Anachronistic – belonging to a period other than that being portrayed; belonging or appropriate to an earlier period, especially so as to seem conspicuously old-fashioned; out of date, old fashioned; the representation of someone as existing or something as happening in other than chronological, proper,or historical order; one that is out of its proper or chronological order, especially a person or practice that belongs to an earlier time; pertaining to or containing an anachronism.
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cringe at this:
The New Zealand economy, although battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, has moved into 2021 in better shape than anyone might have predicted just six months ago.
To a degree this has been due to the continuing vibrant performance in the export sector particularly by the primary industries. This week there was a fresh surge of confidence within that sector because of the signal from the big dairy co-op, Fonterra, in lifting its milk payout forecast.
Fonterra now expects to pay farmers between $6.90-$7.50kg/MS. That is up 20c a kg from its previous forecast range of $6.70 -$7.30. . .
Dairy markets have hit a sweet spot but big challenges remain – Keith Woodford:
Global dairy markets continue to grow despite negative sentiment in some quarters. The Climate Change Commission expects less cows to be balanced by more milk per cow. Man-made ‘udder factories’ are yet to emerge.
The combined effect of the three latest global dairy auctions has been that US-dollar prices for dairy have risen eleven percent since Christmas. A farmgate payment above $NZ7 for each kg of milksolids (MS) of fat plus protein for the dairy year ending in May 2021 now looks close to ‘baked in’.
This means that for a second year, farmgate prices will exceed $7. This will be the first time that prices have stayed above $7 per kgMS for two consecutive years.
It will also mean that five years have passed since the two bad years of 2015 and 2016. The bad years were largely driven by EU internal quota removals and a consequent surge in EU production. . .
Farmer confidence has bounced back to where it was pre-Covid19 but attracting and retaining staff remains a headache, the latest Federated Farmers Farm Confidence Survey shows.
Of the nearly 1,100 farmers who completed the Research First survey in the second week of January, a net 5.5% considered current economic conditions to be good. That’s a 34-point jump from the July 2020 survey when a net 28.6% considered them bad, marking the lowest level of farmer confidence in the 12 years the six-monthly survey had been conducted.
“Looking ahead, a net 43.8% expect general economic conditions to worsen over the next 12 months. That sound a bit grim, but just six months ago 58.7% of survey respondents expected a deteriorating economy,” Federated Farmers President and commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.
“I think farmers, like other New Zealanders, are feeling buoyed by the way we’ve handled the pandemic despite the torpedo to international tourism. The agricultural sector is willing and able to maintain production so long as regulatory and other stumbling blocks don’t trip us up.” . .
A new study* has found a strong ‘can do’ attitude and cooperative spirit in the agricultural industries were significant factors in minimising losses and uncertainties during the COVID restrictions last year in New Zealand and Australia.
Co-authored by Lincoln University’s Dr Lei Cong, with contributors from a number of institutions including AgResearch, The University of Queensland, NZ Institute of Economic Research, and Plant and Food Research, it measures the immediate impacts of COVID-19 control measures to June 2020 on the agri-food systems of Australia and New Zealand and how resilient those systems were.
It found the effects on both countries were broadly similar, and there were relatively minor economic impacts across the surveyed industries.
It stated the high level of ingenuity in the rural communities, both in Australia and New Zealand, was likely a key element of their resilience and capacity to overcome movement restrictions and the disruption of value chains. . .
Kiwi conservationists count wins in war on wallabies – Nita Blake-Persen:
Pest control experts say they are finally starting to make a dent in New Zealand’s exploding wallaby population, as a battle to stop them destroying native forests rages on.
Checkpoint cameraman Nick Monro and reporter Nita Blake-Persen headed out on a hunt to see how it’s all going.
The government last year allocated $27 million towards culling wallabies as part of its Job for Nature programme.
Among those to receive funding is Dr Tim Day, a pest control expert working in the Bay of Plenty.
Wallaby numbers have been growing in the area in recent times, and Day described them as a “little known villain”. . .
It may sound like something out of a futuristic science fiction film, but scientists have managed to engineer spinach plants which are capable of sending emails.
Through nanotechnology, engineers at MIT in the US have transformed spinach into sensors capable of detecting explosive materials. These plants are then able to wirelessly relay this information back to the scientists.
When the spinach roots detect the presence of nitroaromatics in groundwater, a compound often found in explosives like landmines, the carbon nanotubes within the plant leaves emit a signal. This signal is then read by an infrared camera, sending an email alert to the scientists. . .
The Taxpayers’ Union has come across a helpful and not at all patronising guide to Diplomacy 101 for our Australian friends:
A masterclass by Hon Damien O’Connor, Minister of Trade.
The enhanced free trade agreement with China has passed and I was ready to bask in the media adulation. This was quite the feather in my West Coast fishing hat given I had only been Minister of Trade for less than four months – most of that over the summer break.
I must confess to being later surprised and disappointed at the lack of media adulation, even from The Spinoff. Apparently, this deal had been worked on for years and was bound to happen. One of my young staffers (or possibly a new Labour MP, it’s hard to tell these days) suggested that “even Phil Twyford could have gotten this agreement through.”
Back home we would have thrown the troublemaker down a mine, back in the days we had mines on the West Coast. Today, he’d probably hit some camera drone stuck in a rockfall and I would get sued. I miss the old days.
Putting that slight setback behind, it was time to establish my legacy beyond just trade. I plan to be a player on the world stage. The starting point was obvious: Our closest neighbour and major trading partner, Australia. They are always open to constructive criticism from Kiwis.
International relations with China seemed like a safe place to start my global punditry. Neither Australia nor China are at all touchy about third parties commenting on their geo-political affairs.
After reading a copy of The Economist which had been sitting in my lobby for nearly four months, I decided against lecturing the Aussies. Under that brash exterior, they are sensitive and surprisingly fragile souls. So instead, I went with the educative approach.
My key messages were:
- Do what New Zealand does, because we are better than Australia.
- Be respectful to China like New Zealand is. Australia, by inference, is not.
- Develop a mature relationship with China like New Zealand has. Australia, by inference, has not. I am not saying the Sino-Ocker relationship is immature, just that it is not mature.
- My counterparts in Canberra should choose their words carefully because words matter in diplomacy. I think that I have graphically demonstrated that principle here.
My comments got a lot of media coverage which is obviously a good thing when most people do not know that you have been an MP for 26 years and a Minister of the Crown for nine years.
Once I actually read the media coverage, it was not as positive as I expected. In fact, it was not positive at all. I wanted headlines like “Magnanimous Minister helps struggling Trans-Tasman sibling”. Instead, I get “A trade minister goes on record going way off script.” That’s not very kind. Ingrates.
The media has overlooked my credentials in cross-border trade. I have brokered deals between Greymouth and New Plymouth, which counts as international commerce where I come from.
I heard that the Australian Trade Minister – you know, whatshisname – respects my view. Quite right, and I think this reflects my standing in the international pecking order. However, that same pesky staffer, who I would have fired if Andrew Little had not abolished all the laws allowing you to fire people, pointed out that “respects my view” in Australian Parliamentary slang is short for “bring it outside mate, if you think you are hard enough.”
Australian politics are odd. Still, at least Grant Robertson respects my view here. He told me himself at Cabinet the other day.
Bottom line: I antagonised both our major trading partners in one interview for no discernable reason.
Key thing is: Got my name in the paper!
The government’s move to rush through legislation cancelling the right to a referendum on the establishment of Maori wards on local councils is based on a big lie:
The Government is planning to rush through Parliament under urgency retrospective legislation that will cancel nine local referendums on whether or not to establish a Maori Ward in nine local authorities. This will disenfranchise several hundred thousand New Zealanders.
They effectively argue that it is vital to have Maori wards, because without them, racist New Zealanders will not vote for Maori and they will be under-represented in local Government. Nanaia Mahuta said that “Increasing Māori representation is essential to ensuring equity in representation”. This implies that there is a huge under-representation. . .
If you click on the link above you’ll get to Kiwiblog where a graph shows a positive trend with the proportion of local government elected officials who are Maori tripling from 4.2% in 2004 to 13.5% now .
That is only fractionally less than the percentage of Maori in the population.
These people will have stood for a variety of reasons and on a variety of platforms. People will have voted for them for a variety of reasons, which might include their ethnicity.
Why they stood, on which platforms and why people voted for them is irrelevant. What matters is that they were free to stand, did so and succeeded without the assistance of government patronage.
Why then is the government rushing through legislation to cancel nine local referendums on whether or not to establish a Maori Ward in nine local authorities, disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of residents in the process?
The Taxpayers’ Union has launched a nationwide petition against Labour’s plan to entrench Māori wards for local councils.
Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “Nanaia Mahuta’s legislation has nothing to do with equity or justice. It is quite simply an attempt to dominate local politics, guaranteeing more councils will be controlled by Labour-aligned councillors. These councillors will consistently vote for higher rates to fund the pet projects that Labour supports.”
“It has been a long tradition that electors can vote on, and veto, fundamental changes to local voting systems. For example, voters get to approve any change from an FPP voting system to an STV one. Labour now plans to disenfranchise voters, overturning convention in order to privilege its local candidates and allies.”
“Labour knows perfectly well that new Māori ward candidates will disproportionately come from the political Left. That’s already true for Māori electorate seats and in existing Māori wards and statutory boards.”
“In short, the Government is ramming a law change through Parliament under urgency to cancel referenda because they think people will vote the wrong way. It’s a disgraceful hijacking of local democracy that we must oppose with all our strength. We’re calling on ratepayers across the country to add their names to the cause.”
If you oppose the government’s plan to hijack local democracy by ramming a law change through Parliament under urgency to cancel referenda because they think people will vote the wrong way you can sign the petition here.