Word of the day

17/12/2020

Amphibology – an ambiguity of language; word, phrase, or sentence that can be interpreted variously because of uncertainty of grammatical construction rather than ambiguity of the words used; a phrase or sentence that is grammatically ambiguous; the use of ambiguous phrases or such as can be construed in two senses.


Sowell says

17/12/2020


Rural round-up

17/12/2020

RSE MIQ & WTF – Eric Crampton:

Late last month, the government announced it would allow 2000 seasonal workers into New Zealand’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine system on Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme, with workers to arrive from January to March 2021. 

There’s just so much that’s backward in all of this.

The RSE scheme is open to workers from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The most recent World Health Organization COVID-19 situation report for the Western Pacific notes that the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu have not reported a case to date – as of 25 November. Since then, Samoa has had two positive cases caught at their border. . . 

A Christmas message of thanks from Federated Farmers:

Before Federated Farmers farewells 2020, it wants to salute and thank some generally unsung heroes.

“We all got used to talking about clusters of infection with Covid-19, but in another sense that word cluster is somewhat apt for the entire year,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard says.

“It could have been a lot worse for our export-earning primary industries were it not for the dedication and doggedness of a large number of people in supporting services.”

First up, Federated Farmers thanks the truckies, milk tanker drivers and others in the freight industry for working through the roller-coaster of alert levels to keep supplies coming to farms, and produce getting on the road to markets. . . 

Otago leads trend to larger lamb crop – Sally Rae:

Otago has been the major driver of a lift in lambs born in the South Island this year, with the region recording a 3.9% increase in total lamb crop.

Beef+Lamb New Zealand has released its annual lamb crop outlook report which measured lambing performance and forecasts lamb and sheep exports for 2021.

Nationally, sheep farmers achieved a near-record 130.3% lambing percentage, despite Covid-19 related processing restrictions and widespread drought in the first half of 2020. That was only slightly lower than spring 2019 where 131% was achieved, the report said.

Lamb and sheep export volumes were expected to be more significantly impacted by the follow-on impacts of the drought, due to lower animal weights and the retention of sheep for breeding to rebuild stock numbers. . . 

Farmer bank pressure drops but so do satisfaction rates:

Fewer farmers are feeling undue pressure from their bank but satisfaction rates continue to slide, according to the Federated Farmers November Banking Survey.

Of the 1,341 farmers who responded to the survey independently run by ResearchFirst, 65.4% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their bank relationship.  That’s down from 68.5% from the Feds’ survey in May.

“Satisfaction has steadily slipped over the past three years – in our November 2017 survey it was 80.8%,” Federated Farmers President and commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

“That’s probably no great surprise.  Banks have been trying to reduce their exposure to agricultural lending as it is considered ‘risky’, including by the Reserve Bank.   Banks put the pressure on farmers to reduce their debt when commodity prices are good to put them into a better position to weather the next downturn, and there is also a trend by banks to diversify agricultural lending from dairy to other sectors, especially horticulture. . . 

Commission publishes final report on Fonterra’s 2020/21 milk manual:

The Commerce Commission today published its final report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Farmgate Milk Price Manual for the 2020/21 dairy season (Manual), which contains Fonterra’s methodology for calculating its base milk price.

This year’s review focused on the changes Fonterra has made to the Manual since last year. These include moving the responsibility to independently review certain aspects of the milk price calculation to the Milk Price Group, and the introduction of the ability to apply the outcome of a ‘Within-Period Review’ to the year in which the review is undertaken.

The findings of the final report are unchanged from the draft released in October. . . 

Lamb losses, carcase downgrades costing farmers millions of dollars – Andrew Miller:

Cat-dependent diseases could be costing sheep producers in Tasmania up to $2 million a year, with the state being one of two significant hotspots for the pathogens in Australia.

Scientists from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub found the effects of four pathogens, including Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis gigantea, caused a range of animal health impacts, including spontaneous abortions, still births, neonatal deaths and visible cysts, in meat.

They found SA, particularly Kangaroo Island, and Tasmania, were the two Australian hotspots for the pathogens. . . 


Seven days before Christmas

17/12/2020

Twelve days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “If the wind keeps up the lucerne should be fit by mid-afternoon and we’ll start making hay so there could be a few extra men for tea.”

Eleven days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “I have to go through to a sale in Central today. I haven’t forgotten the school concert and I should be back in time, but if I’m late you’ll have to go without me.”

Ten days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “When you go into town this morning could you see if the spare part for the tractor has turned up yet  and pick up some drench as well. You’ll be passing the bank so could you drop these cheques in then pay these bills too please, there’s only two or three.”

Nine days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “We’ll be shearing today, one of the men will be in the shed so he’ll want lunch early, the other should be in at the usual time and I probably won’t be in ‘til after one. But if we get the irrigator fixed this afternoon there might be time to get the Christmas tree.”

Eight days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “One of the rousies didn’t turn up so I’ve had to get another at short notice. Would you mind giving her lunch and could you throw something together for her morning and afternoon tea?”

Seven days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “The farm advisor’s coming for a look round this morning and I’ll be working with cattle after lunch, but if you remind me before dinner I’ll go and get the tree.”


Yes Sir Humphrey

17/12/2020


Mallard digs deeper

17/12/2020

Trevor Mallard was in a hole before yesterday’s select committee and Heather du Plessis-Allan shows he kept digging:

. . . It turns out $330,000 is not the end of the Mallard clean-up bill us taxpayers are paying. We are in the gun for more. 

As we know, the $330,000 is for Mallard’s legal bills and an ex-gratia payment to the man he accused of rape 

But the man might yet also be paid out by Parliamentary Services, his employer at the time of Mallard’s allegation 

He’s taken a claim – perhaps a personal grievance for the circumstances under which his employment ended 

Now already the taxpayer legal bill for dealing with THAT claim is $37,500.  We don’t know if that’s the end of the legal costs there.  So add that to the $330,000. 

Then there could be a pay out as well.  And the chances of that are high given that it is now in the public domain that Mallard has admitted to defaming the man.  The man’s original claim was for $450,000, so this bill could be high. 

Again, add that to the $330,000. 

So far it appears the man who was falsely accused has had his legal costs covered but received no compensation for the accusation and the loss of his job that ensued.

But what makes this worse, if that’s even possible, is that Mallard did not admit there was more money due when he was asked about it. 

In my opinion, he misled the public with his answer. 

He was asked by Chris Bishop if there was “any further money to be paid”, and Mallard answered “there is no further money to be paid”. 

But then, just over a minute later, the chief executive of parliamentary services, Rafael Gonzalez-Montero admits “there is still a claim against the Parliamentary Service”. 

Michael Woodhouse asks: “Is the committee now hearing that $330,000 is not necessarily the end of the matter in terms of cost to the taxpayer?”

Gonzalez-Montero answers “yes”.

So, not only has the speaker used our money to tidy up his mistakes, but he’s not been totally transparent about exactly how much money it’s costing us.  . . 

The false accusation of rape was bad enough.

Knowing it was false within about 24 hours and not doing immediately admitting that and apologising made it worse.

Letting the whole sorry saga drag out all these months compounded the trouble he’d caused and the expense to the taxpayer.

Saying that no more money was due only to be contradicted moments later raises even more questions.

The initial false accusation was appalling behaviour for anyone, let alone the speaker.

Each time Mallard digs deeper makes it worse not just for him but for the office he holds and the deeper he digs the more validity he gives to calls for his resignation.

The longer this goes on the more political capital he burns for Labour its leader and the more it all undermines their claims to kindness, openness and transparency.


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