Word of the day


Labour – work, especially physical work; work hard; make great effort; expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory; have difficulty in doing something despite working hard; a particular job or task, especially of a difficult nature; the amount of physical, mental, and social effort used to produce goods and services in an economy; the process or effort of childbirth or the time during which this takes place.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


GE bogged down by ambiguous rules – Richard Rennie:

Over a year after the Royal Society Te Aparangi report on genetic engineering called for an overhaul on regulations, New Zealand continues to lack a framework that can accommodate the rapidly advancing technology.

Dr David Penman, who was co-chair on the society’s investigating panel, told delegates at this year’s gene editing forum there was too much focus on the processes behind gene engineering (GE), rather than taking an outcome-based approach to what it could deliver.

“The regulation needs to be proportionate to the risk. For example, mutagenesis, using radiation to find gene mutations is not genetic engineering, but targeted gene editing is,” he said.

He says there also remained an enormous diversity of acts that scientists and researchers have to pick through when contemplating such technology.  . . 

Farmers must lead regen ag debate – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers risk having regenerative agriculture defined for them if they do not take ownership of the debate around its meaning.

Alpha Food Labs founder and co-chief executive Mike Lee says that could lead to an unfavourable definition forced on them and farmers losing control of the narrative.

Speaking at an NZX-Beef + Lamb NZ webinar on what regenerative agriculture meant for New Zealand, the US-based food strategist says the debate over what regenerative agriculture is must be a producer-led movement.

He says rather than thinking about the term, people should think about their mental framework around leaving the earth in a better way than when they got here. . . 

Tradie farmer living her dream – Cheyenne Nicholson:

A Waikato farmer is thriving on the challenge of a new dairying career alongside a successful lighting business. Cheyenne Nicholson reports.

OKOROIRE dairy farmer Laura Mitchell is all about tackling a challenge. And, growing a successful business during a pandemic is definitely that. Throw in a new career path in dairying and raising her three-year-old daughter Amber, and you could say Laura has her hands full.

The idea of being a farmer herself was never really on her radar despite always being drawn to the land and growing up on her parents dairy farm. At 16, she decided school wasn’t for her anymore and opted to leave and gain qualifications in a trade. . . 

Tales of the land girls shared at Maungati – Simon Edwards:

Among the crowd of more than 120 who travelled to Maungati, near Timaru, on Sunday to remember the World War II ‘land girls’ were two particularly special guests – Sadie Lietze (nee Stuart) and Daphne Attfield (nee Williams).

Now in their late 90s, the pair represented the last of the ranks of the New Zealand Women’s Land Service (WLS).  Like Joan Butland of Auckland, whose health didn’t permit her to make the trip south, they were among the more than 2,700 young women aged 17 to their early 20s – many of them from the cities – who in the 1940s kept farms and orchards going when men were called up to fight.  Their efforts were crucial in an era when New Zealand was still the offshore farm of Britain and locals as well as tens of thousands of American servicemen in the Pacific needed to be fed. . . 

Made with Care: Great cheese needs great milk:

With one and a half decades of experience in cheese making, Cathy Lang knows her stuff when it comes to cheese and is excited to be involved in NZ Trade and Enterprise’s international “Made with Care” campaign.

The campaign is designed to grow awareness, preference and demand for New Zealand food and beverage products by demonstrating the care we take when we produce them.

Now more than ever, amid a global health pandemic, consumers are looking for safe, nutritious and premium quality food and beverage that is ethically produced and tastes good too. New Zealand’s combination of exceptional natural resources and experienced food producers, like Cathy, sets us apart and perfectly positions us to meet the needs of consumers. . . 

Can cattle grazing be good for the environment? – Eric Tegethoff:

 The ancient plains of Montana once hosted herds of animals that grazed the land. Now, cattle and other domesticated animals do that work.

According to former environmental lawyer and author Nicolette Hahn Niman, the planet actually is grazed far less than it used to be. Her book “Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production” explores the benefits of raising cattle and the positive effects it can have on the land – when it’s done correctly.

“Rather than so much attention being paid to the negative impacts of cattle when they’re poorly managed,” she said, “we should be focusing on the tremendous benefits of well-managed grazing.”

Cattle ranching has been criticized by some as contributing to climate change. However, Hahn Niman said, well-managed grazing can improve soil health and even help sequester carbon dioxide. She said it also can help keep water in the soil. . . 

Yes Sir Humphrey


Focus on quality reduce quantity


The IMF is forecasting a gloomy outlook for New Zealand:

Fresh numbers show the Labour-led administration was a big spender even before Covid-19 and New Zealand incomes overall in 2025 might be less than in 2019. . .

The government inherited forecasts of healthy surpluses and squandered them, before Covid-19 struck.

The IMF also forecasts that New Zealand’s real GDP per capita in 2025 will still be lower than in 2019. Only four “advanced economies” have the same dire outlook. By comparison, Japan hovers near the median with a 3.9 per cent increase while Australia is projected to be up by 2.7 per cent.

In 2019, 25 of the 39 IMF’s “advanced economies” had higher average incomes per capita than New Zealand. By 2025 it will be 32 countries. Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are now much more prosperous than New Zealand. Even the Irish now have more than twice New Zealand’s per capita income.

What does this mean for Kiwis? It will be harder to afford what other countries can. It also means that Kiwis’ standard of living depends greatly on the quality of government spending. . .

This isn’t just numbers, it is what we can, or can’t, afford to spend on education, health, welfare, infrastructure and all other services the government provides.

When Bill English was Finance Minister he focused on the quality of spending rather than the amount. For the last three years the government has spent a lot more with little if any concern for the effectiveness of the spending.

What can be said about the quality of all that government spending?

Unfortunately, rigorous assessments of value for money in government spending are rare. What is not measured and is difficult is unlikely to be achieved. The Provincial Growth Fund was a particular disgrace but whimsical promises to plant a billion trees or build 100,000 houses without proper justification illustrate the genre. . .

The PGF and billion trees were New Zealand First’s policies and that party is, thankfully, no longer in parliament. But KiwiBuild was a Labour policy. That it was an expensive failure is no guarantee that we’ll be safe from ill-considered mistakes like that in this term.

When all the money being spent is being borrowed it is even more important to focus on the quality of spending and wherever possible reduce the quantity.

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