Word of the day


Tantivy – a rapid gallop or ride; at full gallop; to ride tantivy; at full speed ; rapidly; a hunting cry.

Melbourne Cup picks


The lowest payout for a winner in the Melbourne Cup when I checked a few minutes ago was $7 which strikes me as high and I take it that means betters have no more idea about which horse will win than I do.

Using my usual completely untrustworthy method of picking a winner by the jockey’s colours I’m backing:

TIGER MOTH (23) to win 

And for a place




Sowell says


Rural round-up


50 Shades of Green disappointed James Shaw retains Climate Change portfolio:

The conservation group 50 Shades of Green is disappointed that James Shaw has retained his climate change portfolio.

“While we have nothing against Mr Shaw personally, we believe the portfolio needs a fresh perspective,” 50 Shades of Green chair Any Scott said.

“We can’t keep doing what we’re doing and planting good farmland in trees while we extol the virtue of protecting and increasing our biodiversity.

“It’s nothing more than a feel-good factor and will achieve nothing positive. We’ll continue to pollute, and the climate will continue to get warmer. . . 

China has vowed to cut its reliance on foreign food imports. What could that mean for NZ agricultural exports? – James Fyfe:

With China vowing to cut its reliance on foreign food imports in the coming years, experts say while New Zealand exporters shouldn’t start worrying just yet, they should start thinking ahead and not put all their eggs in one basket.

Leaders from the world’s second-biggest economy met earlier this week to lay out a five-year plan for the country. Among the priorities identified was to have a “lower reliance on foreign suppliers for strategic products such as food, energy, semiconductors and other key technologies,” the Associated Press reported.

With China a massive buyer of New Zealand agricultural exports, more self-reliance could have a direct impact on farmers and growers here.

Trade expert Charles Finny, a former senior official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, says China is an “enormously important market” for New Zealand, twice the size of our next-largest market, Australia.  . . 

Alliance weathers the year’s many challenges – Sally Rae:

It is more important than ever for Alliance Group to invest in Southland in the wake of uncertainty over the future of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, chief executive David Surveyor says.

The company was committed to Southland and it had spent significant money at its Lorneville plant, near Invercargill, in the last couple of years, Mr Surveyor said.

That included spending $12.5million to install the latest processing technology — including new generation primal cutters, middles and fores technology — a major engine room upgrade, and reconfiguration of its venison plant so it could also process beef . . 

New Zealand’s little-told Far North wild horses story :

In 2012 Kelly Wilson’s family saved 12 Kaimanawa horses from slaughter and then two years later they had their TV  show Keeping up with the Kaimanawas when they successfully tamed another 12.

Kelly appeared on the TV series with her sisters, Vicky and Amanda, and has also written four best-selling books about horses.

An adventurer who “loves anything to do with an adrenalin rush”, she enjoys ice climbing, scuba diving and snow boarding wherever she is in the world.

“But a lot of my time now is invested into wild horses and both photographing them in the wild and then taming them first-hand and then writing the books about them.”   . . 

Swings and roundabouts – in defence of animal source foods :

Back in 1994, 5 + A Day kicked off in a bid to increase New Zealanders intake of fruit and vegetables, as those working in health and nutrition understood the benefits to our nations’ health of increasing the intake of these foods. Zip to 2020, and it feels like the pendulum has swung completely in favour of plant-based foods and the messaging we’re receiving almost daily, including from non-nutrition experts, media and influencers advocate following a plant-based only diet. What has happened to balance? When did people start perceiving animal foods as being bad for our health? Why does it have to be either-or?

It seems the religion of old is out the door in favour of belonging and identifying with a food camp, whether it be vegan, plant-based whole food, carnivore, flexitarian, keto or paleo, and it seems there are some people who sit in judgement of those who don’t adhere to their food religion. However, the food agnostics amongst us don’t want to jump on this bandwagon, and quietly prefer to not put a label on it, and simply follow a balanced diet. 

Back in 1994, 5 + A Day kicked off in a bid to increase New Zealanders intake of fruit and vegetables, as those working in health and nutrition understood the benefits to our nations’ health of increasing the intake of these foods. Zip to 2020, and it feels like the pendulum has swung completely in favour of plant-based foods and the messaging we’re receiving almost daily, including from non-nutrition experts, media and influencers advocate following a plant-based only diet. What has happened to balance? When did people start perceiving animal foods as being bad for our health? Why does it have to be either-or? . . .

Mountain Blue Orchards grows from farm and nursery to a globally integrated business – Michelle Hespe:

With the NSW Farmer of the Year awards cancelled for 2020, The Land and The Farmer look back at the past decade of inspiring winners to see how they’ve adapted to current times, as well as what the competition has meant to them.

Ridley Bell of Mountain Blue Orchards is considered the grandfather of Australia’s blueberry industry.

By becoming the 2010 NSW Farmer of the Year he feels he was also put on the map for other farmers and for the horticulture industry in general.

“The awards opened up whole series of different networks and supports,” he says. . .

Yes Sir Humphrey


Two races


Today the race that is said to stop two nations will be run as never before.

The Melbourne Cup will still get attention on both sides of the Tasman Sea but without  the fashion and fun that are usually the focus at Flemington Racecourse.

The race is another victim of Covid-19 and will be run with no spectators.

The other race which has world-wide attention, and the outcome of which is far more important,  is the one for the President of the USA.

Polls favour the Democrat challenger Joe Biden over the incumbent Republican Donald Trump but the polls four years ago favoured Hillary Clinton.

Whether or not the polls reflect the outcome this time, they won’t answer a question about the quality of the candidates.

We have only five million people which is a relatively shallow pool from which to fish good leaders.

How, when the USA has a population of more than 300 million can these two men be the best candidates the country can come up with?

Secular sins


From the time people began moving beyond their tribes, intermingled and intermarried, we have been learning and borrowing from other people’s languages and cultures.

That ought to be a good thing but in the madness of modern living it is no longer, it’s now the secular sin of cultural appropriation.

Auckland restaurant Coco’s Cantina is considering a name change after being accused of appropriating Latin culture.

It comes days after the eatery’s co-founder accused a competitor of appropriation.

On Sunday, the Herald reported that Coco’s Cantina co-founder Damaris Coulter had accused Auckland restaurateurs Tom Hishon and Josh Helm of appropriating the Māori word for king in their new Britomart restaurant.

Hishon and Helm – who own Orphans Kitchen – have always maintained the name Kingi is a colloquial shortening for kingfish.

But in several heated Instagram comments, Coulter accuses Hishon of “ignoring” the concerns of Māori over the name.

Now, the restaurant Coulter founded with her sister Renee has received several accusations online that the name Coco’s Cantina is offensively appropriating Latin culture.

In response, Renee Coulter, posted on Instagram yesterday that they are having conversations about changing their name this week.

“One of the Kingi advisers [to Hishon and Helm] asked us to respond to his concerns around the name of our restaurant, as he and others find it offensive,” she wrote.

“If our eatery name has ever offended anyone, we are deeply sorry, we have never intended to ever upset, offend or disrespect anyone, and it’s important that we understand if we have.” . . 

Good grief, how high will this peak madness go?

Jonathan Pie shows how bad it’s got (if you’re sensitive to bad language, you might be offended):


Cultural appropriation is one of the sects of identity politics and that, in Antonia Senior ‘s words is  Christianity without redemption:

 . . .Identity politics has become a secular religion, and “white privilege” is one of its shibboleths. . . 

To be woke demands faith in certain creeds, with the twins Equality and Diversity as unassailable deities. It demands a knowledge of the right language. You must believe in certain disprovable evils — like the existence of a malevolent patriarchy — and like many strict sects, it punishes its apostates most severely. The Twitter storms are fierce for those who express a non-woke view but should have known better than for those outside of the faith altogether. . . 

But the problem with identity politics as a secular religion is precisely its failure to allow for absolution. The faith that Saad  espouses is utterly bleak, even cloaked as it is in words of love. It utterly fails to allow for redemption, and its most direct  religious antecedent is found in Calvinist predestination.

Under this doctrine, God has predetermined whether you are damned or elect. From the second that the right sperm hit it lucky with the most fecund egg, your place in the woke hierarchy was decided. In the modern progressive world, informed by intersectional feminists, it does not matter what you say or do, the only defining factor in your state of grace is your skin, gender and sexuality.

This is a profoundly depressing outlook for three main reasons. The first is the essential nihilism in the creed. Your intent? Irrelevant. Your deeds? Likewise. The sum of your experience, desires, longings, beliefs? Your humanity itself? Nah, not relevant.

The second dispiriting message is that the problems its aims to address are insoluble. White people are racist by their nature, and inherently incapable of seeing their own racism or addressing it. Men are misogynists, by default, witting or unwitting bulwarks of the patriarchy. If they don’t believe they are individually at fault they are in denial. And if they try to say, actually, I’m not sure the patriarchy exists, they are mansplaining misogynist bastards. This is the politics of perpetual antagonism, of a  kind of bleak acceptance that all relationships between different categories of human are necessarily fractious.

Most of us accept that racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination exist. Most of us accept that it would be infinitely preferable if they did not. But as progressive politics grip, and the more the Pandora’s box of vile isms is talked about, the  fewer of us seem to believe that it is possible to eradicate them.

The bigoted and ignorant have always been with us, and now the new bigots are those who show no tolerance for anyone who doesn’t sign up to all the tenets of their woke religion.

The third problem with Puritan wokeness is that it sinister echoes in the history of predestination. When the creed reached its zenith in the seventeenth century, the logical hole at its centre became insanely obvious. If it does not matter to God how you behave, because your salvation was pre-determined at birth, why not behave however the hell you want to?

A society which does not allow for people to atone, to be redeemed, and to be judged on their intent and actions is a miserable place. Most people interact with each other without antagonism most of the time. We should start being a bit more forgiving to each other, ditch the Puritanism and learn to cherish the well-meaning stumble towards decency. Even if, sometimes, we fall.

Some of the words in the 60s song Melting Pot would be regarded as offensive now, but surely the message is still relevant:

If you lump it all together
Well, you’ve got a recipe for a get-along scene
Oh what a beautiful dream
If it could only come true . . 

It won’t come true if identity politics with its doctrine of dissection, division and adherence to the creed that makes cultural appropriation a sin is allowed to triumph.

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