Megan Whitehead new world champ


New Zealand has a new world champion:



Word of the day


Prescient –  knowing or suggesting correctly what will happen in the future;  having or showing prescience, or knowledge of things or events before they exist or happen; having foresight.

Yes Sir Humphrey


Rural round-up


Work on freshwater in Southland is a nationwide first – Rachael Kelly:

Stewart Bull says he loses his mana when he has to tell visitors to his Takutai o Te Tītī Marae not to eat the kai moana.

“I don’t collect kai moana off the beach any more, at this stage. I know what’s going on, and I advise my children not to go and collect it either.

“It’s not good to stand on your marae and go ‘don’t touch the kai moana’…where is your mana if you have to stand on your own marae and express that to your visitors who are coming in?’’

For Bull, it’s about ki uta ki tai, from the mountains to the sea. . . 

Cherry pickers lose $350 a day jobs – Jared Morgan:

The $50 million loss incurred by Central Otago’s cherry growers this season impacts growers, jobs and the New Zealand economy.

Summerfruit NZ chief executive Richard Palmer said the full extent of the damage after four days of persistent and heavy rain was yet to be quantified but it was expected up to 50% of the season’s cherries had been lost due to splitting, resulting in the loss of $50million in export revenue to the country.

In addition to damaged fruit, flooding caused damage to buildings on orchards located around Earnscleugh when the Fraser River broke its banks.

Orchardists in the area said the losses were tempered by the fact flood waters receded, quickly allying fears other crops had been affected. . . 

Bid to stop 1080 drop in Hawke’s Bay fails in court – Tom Kitchin:

A legal challenge to stop a 1080 drop on Māori land in Hawke’s Bay has failed.

The Māori Land Court has released its ruling on the legal fight  following a hearing in Hastings.

Tataraakina is a 14,000 hectare block in inland Hawke’s Bay, near the highway between Napier and Taupō.

Tataraakina is managed by an ahu whenua trust, led by trustee Clinton Hemana, and has 1143 owners. . .

 The strange reason New Zealand is in the midst of a national oat milk shortage – Glenn McConnell:

Rumblings of an oat milk shortage first reached Stuff early in the New Year. Trendy café goers reported their local vegan-friendly baristas had run dry on their favourite plant-based milk.

It was a coffee crisis, and the outlook was gloomy. Would they revert to cow’s milk? Drink an overly sweet flat white with coconut milk? Or indulge in the increasingly uncool almond milk latte?

Oat milk is the up and coming among the milk alternatives. Almond remains popular, but has lost fans due to environmental concerns. The demand for almonds has caused honeybee catastrophe in the US, as California summons more than half of the country’s bees to pollinate its almond trees. The journey reportedly costs the lives of a quarter of the bees, due to pesticides and disease.

Oat is The Goat. But due to an unusually elongated supply chain for New Zealand, and unexpected rise in the popularity of oat milk, it has recently proved hard to find. . . 

Heiko Wittmer: NZ lessons to be learnt from pumas and wolves – Emile Donovan:

Lessons from how pumas and wolves interact in North America can be applied here in New Zealand, as we strive towards a predator-free 2050. 

Dr Heiko Wittmer has looked at what happened when wolves were reintroduced to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The wolves had a negative effect on the pumas in the park and that led to a much more balanced ecosystem. 

Heiko tells Summer Times that despite being a large and wild park, it had lost its wolf population due to culling in the early 20th century.

“Since then they have been missing and that has led to some drastic changes in the ecosystem.” . . 

It’s urgent we act on declining water storage, scientists warn – Shan Goodwin:

INTERNATIONAL scientists have highlighted the urgent need for mitigation to avoid water storage declines and increased droughts and the big role farmers in Australia, particular in the south, stand to play in that.

By the end of this century, the global land area and population living in extreme-to-exceptional drought could more than double, research directed from Michigan State University in the United States has found.

The stark warning emerged from the extensive study, which also points to the largest water declines being in Australia and South America.

The key implication is that climate change mitigation is now critical to avoid adverse water storage impacts and increased droughts, and the need for improved water resource management and adaptation is pressing. . . 


Anatomy of a Prison Disorder Incident


The Taxpayers’ Union has a scoop on what Kelvin Davis was up to during the ‘prison disorder incident’:

2020 was one heck of a year – excuse my strong language – and I definitely need this six-to-eight-week taxpayer funded holiday to recharge my batteries.

Happily out fly fishing, which is clearly listed as one of my key strengths on my Ministerial CV, before being interrupted by a call from a random press secretary about some prison riot. I inform her that I am the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and would be Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand if hadn’t given that up totally voluntarily, and this is clearly a matter for the mere Minister of Corrections.

She rather tersely informs me that I am the mere Minister of Corrections, that she is my press secretary, and she has been so for three years. Well, that was awkward. I think the tension scared all the fish away. So, might as well do one of my patented strategy sessions when dealing with a crisis.

First, some research. It turns out Waikeria Prison is a real prison and there is a riot going on right now. For me, there were three tell-tale clues of riotness – prisoners are supposed to be in the cells, guards should be in charge and the only ones with weapons, and the top half of the prison should definitely not be on fire.

I build myself a desk fort, to keep to the haters out, while I think. The Ministerial cushions I have ‘borrowed’ from my Ministerial residence are excellent for this task. Part of the COVID-19 tourism recovery fund was used to embroider my name, face, and signature, on every piece of my office furniture. I will sleep well tonight.

The next day at the lodge, after a leisurely brunch of paua fritters, cantaloupe salad, and pineapple Raro, I pull out my best Winnie the Pooh notebook and a fresh pack of coloured pencils. This is going to be my best plan ever, though admittedly H1 and H2 had drafted a pretty comprehensive crisis response template for me after several ‘communication issues’ in the first term.

    1. Do nothing. I cannot stress this enough.
    2. Say nothing.
    3. Wait to see if someone else does something. If it works, take credit for it.
    4. If it does not work, accuse people of politicising the event.
    5. Have your staff avoid media calls as best as possible. If they absolutely have to talk to the vultures, they should refer only to “protestors” in a “prison disorder incident”.
    6. If at all possible, somehow blame the previous National Government and particularly former Corrections Minister Judith Collins.
    7. Wait for the disorder to end, emerge, and take credit. Six days should be enough.
    8. Reveal that you were receiving hourly updates on the incident, but do not explain why you never mentioned this before the riot ended.
    9. Do not, under any circumstances, get drawn on whether you actually read those briefings, far less what you did about them.
    10. Resume fly fishing. Trout for dinner. Job well done.

Grant Robertson comes down to my office, carried on a sedan chair by four aides, with a fifth sprinkling rose petals in his path. This is rarely a good sign.

He proclaims that my portfolio might have to pay for rebuilding the prison that got burnt down. That seems unfair. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. The disorder was about housing standards so, like every second policy in this Government, it is Megan Woods’s responsibility. She should have to pay.

Defending myself, I argue to Grant that if Waikeria Prison had been properly upgraded then there would not have been these issues of standards. Grant agrees, but then ruins the moment by pointing out that one of my first and only moves as Minister of Corrections was to cancel National’s planned upgrade of Waikeria. This is a setback.

Oh well, at least I am still Labour Deputy Leader and Minister of Corrections. It seems literally nothing can change that.

Yes Sir Humphrey


If one’s wrong why not the other?


Initial reports of Covid-19 called it the Wuhan or Chinese virus.

The someones who worry about such things decided this was racist and the name changed.

For weeks we’ve being hearing about the UK strain but the someones who worry don’t appear to be worrying about afixing that strain to that place.

If it’s offensive to name a virus after one location isn’t it offensive to name it after another?

And if it’s not isn’t it condescending, patronising and indeed racist to deem some places in need of linguistic protection that is not needed for others?


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