivation?

No matter where you sit on its legalization, growing marijuana affects our environment and that can be in a negative way.

Growing marijuana indoors requires copious electricity through the use of high-intensity lamps, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and much more. In order to grow it outside, streams become sponges, being sucked dry as seen in the outdoor grow-ops in California. . . 

Are You Bogged Mate?


Warning: this video has references to suicide.

The stigma around talking about mental health is proving deadly in rural australia – particularly with young men.

Mary O’Brien is the powerhouse behind Are you bogged mate?, and she’s making change where it matters. 

If you need help in New Zealand:

Rural Support Trust : Contact us any time. Call 0800 RURAL HELP

Contacts for local Rural Support Trusts are here.

More information and other contacts:

For counselling and support

For children and young people

For help with specific issues

For families, whānau, friends and supporters

  • Skylight – 0800 299 100
    (for support through trauma, loss and grief; 9 am to 5 pm weekdays)
  • Supporting Families In Mental Illness – 0800 732 825
    (for families and whānau supporting a loved one who has a mental illness)
  • Common Ground – a central hub providing parents, family, whānau and friends with access to information, tools and support to help a young person who’s struggling
  • Mental Health Foundation – for more information about supporting someone in distress, looking after your mental health and working towards recovery


Where are the savings?


When the milk payout plummeted a few years ago we did what every sensible business did – looked at every single item of expenditure in our budget, worked out what was and wasn’t necessary and adjusted it accordingly.

Anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary was removed, anything that was necessary was looked at carefully to see if we could find a way of reducing its cost.

The Key government took a similar approach with its budgeting during the GFC – requiring savings wherever possible while maintaining essential services.

Where is this government making savings?

The country is facing a far bleaker outlook than we did during the GFC but has yet to mention anything about making cutting costs to reduce the amount of borrowing it is doing.

Most councils have reduced the forecast rates rises, some impsing no increase at all but there is no sign that central government is planning to follow that good example from local government and re-examine its budget to reduce the burden of debt that will dog the country for many, many years.

Hardly a day goes by we don’t get media releases telling of government giving money to at least one project or initiative.

A responsible and caring government would put at least as much effort into saving money as it does to spending it.

There is a good case for spending during a recession, as the Key government did to take the hardest edges off the impact on the most vulnerable. But that spending was carefully targeted and the burden of debt was reduced by a concentration on making savings in other areas at the same time.

If the necessity of doing that has occured to this government it’s been very quiet about it but I doubt that it has even crossed its mind.

An administration that has failed to deliver on its big promises, threw money at ill-thought out policies as varied as fees-free tertiary education for all and good looking horses, is one that pays far more attention to the amount it spends than the value.

It has failed to differentiate between the quantity and the quality of its spend, between must-haves, to grasp the necessity of restricting itself to must-haves rather than nice-to-haves and to deliver on its promises when it was in surplus.

It doesn’t have the wit or the will to spend wisely and make savings where it can and must. We can’t afford another three years of that.

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