Chain of incompetence

25/08/2020

This would be funny if it wasn’t so near the truth:


Word of the day

25/08/2020

Dissonance – lack of harmony among musical notes;  a combination of sounds or musical notes that are not pleasant when heard together; harsh, inharmonious noise; cacophony; lack of agreement or harmony between people or things; inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions and one’s beliefs.


Sowell says

25/08/2020


Rural round-up

25/08/2020

Group to prioritise staff shortages – Yvonne O’Hara:

Addressing the shortage of primary sector staff in Southland will be one of the key roles for the new Southern Primary Sector Workforce Action Group (SPSWAG) co-ordinator.

The job will include matching jobseekers with employers in addition to establishing a regionally focused database of jobs and implementing a pastoral support programme.

Federated Farmers’ Southland provincial vice-president Bernadette Hunt said the group, which was launched in June last year, had received several “very good quality applications” for the one-year-contract position and they were now deciding on a shortlist of applicants to interview. . . 

Covid 19 coronavirus: Sir David Fagan on how the pandemic is affecting Kiwi shearers – Matthew Mckew:

Covid-19 restrictions mean there’s no shortage of shearers at the moment, but Sir David Fagan sees trouble ahead for the industry.

The reason there were plenty of Kiwi shearers about right now was that they can’t travel anywhere, the world champion told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.

“We’re not getting New Zealanders going back to Australia for the season. So they’re here now shearing. I guess the winter time shearing’s pretty good for the workforce.” . . 

Dairy Trainee of the Year takes the reins on Fairlie farm :

Even though Nicola Blowey’s parents sold their dairy farm in Devon just before she was born, farming has remained in her veins. After studying agriculture in the UK she came to South Canterbury to work on a dairy farm.

It was meant to be for 12 months but four years on she’s still here and rising up the industry ranks. Last year the 26-year-old won the Dairy Trainee of the Year title in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards. She then took up a farm manager position on one of Kieran and Leonie Guiney’s dairy farms near Fairlie.

Nicola now has three staff and a large herd of KiwiCross cows to look after. She’s loving the increased responsibility. . . 

 Velvet trumps venison – Sally Rae:

It is a tale of two halves in the deer industry as venison schedule prices drop to their lowest level in more than a decade while consumer demand for velvet remains robust.

ANZ’s latest Agri Focus report said venison markets were “extremely challenging”; venison was highly exposed to the European restaurant trade and the industry was scrambling to move more products into the retail space to reduce reliance on the food service sector.

Farmgate prices for deer might have “ticked up a tad” recently but prices had not been at such low levels for more than a decade.

“It is a real blow for an industry that was doing so well and had appeared to have moved away from the volatile cycles of boom and bust that have long plagued the industry,” the report said. . . 

Why Synlait has nothing to fear from a2 Milk’s foray into infant formula – Jamie Gray:

A2 Milk will soon try its hand at infant formula making if it is successful in buying the debt-laden Mataura Valley Milk, but its supplier – Synlait Milk – has nothing to fear.

The dual-listed a2 Milk is in talks to buy three-quarters of the China-owned Mataura Valley Milk in Southland for $270 million.

A2 Milk has made a non-binding indicative offer to acquire a 75.1 per cent interest in Mataura Valley, based on an enterprise value of about $385m. . . 

Vegans urged to switch to cow milk instead of soya to save the planet – Rob Waugh:

Vegans should avoid soya milk if they want to save the planet, and even consider drinking cows’ milk instead, a sustainability charity has said.

The Sustainable Food Trust said that soya beans are associated with rainforest destruction, and that soya meal is also used in animal food, but that the amounts required to create soya milk meant that cow’s milk is healthier for the planet.

Researchers from the Sustainable Food Trust and the University of Nottingham calculated the amounts of soya used in both soya milk and cows’ milk in a new review of evidence.

The charity wrote: “Vegans and others who buy milk substitutes made from soya are also harming the planet. . .


Must learn from mistakes

25/08/2020

People criticising the criticism of the failures by the Government and its agencies are saying the critics should keep the failures in perspective.

They justify that by comparing New Zealand’s record on Covid-19 to that of other countries.

Fair enough, in raw numbers and per head of population our infection and death rates are low.

But that doesn’t excuse the failures that have been exposed, especially those we’ve learned of since the Auckland cluster was discovered.

Bryce Edwards, who no-one could accuse of being right wing, asks how serious are the government’s botch-ups?

Of course, there are good reasons to take the border botch-ups extremely seriously. After all, we have known from the start of this pandemic that the country’s borders need to be adequately managed if New Zealand is to achieve our objective of eliminating the virus. What’s more, the revelations of the last week point to more than simply “hiccups”, but serious dysfunction in the way the political system is supposed to work, with what some believe to be deliberate attempts to deceive the public over its failings.

As debate about the botch-ups has progressed, it seems likely that failures of Covid testing have led to the current lockdown. The testing botch-ups topic is, therefore, one of vital importance, especially if the country is going to learn from the failures and correct them. . . 

The government and Health Ministry didn’t learn from mistakes made in the initial lockdown which makes it even more important to learn from the latest ones.

Given the importance of the borders, and making sure that those coming into the country don’t cause community transmission, the Government has been making promises for the last two months that every worker employed in relation to the border would be routinely tested. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, and the Director-General of Health have continued to reassure the public that such testing was being carried out.

Edwards quotes from several reports highlighting failures then asks should there be an inquiry into what has happened?

Various commentators and epidemiologists have been arguing for this to occur for some time. Although the Government continues to argue against deploying resources for such scrutiny while the crisis is still on, some experts say the need is all the greater to learn the lessons as soon as possible.

For example, University of Otago public health experts Nick Wilson and Michael Baker are reportedly both in favour of early inquiries: “the Government wasted the 100 days New Zealand was free of community transmission. They say any inquiry could offer advice to officials every few months, guiding the response to any future outbreaks” – see: Ben Strang’s Government urged to launch inquiry into its pandemic response.

According to this article, these epidemiologists believe “officials sat back and basked in New Zealand’s relative success during past pandemics, which meant systems and plans were not reviewed to an adequate standard.” . . .

National leader Judith Collins goes further, calling for a public health summit.

Judith Collins says that, as Prime Minister, she will convene a Public Health Summit to review lockdown levels and discuss other public health measures that avoid future lockdowns.

“We need to work out how our economy can flourish when it’s clear Covid-19 will be with us for some time,” Ms Collins says. “It is clear that the levels system needs to be reviewed in light of our experience, with a wide range of perspectives in the room.

“National’s border policy with a single protection agency and greater testing and contact tracing abilities is one step to ensuring the Kiwis remain safe from Covid-19, but if there are future threats as a country, we need certainty and transparency over what the process is if future outbreaks occur.

“We need to balance the social and economic costs, while ensuring the best possible health response.

“As Prime Minister I will convene an immediate Public Health Summit that would bring all aspects of our community together, from public health specialists, primary care teams, iwi leadership, Business New Zealand, manufacturing and the unions, so we can all agree on what’s best practice for the country.

“While we’re committed to the elimination approach, the Summit’s reviews of the levels will give us the best chance of recovering the jobs lost and preventing further loss.

“What’s clear is that Covid-19 is going to be with us for some time. We need to find the best ways of ensuring that we continue to eliminate this disease.

The health response can’t be divorced from the economic, social and other health consequences of the lockdown.

Covid-19 will be around for many months, possibly years. We can’t afford to have a repeat of any of the mistakes made and the government and its agencies must not only learn from them, they must come up with a better strategy for dealing with any further outbreaks.

New Zealand wasn’t prepared for this pandemic and it has made too many mistakes in handling it.

A health summit might be the best way to learn from those mistakes and come up with a better strategy not just for this pandemic but any future ones.


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