Word of the day


Quarterpace – a staircase landing where the stair turns at a right angle; resting place or landing where two flights of stairs converge at right angles to each other in a quarter turn.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Workforce gap will hobble spring/summer production – Feds:

Tens of millions of dollars’ worth of farm production and the jobs of other workers are at risk if the government continues to dither on allowing a limited number of skilled agricultural machinery operators into New Zealand.

“Federated Farmers has been working with Rural Contractors NZ on this issue for several months,” Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.
“It has almost gone past critical now because we’re on the cusp of Spring activity and we need to get these seasonal workers on flights and into quarantine for two weeks.”

Exemptions have been allowed for workers laying synthetic tracks for horse racing, for the movie industry, and others. . . 

‘High $20/hour’ jobs available, but where are the workers? – Esther Taunton:

Southland’s Waipounamu Contracting is in dire need of people to drive its tractors and heavy machinery.

Human resources manager Emily Hawker said the company usually employed 15 to 20 workers from the United Kingdom and Ireland for the busy harvest period from November to March.

But with the borders closed to all but the most essential workers due to coronavirus, Waipounamu is scrambling to find Kiwis to fill the roles.

In a normal year, the business has room for two or three inexperienced employees but this year there could be up to 15 inexperienced operators, a “recipe for disaster”, Hawker said. . . 

Can strong wool find a new El Dorado? – Keith Woodford:

There are opportunities for strong wool based on quality and sustainability but it needs action plus applied R&D rather than more reports

There was a time when strong wool was used widely for garments. That included woollen underwear, woollen shirts, woollen jerseys and woollen jackets.  Apart from the fine wool produced by Merino sheep, those markets have largely been swept aside by synthetics.

There was also a time when carpets were predominantly of the woollen type. Then some lower cost but inferior synthetic carpets came along. And then some superior synthetic but still lower cost carpets came along. As with garments, the strong wool carpets have been largely swept aside. Strong wool carpets do still exist, but they are now a niche. . . 

Holding out for a better future – George Clark:

Timaru’s last large-scale wool merchant still holds hope for a strong future.

Terry Mulcahy, who died in 2013, started Mulcahy Wool and Skins in 1948.

His son, Barry, took over the business in 1985 and has remained in the wool industry ever since.

The company handles slightly more than 7500 bales a year, ranging from coarse crossbred to fine merino.

Mr Mulcahy has seen it all, from the height of the wool boom to this month’s market lows. . . 

From uncertainty to business owner – George Clark:

It is a yarn borne out of Covid-19.

With the tourism industry facing economic uncertainty, Canadian expat Kate Jones believed it was the right time for financial diversification.

At the beginning of June, Ms Jones was working a reduced and subsidised 20 hours a week for Mt Cook tourism company Alpine Guides while continuing plans for life on a Mackenzie lifestyle block.

Bought last year, the 4ha property just outside Twizel would become home to herself and Kiwi partner Chris Mackie. . . 

Another bumper year ahead?  – Sudesh Kissun:

Avocado growers are looking forward to another bumper year despite the global economic uncertainty.

NZ Avocado says the 2020-21 season crop is “looking very good on the trees”, with an expected 10-15% increase in volumes.

Last season, avocado growers received $154 million for their crop, a $10m increase over the previous season.

Exports rose 26% to 3.8m 5.5kg trays. Asian markets including Thailand, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan received 35% more volume, meeting the industry’s objective to grow volume to the region. . .


Why weren’t they ready?


Messages preparing us for a return of community transmission of Covid-19 have been ramping up for at least a couple of weeks.

If we were supposed to be ready, the government and health officials should have been too.

Queues of up to seven hours for testing show they weren’t.

A woman and her nine-month-old baby waited over seven hours at a coronavirus testing station on Auckland’s North Shore. . . 

But cars began queueing at the College Rd station in Northcote before it opened at 9am – Katie Wahlman had to inch forward in the queue while breastfeeding her infant.

”We were advised to get tested by Healthline but many people have turned around and left due to the wait,” Whalman told Stuff. 

GPs aren’t testing so it’s a bottleneck here and there could be cases that are slipping through the cracks as this was not prepared for the turnout today. This is terrible.”

Christiaan Van nie Kerk waited over seven hours to be tested and urged organisers to arrange for better traffic management or add another testing site in the north Auckland. . . 

Short waits are acceptable, long ones are not, especially for people who aren’t feeling well.

The number of people wanting tests a few months ago should have prompted the Ministry of Health to be prepared for big numbers when news of community transmission broke.

This isn’t the only problem – there’s already a shortage of masks:

Is this going to be a repeat of the flu vaccine debacle when the PM and MOH kept telling us there were plenty when health professionals said there weren’t, and the latter have been proved right?

The latest lack of preparedness doesn’t give confidence that everything that could be done is being done.

The government keeps telling us the health response is their first priority. If that’s the case why weren’t they prepared for people wanting testing once community transmission was uncovered, especially when they were warning us it was inevitable?

Why aren’t there enough masks?

First time round they might have got away with the excuse of no rule book. That won’t work this time. They have had months to not only write the rules but ensure they’ve got everything in place to follow them.

If they can’t manage to cope with people wanting tests, how can we have confidence they’re  coping with anything else?

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