Word of the day


Ept – adroit, appropriate; or effective.

Yes Sir Humphrey


Rural round-up


A victory for common sense – Alan Emmerson:

My views on the original wintering rules are well known. Basically, the original system, the Essential Freshwater Rules on winter grazing, were unworkable and promulgated by a bureaucracy without any knowledge of rural issues.

It was obvious at the start that the rules wouldn’t work, but the civil servants continued at pace.

The Southland farmers protested, backed by the local council.

Then Environment Minister and Green MP Eugenie Sage labelled them irresponsible. I’d have called them realistic. I remain unconvinced that Sage has any idea of the practicalities of farming despite the nation relying on the ag sector for its prosperity. I’d have said the same for her department. . . 

Native forestry good for environment and climate – Paul Quinlan:

The Climate Change Commission says NZ should plant 300,000ha of new permanent native forests by 2035, but indigenous forestry advocates argue we should go much further in harvesting indigenous timber.

Nature-based forestry is ‘a blend between art, culture, and science’, where forests are managed on a continuous cover basis and allowed to reach their full potential in terms of the holistic services they can provide, including timber. Harnessing the power of markets is suggested as an effective way to shift land-use towards more natural forest management.

Last year, Dame Anne Salmond articulated an aspirational vision for “intelligent forestry” in Aotearoa. She has clearly been inspired by models of continuous cover forestry – specifically, ‘close-to-nature forestry’ practices, where the emphasis is on management of a whole and healthy natural ecosystem and where timber production is only one objective to be managed in a compatible way with the many other cultural, environmental and recreational values in each part of the forest. . . 

Environmental impact of forestry taking a toll on East Coast communities – Tom Kitchin:

East Coast locals are disheartened by the prospect of more forestry in the area as the industry grows.

The Climate Change Commission is encouraging the planting of thousands of hectares of forestry in decades to come.

But many people in Gisborne and Wairoa say the industry is damaging their pristine environment and ruining communities.

In Tolaga Bay, a small town of about 800 people nearly an hour north of Gisborne, one end of the beach near the famous wharf is almost clear and sandy, with only a touch of wood nearby. . . 

Team of 5 million – Gerald Piddock:

The new DairyNZ Climate Change Ambassador chair says New Zealand as a whole needs to work together to achieve climate goals.

Getting the dairy industry to achieve tough new climate goals is like running an ultramarathon, recently appointed DairyNZ Climate Change Ambassador chair Fraser McGougan says.

Both require small steps to get to the finish line and both are huge undertakings.

McGougan has already accomplished one of these milestones, having completed an ultramarathon in February. . . 

Trusty tractor at farmer’s side over decades, across world – Mary-Jo Tohill:

A tractor, is a tractor, is a tractor … but then there’s Ian Begg’s tractor. The former Wyndham Station owner talks about how this humble piece of farm machinery shaped his life. Mary-Jo Tohill reports.

People ask him: “What are you?”

He answers: “I’m still a farmer, cos I’m nothing else.”

Ian Begg, the former owner of Wyndham Station in Southland has been many other things — orchardist, importer, real estate agent and developer. But the farm boy remains.

The 75-year-old was reminded of his roots when he attended Wheels at Wanaka at Easter, and was reunited with the tractor that took him 27,000km across the globe, and set a world record for the longest journey by a tractor in 1993-94. . . 

New chief at VFF eyes closer links with consumers – Gregor Heard:

NEW VICTORIAN Farmers Federation chief executive Jane Lovell believes agriculture has an excellent story to tell, but it needs stronger links to consumers and the community to do so.

Ms Lovell, who has a background in areas as diverse as plant pathology, politics and quality assurance, said providing a solid platform for agriculture to be able to demonstrate its credentials was a key goal in her new role.

“Talking about and demonstrating our sustainability and environmental stewardship are going to become even more important with consumers,” Ms Lovell said.

“Gone are the days when everyone had a farmer as a close relative and sadly, this means many people don’t have that connection to farming and the land,” she said . . .

Yes Sir Humphrey


If you don’t know…


How do these headlines make you feel?

Authorities unable to say how many border workers unvaccinated

Government doesn’t know how many border workers there are, but still insists 90 percent have got COVID-19 vaccine

How can they know that 90% are vaccinated if they don’t know how many there are?

That’s not all they don’t know – they also don’t know how many border workers are being swabbed.

They’ll have to find out because, belatedly, just over a year since managed isolation and quarantine became compulsory for everyone coming in to the country, and they’re only just going to make the testing register mandatory:

Government to make testing register mandatory after admitting it doesn’t know how many border workers are being swabbed

Health authorities have made a sudden change to a policy about high-risk border workers after Newshub asked questions about the Ministry of Health’s testing processes.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed to Newshub on Friday he intends to make reporting to the Government’s testing register mandatory for all border employees amid revelations it wasn’t known how many of them had been swabbed.

“All relevant employers have had a specific duty to keep records of testing since last year,” Hipkins said.

“However, last month, to make the system clearer and easier to administer, I signalled my intention to make reporting to the register mandatory for all relevant employers at the border.

“Ministry officials have been engaging with the border sector on the plan, and I expect to be in position to make a decision and any amendments to the order shortly.” . . 

Does signalled my intention  and expect to be in a position to make a decision and any amendments to the order shortly  give you any sense of urgency?

Does this make you feel any better?

The Government set up what’s called a Border Workforce Testing Register, to track testing of workers, but it’s a voluntary system. Around 12,000 workers are using it, but another 4000 are not.

Voluntary? How can something as important as this be voluntary?

There are calls to see the optional register be made compulsory. 

“This is a conversation we should have been having a year ago, and it should have lasted 30 seconds,” Prof Gorman said.

“The border is so important – this is a requirement, there are no exceptions.”

The Prime Minister has a warning to workers who aren’t being regularly tested. 

“There is a penalty regime for employers who are not doing that.”

The problem is, the Government doesn’t know with a high degree of accuracy who’s following the rules and who isn’t – so no penalties have been dished out.

Does no-one in any position of authority have any idea of logistics?

Can no-one in any position of authority learn from repeated shortcomings and mistakes?

How many times do journalists have to expose the chasms between what ought to be happening, what the government and Ministry of Health tell us is happening and what is actually happening?

What else don’t they know? And if they don’t know, how can we have any confidence that what ought to be happening is happening?

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