Word of the day


Coprolalia – the involuntary and repetitive use of obscene language, as a symptom of mental illness or organic brain disease;  involuntary swearing or the involuntary utterance of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks; obsessive or uncontrollable use of obscene language.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Farmers surveyed on wildly inaccurate ‘low slope’ maps – Feds:

With the government already agreeing flawed aspects of new freshwater regulations will need to be changed, Federated Farmers is highlighting the case for a review of land deemed ‘low slope’ for the purposes of stock exclusion from waterways.

“We’re about to survey our members to get more specific information on where the Ministry for the Environment’s final low slope maps are wrong, so we can advocate for the best way forward,” Feds water spokesperson Chris Allen says.

“The low slope maps take in some hill and high country that is so steep, the farmers will need to pay for helicopters to lift poles and other supplies in order to fence off the waterways. . . 

Red meat sector issues pointers for politicians – Eric Frykberg:

The red meat sector has given political parties a sharp reminder of what they must do to maintain the industry’s economic strength, and say unbalanced climate change mitigation could threaten productive farmland.

The recommendations included not allowing fossil fuel users who emit carbon dioxide to get a free ride off the forestry sector and risk smothering farmland.

Another was to establish better water storage systems to prepare for dehydrated conditions made worse by climate change.

These and other comments are contained in a new publication, the New Zealand Red Meat Report. . . 

Light at the end of the long winding wool tunnel – Trevor Suthridge:

The trials and tribulations of the sheep wool industry have been well-aired over the years. Anyone who has taken an interest in the industry, specifically in crossbred wool, will know farmers are currently facing such low prices that it has been uneconomic in some cases to even shift the wool off their farms.

Therefore, right now it may be difficult for those involved in the industry to see light at the end of the tunnel. Yet as researchers with a long history of studying this special fibre, we still see reason to be optimistic about its long-term prospects.

The Wool Industry Project Action Group, which one of our Science Impact Leaders Andy Cooper sits on, recently delivered an important report that laid out these challenges and started an important conversation around matters of leadership, coordination, strategy and funding. . .

Strong wool sector gears collaborative and consumer focused :

A renewed focus on stimulating consumer-led innovation will be brought to the strong wool sector with the establishment of the Strong Wool Action Group.

The Strong Wool Action Group is a collaboration of representatives from across the primary sector who have come together to carry out the recommendations of the Wool Industry Project Action Group report, which was released in July this year.

The group’s Chair Rob Hewett said the group would lead change in the sector by bringing a broad range of skills and consumer focus to the challenges facing strong wool. . .

Research highlights lack of female leadership in horticulture industry:

Research commissioned by industry collective Women in Horticulture shows significant gender disparity amongst senior roles in New Zealand’s horticulture industry.

Despite women representing 50 percent of workers in the industry, the UMR study found women held less than 20 percent of leadership positions, with women missing from the top tables of many of our horticultural organisations.

A new website launched this week aims to tackle this imbalance by fostering an environment which will empower, value and support the thousands of women working in the horticulture industry across New Zealand. . . 

Marlborough wine industry to celebrate after hard slog during Covid

The wine industry reacted well to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is now keen to celebrate the wines that resulted from that period, Wine Marlborough says.

Strict lockdown rules struck at the start of this year’s harvest, requiring the industry to adapt rapidly to workforce requirements in order to get the fruit off the vines in time.

Entries open today for the 2020 Marlborough Wine Show.

The competition is the country’s largest regional wine show, and a chance to highlight all of Marlborough’s styles from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir, Rosé to Pinot Gris and Chardonnay to Gewurztraminer, with special emphasis on sub regional diversity. . . 

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Carl Carrington to its board:

Carl was Chief Executive of Moana for six years, previously known as Aotearoa Fisheries. Moana has a major interest in Sealord which in turn owns 100% of Petuna, a Tasmanian salmon company.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Chairman Sir Bill English said he was “pleased to welcome Carl to our board at a time when like all other businesses we face new uncertainties.”

“Carl has deep knowledge of the seafood industry along with marketing experience in New Zealand and overseas,” he said. “He also has established relationships in markets where we export and he will provide a valuable strategic view for our board.” . . 

Last on National’s list


The Spinoff has a series of posts on the people who are last on their party’s list.

Some highlights from Shelley Pilkington who is 75th on National’s list:

Growing up, life was hard. I’d experienced hunger and homelessness and for a time been a ward of the state. When I left school I felt the pressure to work and support my family.

But one day, as a young adult, I realised that handing out money wasn’t achieving anything; I needed to leave home and take responsibility for my own future.

I went to live with my grandfather.  Grandad had faced a rough childhood too but had worked hard and done well, even receiving an MBE for his significant contribution to social work. He helped me to catch a vision for my future by teaching me about goal-setting, how to budget and save money, and encouraged me to further my education.

When it came time to vote, I asked my grandfather, “Who should I vote for?”

He said, “The National Party. They’ll back you.”

And that’s been my experience. . . 

I know that the values of personal responsibility, hard work and reward for effort are not just political ideology; they actually work.

But to achieve these things well, we also need strong families and caring communities – another key National Party value. We need to be surrounded by people who believe in us – like my grandad – who invest their time and attention to lift and encourage others to be everything they were meant to be; and to be supported by a government that gives people a hand up, not just a hand out. . . 

Despite the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, under a National-led government businesses will be inspired to grow, invest and employ more people. National’s plan is to generate more tax revenue by sharing in business growth instead of punishing success with additional tax. A growing economy will provide more money to payback debt, to spend on infrastructure, healthcare, education and a cleaner, greener environment – the things New Zealanders really want. . . 

At 75th on the list Shelley isn’t expecting to get into parliament this time but what an asset she is to the party now and will be to parliament in the future.



5-point plan for better Covid response


It’s taken six months for the government to make it mandatory for border staff to have regular tests for Covid-19.

The Government will require all border workers to take regular Covid-19 tests, or face a stiff fine, with a new order coming into effect at midnight on Sunday.

The order covers workers at air and maritime borders, as well as managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Refusing a test without “a reasonable excuse” makes such workers liable for fines of between $300 and $1000.

Healthcare workers are able to allow people to not get tested if they believe it would be inappropriate. . . 

Six months is a long time to do what ought to be done. It belies the government’s hard and early line.

The government has finally got where it should have been months ago but there is still room for improvement in other areas.

It shouldn’t take six months to act on that because National’s Health spokesman Dr Shane Reti has helpfully come up with a five-point plan for a better Covid response:

National has identified five ways in which the Government could immediately improve our response to Covid-19, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Labour’s failures at the border have brought on another wave of Covid-19, the consequences of which are costing New Zealanders jobs, businesses and livelihoods.

“National has developed a detailed border plan that will keep the virus at bay while allowing our economy to thrive. New Zealanders deserve this rather than the ad-hoc system that is currently in place.

“As well as this improved border plan, there are five practical steps the Government could be taking right now to keep New Zealanders safe:

  1. Re-test people for genomics within 24 hours of every positive case. Currently only 50 percent of samples have been genomically sequenced. Increasing this would help us identify linkages and the heritage of the virus.
  2. Require a negative Covid-19 test turn-around time of 48 hours. People have been using up all of their sick leave waiting days for negative results. It is important positive tests continue to be the priority and reported in 24 hours. But negative tests should be tightened up with a measurable target of 80 percent of negative tests reported in 48 hours.
  3. Require people who have been declined tests to be recorded in the National Contact Tracing Solution. It is important we have this information because we may have people who turn up for testing who’ve failed the case definition, but subsequently test positive. And if we know who they are then we can improve the case definition.
  4. Make day-three managed isolation testing compulsory. The sooner we identify positive cases who have crossed our border, the more effective and safe our response is.
  5. Improve the Covid-19 app so that it can display information as well. Currently the app can pull location information from what is being scanned, but it would be more effective if it could also share user information. This would make the contact tracing system much more efficient and effective as people could be identified quickly.

“We’re in the middle of a second spike of Covid-19 and we need to move quickly. I encourage the Government to consider these five proposals to raise our collective bar and protect us all.”

All of these look sensible and none appear to be difficult to implement.

The government should be open to all good ideas to improve the Covid response.

It must not let politics get in the way of constructive suggestions just because they come from the National Party and it must act a lot faster on these improvements than it did on mandatory testing for border staff.

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