Word of the day


Tendentious – expressing, supporting or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one; marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view;   having or showing a definite tendency, bias, or purpose; biased, partisan.

Yes Sir Humphrey


Rural round-up


Water supply reform coming – Annette Scott:

Major reforms proposed for the water supply sector will pose significant implications for irrigation schemes that provide domestic water supply.

The new Water Services Bill currently before the Government’s Health Select Committee sets out new regulations that will need to be followed by rural agricultural drinking water supplies.

The reforms are designed to provide clear leadership for drinking water regulation through a new dedicated regulator.

They will also strengthen compliance, monitoring and enforcement related to drinking water regulations and equip the new regulator with the powers and resources needed to build capability, support suppliers of all kinds to meet their obligations and take a tougher, more consistent approach to enforcement where needed. . . 

Carbon market to surge in 2021 – Richard Rennie:

The new year promises to bring intense activity to New Zealand’s carbon trading market with new auction activity and investor interest picking up fast.

2020 closed off with NZ carbon units surging to a new high at $38.10 a unit, well ahead of the year’s starting point of $28.60 and significantly above the pre-lockdown low of $22.10.

With the price cap of $25/unit lifted to $35 mid-year, analysts are anticipating the values will continue to surge further still.

The CommTrade carbon trading platform has best offers for April next year at $38.90, rising to $41.05 by April 2024. . . 

Giving 2021 some certainty – Mike Chapman:

As 2020 drew to an end and we mistakenly thought that we were coming out of the Covid chaos, Covid and mother nature doubled down on us. The new more highly contagious Covid variants, hail storms, floods and seasonal labour supply have collectively made growing, selling and exporting fruit, berries and vegetables that much harder.  It is not a great start to 2021.

Looking back on 2020, some interesting trends have emerged, on which United Fresh has reported.  As a result of Covid, these trends include:

  • Eating healthy food is top of the list for consumers
  • Food hygiene is also very important
  • There are fewer visits to supermarkets with shoppers doing bigger shopping trips.  Pre-Covid, the trend had been towards more and smaller shopping trips. . .

2021 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards opens for entries:

Entries are open for the 2021 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, says Ministry for Primary Industries’ Director of Investment, Skills and Performance, Cheyne Gillooly.

The Awards, run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), celebrate primary sector employers who demonstrate exceptional employment practices.

“The Primary Industries Good Employer Awards provide the opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding employers who put their staff at the heart of their operations,” says Mr Gillooly. . . 

Agcarm appoints new animal health expert :

The industry association for crop protection and animal health manufacturers and distributors has appointed Jeff Howe as its technical manager.

Jeff Howe replaces Jan Quay, after a seventeen-year tenure, as Agcarm’s animal health expert. As well as taking the lead on animal health issues, Jeff provides technical support on the company’s crop protection and rural supplier portfolios.

“Getting better outcomes for farmers, animals, and consumers of food and fibre is a key driver for me. I am excited about the possibilities for new technologies to increase productivity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise residues, and help in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

“I look forward to working closely with government and industry stakeholders to facilitate access to cutting edge products that will support a more sustainable and innovative sector, and Agcarm’s vision of healthy crops – healthy animals – healthy business,” says Howe. . . 

Chemical identification of lemon myrtle to future proof essential oil – Jamie Brown:

An Australian native whose leaves deliver a lemon scent fit for royalty is now attracting record prices for its essential oil, up from $100 a kilogram a few years ago to more than $350/kg with the price expected to rise as demand increases.

The industry’s next challenge is to fingerprint the plant’s chemistry and identify key components with the aim of branding it as 100pc natural in a way that sets itself apart from synthetic copies.

In a project managed by the Essential Oil Producers Association of Australia, plant cuttings from a range of lemon myrtle varieties originally found growing in the wild, from the Kimberley and North Queensland to the Sunshine Coast hinterland and Currumbin Valley in south east Queensland, will be distilled in a laboratory at Lismore’s Southern Cross University and the natural range of chemical variations within their oils will be analysed. . .


Yes Sir Humphrey


Make Lamb, Not Walls


Hard to beat the Aussies and Meat & Livestock Australia when it comes to lamb ads:

Keep Covid-19 behind other borders


I thought the government was being unnecessarily cautious when it wouldn’t open the border with Australia when there was no community transmission there.

Subsequent outbreaks show the caution was justified and now there is even more reason to be far more cautious.

The government has been too slow to require testing before people boarded flights to New Zealand, as National suggested in August.

Those tests are now mandatory but National’s Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop says the government isn’t going far enough:

. . .“Now that pre-departure testing is recognised as adding to our border protection it needs to be extended to all returnees not just those from the UK and the US. The Government needs to explain why this protection will not be compulsory for all returnees.

“The confirmation that returnees from the UK and the US will be required to have their first test on day 0 in New Zealand makes a mockery of the Government’s arguments as far back as August that day 3 testing didn’t need to be compulsory because day 12 testing was.

“National has been calling for day 3 testing, as the first test in New Zealand, to be compulsory, but the Government refused. Now, suddenly, a day 0 test is required.

“The reasoning for day 0 testing today is the exact same as for compulsory day 3 testing months ago. That is, as soon as possible compulsory testing should be undertaken when people enter New Zealand.

“We support compulsory day 0 testing and call on the Government to make all border testing compulsory. Ensuring day 3 testing is compulsory is important as this is when most people test positive.

“This announcement however runs the risk of creating substantial confusion around who needs pre-departure testing and which testing is compulsory.

“An easy way to simplify this is to pick up National’s Border policy which requires all returnees to be tested prior to departure, and that all border tests in New Zealand should be compulsory.”

How hard would it be to go further still and require managed isolation for 14 days before people board planes?

The only way Covid-19 can spread in any country without community transmission of the disease is through holes in the border.

If everyone flying was required to stay in managed isolation for two weeks and have a negative test before boarding a plane it would keep the disease behind other borders.

It’s not just the destination countries that would benefit from this policy, it would protect everyone whose job potentially puts them at risk of contracting Covid-19.

Allowing people who could be carrying the disease to board endangers airport staff,  airline crew, all passengers, everyone who works on border control; the people who drive passengers to MIQ hotels; and all staff at the hotels.

It wouldn’t be an inexpensive exercise, but it would be a lot less costly in human and financial terms than an outbreak which necessitated any further lockdowns.

Drastic action is even more important now that more virulent strains of the disease are being  spread and questions are being raised about staffing at MIQ hotels:

Nurses working at managed isolation facilities across the country have raised concerns about staff shortages and instability.

These problems were formally recognised in an audit by the Ministry of Health in October.

The ministry said the matters have been addressed – but many health care professionals working at border facilities disagree.

The Infection Prevention and Control Audit of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities was released publicly last month. In it, the ministry revealed more facilities have been facing staffing shortages and roster problems.

In a statement to RNZ, the ministry confirmed all matters identified in the audit had been followed up and addressed.

But that is rejected by two of the country’s largest nursing unions, which have hundreds of members working in MIQ facilities. . . 

Who do we believe – the Ministry, or the people working in MIQ?

This is awfully like a repeat of complaints of insufficient supplies of flu vaccines and PPE from people on the ground that were met with repeated assurances from the ministry, and politicians, to the contrary.

The people who had no vaccines to give and those working with inadequate PPE were later proved to be right.

That experience makes it more likely the nurses’ concerns are valid and makes it even more important to ensure the virus is stopped before it gets to our borders.

The only way to do that is for everyone wanting to come here to isolate for 14 days before they board a plane.

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