Word of the day

06/11/2020

Inhume – bury, inter.


National loses 2 more MPs

06/11/2020

The final election results bring more bad news for National:

National has two fewer seats and Labour and the Māori Party each have one more:

  • The number of seats in Parliament will be 120.
  • The Labour Party has 65 seats compared with 64 on election night.
  • The National Party has 33 seats compared with 35 on election night.
  • The Māori Party has 2 seats compared with 1 on election night.
  • ACT New Zealand and the Green Party remain unchanged with 10 seats each.

Electorate vote – main points

Three electorate results have changed since election night:

    • Labour Party candidate Priyanca Radhakrishnan has won Maungakiekie with a majority of 635 votes over National Party candidate Denise Lee.
    • Labour Party candidate Willow-Jean Prime has won Northland with a majority of 163 votes over National Party candidate Matt King.
    • Labour Party candidate Emily Henderson has won Whangārei with a majority of 431 votes over National Party candidate Shane Reti.
    • All other electorate candidates leading on election night have been confirmed as winning their seats.

The low party vote for National didn’t surprise me.

This was always going to be the election that Covid-19 stole and National worsened its prospects by self-sabotage. A caucus that shoots itself in the foot, stabs itself in the back and trips over its own tongue isn’t going to gain voter support.

But the loss of so many electorates, especially the provincial and rural ones, both surprises and saddens me. Generally good MPs will  be able to stand firm even if the tide swings against their party.

I am pleased that Shane Reti has a high enough place on the list to retain a seat in parliament although he lost the seat.

One new MP who withstood the red tide is Penny Simmons who has been confirmed as the MP for Invercargill.

Key statistics

  • The total number of votes cast was 2,919,086.
  • The number of special votes was 504,625, 17% of total votes (2017 – 17%).
  • 68% of votes were cast in advance (2017 – 47%).
  • 82.2% of people who were enrolled voted (2017 – 79.8%). This is the highest turnout since 1999 (84.8%).
  • The final enrolment rate was 94.1% (2017 – 92.4%), the highest since 2008 (95.3%).

A high turnout is good for democracy.

Allowing people to enroll on Election Day no doubt helped increase the enrollment rate.

The increase in advance votes might prompt a change in the law that makes Election Day campaign-free.

Labour has the numbers to change the law by itself but such changes ought to be made by consensus and passed by far more than a simple majority.


Sowell says

06/11/2020


Rural round-up

06/11/2020

Feds: staff shortages are undermining safety, mental wellbeing:

Skilled staff shortages are not only taking a toll on productivity but also farmer mental wellbeing, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair and rural health spokesperson Wayne Langford says.

“Farmers across New Zealand are having to push the limits to get silage/baleage cut, with many crops in the South Island being harvested when it’s wet.

“With variable weather conditions and a lack of skilled contracting staff, farmers are being pushed to make questionable decisions, such as pushing on with mowing because if they don’t they may not see the contractor again for weeks.” . . 

Dairy farming ‘one of the shining stars of Covid’ – ANZ :

Recent banking results show dairy farming might be one of the “shining stars” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ANZ chief executive Antonia Watson said New Zealand’s farming sector had taken advantage of good prices for their products.

This means they were able to pay down the principal of their loans.

The problems in the dairy industry usually feature large in ANZ Bank’s full year results but they were absent from its latest annual report. . . 

Foreign investors get land purchase approval – Neal Wallace:

Two foreign-owned forestry companies have been given Government approval to buy land in multiple transactions without requiring approval for each purchase from the Overseas Investment Office.

Known as standing consent, Oji Fibre Solutions and Nelson Forests can both buy up to 15,000ha of sensitive land up to a maximum single purchase of 2500ha of land that is exclusively or nearly exclusively in forestry.

The approval also allows the two companies to buy a maximum of 500ha of land per transaction that is not currently in forestry.

The permission is capped at 25 transactions, excludes residential land and expires on 30 September 2023. . . 

Feds on labour issues as DairyNZ shelves GoDairy – Gerald Piddock:

DairyNZ’S shelving of its GoDairy campaign has shown how hard it is to recruit people into the dairy industry, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.

DairyNZ has put the dairy training initiative on hold until March as it reviews the three-week course and looks at ways it could be improved.

Federated Farmers assisted DairyNZ in getting GoDairy up and running while at the same time, launching its own scheme to get more New Zealanders onto farms.

He says those who had successfully gained employment were given starter packs from Federated Farmers and so far, 240 packs had been sent out. . . 

Feds president Andrew Hoggard elected to IDF board:

Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard is well used to representing New Zealand’s farmers. On top of that, he’ll now be representing dairy farmers from all corners of the planet on the board of the International Dairy Federation.

The Manawatu dairy farmer gets up at 4.30am to milk his herd but at least once or twice a month it’s going to be midnight or 1am starts as he joins on-line northern hemisphere meetings.

The IDF is the only organisation which represents the entire dairy value chain at global level – from farm gate to retailer fridge. Hundreds of millions of people depend on the dairy sector for their livelihoods as farmers, processors, suppliers or traders and every day billions of people consume protein, calcium and other key nutrients from milk and dairy products. . . 

Avian flu: 13,000 birds to be culled at Cheshire farm :

A total of 13,000 chickens are to be culled after an outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) was confirmed at a Cheshire farm.

The H5N8 strain of the disease was confirmed at a broiler breeder’s premises near Frodsham on Monday (2 November).

It follows the unrelated discovery of the H5N2 low pathogenic strain of the virus at a small commercial poultry farm in Deal, Kent, where 480 birds have been culled.

Authorities said all 13,000 birds at the Frodsham premises, which produces hatching eggs, will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

06/11/2020


What’s on the menu in 2050?

06/11/2020


MIQ needs flexibility

06/11/2020

A lack of capacity in managed isolation is keeping a Sydney-based family from visiting their  terminally ill father.

A New Zealand couple based in Sydney say their newborn baby will not meet his dying grandfather if they cannot find space in a managed isolation facility.

This comes as the Government announced its Managed Isolation Allocation System was fully booked until December 20.

Under new rules, people travelling into New Zealand needed a voucher for a managed isolation facility before boarding a flight to New Zealand. . . 

A friend has a place and will be returning home in a couple of weeks. He doesn’t know where he will have to isolate and is willing to pay more for a higher standard of hotel but that isn’t a choice.

These are just two examples of a system that isn’t as flexible as it needs to be.

The country has paid a very high economic cost to eliminate community transmission of Covid-19. We cannot risk an incursion at the border which means everyone coming in must isolate.

But the risk isn’t the same for everyone.

People returning from countries where Covid-19 is rife pose a much higher risk than those coming from countries which have the disease under control.

The ones from high risk countries should have to stay in managed isolation facilities.

People from low risk countries could be given the option of self-isolating, providing electronic monitoring was feasible and consequences for breaching isolation were high enough to ensure they stayed put.

Everyone coming in is charged for the costs of MIQ which is fair but some, people, like my friend, are willing and able to pay more for a higher standard of accommodation. Others wont be able to afford the $3,100 for the fortnight’s enforced stay and there ought to be a less expensive, but still safe, option for them.

The story of the Sydney-based family with the dying relative won’t be an isolated case and the system must be able to cater for them.

The government has been exhorting us all to be kind.

It must follow its own exhortations and ensure that MIQ has the flexibility to allow compassionate entry for those who need it and a variety of prices for those who can’t afford to pay the standard fee as well as those who would choose to pay more.

 


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