Word of the day

07/05/2021

Brumation – a state or condition of sluggishness, inactivity, semi-dormancy or torpor exhibited by reptiles and amphibians during winter or extended periods of low temperature, characterized by lethargy and a decrease in metabolic activity; a lethargic state in reptiles and in some other animal species (e.g. bears), somewhat analogous to hibernation.


Yes Sir Humphrey

07/05/2021


Rural round-up

07/05/2021

Rabbits march on Queenstown –  Melanie Reid:

A new breed of rabbit has arrived on the scene in Central Otago: the ‘lifestyle rabbit’. With the growth in new multimillion dollar homes and subdivisions comes a headache for landowners.

Ihug co-founder Tim Wood now avoids some parts of his 10-acre rural Wakatipu idyll because it’s too depressing to see his plantings and landscaping trashed by rabbits yet again.

“It looks beautiful from a distance, but when you get up close, it’s an absolute ecological disaster. It’s out of control. We’re back at the late eighties and early nineties sort of stage of how bad it is.”

Recently planted natives collapse into the stream as rabbits undermine their root systems and some mornings up to 30 rabbits have their breakfast on the lawn as Wood eats his metres away in his kitchen. An attractive bank slowly turns into a swiss-cheese dustbowl and costly native trees get planted, ring-barked and eventually thrown on the compost heap. . . 

Fonterra starts consultation on capital structure:

Today Fonterra is starting a consultation process to seek farmer feedback on potential options to change its capital structure that could give farmers greater financial flexibility.

To allow its farmers to have open conversations and consider all options during consultation, the 
Co-operative is temporarily capping the size of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (the Fund) by suspending shares in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Market (FSM) from being exchanged into units in the Fund.

This temporary cap will be effective once the current trading halt is lifted when the market opens tomorrow and will remain throughout the consultation process.

Chairman Peter McBride says the capital structure review seeks to ensure the sustainability of the 
Co-operative into the future. . . 

Scores attend Oamaru meeting to raise concerns over large scale forest farm – Sally Murphy:

More than 100 people showed up to a meeting in Oamaru last night to raise concerns about a large scale forest farm being developed in the area.

A 2500 hectare sheep and beef farm at the headwaters of the Kakanui River has been bought by New Zealand Carbon Farming.

The company establishes permanent forests to mitigate climate change through carbon credits.

Locals say the company already has one farm in the Waitaki region which is already showing adverse environmental affects. . . 

New study finds Taurua District could grow blueberries, hazelnuts, apples and feijoas:

A new study for alternative land uses in the Tararua District shows blueberries, hazelnuts, cider apples and feijoas could be successfully grown in the area.

The report commissioned by The Tararua District Council and done by AgFirst assessed the soil quality, climate and economics of each crop.

AgFirst horticulture consultant Leander Archer said it builds on another project done in the early 2000s which looked at what crops were best for the area.

“What we found is that all four crops could grow well in some areas of the Tararua, but conditions differed from area to area. . . 

Rural health professionals welcome Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network:

Members of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network (the Network) held up green cards in show of support for the proposal to form a collective organisation Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network on Saturday 1 May 2021.

During the Network’s AGM at the National Rural Health Conference in Taupō, the Network Board put forward the proposal to form Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network and to transition the Network’s functions and role to this new organisation over a 12-month period.

More members turned up for this AGM than ever before to show their support and have their say on the future of the Network, and the resolutions to form the collective organisation Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network were passed.

Network Chief Executive Dr Grant Davidson says that this is a significant step in the evolution of the Network. . . 

Research shows growth in tree stock sales:

Latest research by Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service shows seedling sales hit almost 92 million seedlings in 2020, 3 million more than the year before, says Acting Deputy Director-General Henry Weston.

The findings are an annual survey of tree stock sales from commercial forestry nurseries, called the Provisional Estimates of Tree Stock Sales and Forest Planting.

“The increase in seedling sales is positive, as it shows continued strong interest in tree planting.

“Tree planting is a vital tool in efforts to boost environmental gains, and help New Zealand to reach its economic potential, particularly our recovery from COVID-19,” says Mr Weston. . . 

Leasing provides appealing pathway to land stewardship:

Leasing the farm out rather than selling it is proving a new approach to the old challenges of succession, income generation, and farm business growth, providing a level of flexibility for parties on both sides of the leasing fence.

Bayleys Gisborne director and country salesperson Simon Bousfield says with an aging farmer population more landowners are rapidly approaching a point where they may be wishing to exit their property to enjoy retirement, and succession options aren’t available within the family.

However, they can find buyers are either limited in number, or limited by a lack of financial capital to meet the property’s market value.

“But it is also a case that this low interest rate environment is a double-edged sword. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

07/05/2021


Free Speech Union launches

07/05/2021

New Zealand has a new union whose mission is to protect free speech:

The Free Speech Coalition is relaunching as a trade union under the name “Free Speech Union” and has successfully registered under the Employment Relations Act. 

That name is not ironic. We think it says crisply just what is now needed to defend freedom of speech. We need to stand with people being intimidated, cancelled, de-platformed, piled on by social media, doxxed and threatened with bankruptcy if they seek legal protection.

Becoming a bona fide union is important because defending freedom of speech has come to need the collective solidarity, the mutual support, the kind of activism that made labour unions so important over 100 years ago.

For the last two years, the Free Speech Coalition has been campaigning to prevent the growth of anti-free speech case law and legislation. The Coalition was founded in response to the statements by the Auckland Mayor and actions of his Council in banning two controversial speakers from hosting a talk at a publicly owned venue. The founding members of the Coalition saw the greatest threat to New Zealand’s tolerant and diverse culture of free public discourse as coming directly from the power of the state.

But over the past few years, it has been impossible to ignore the rise of a culture of intolerance of free speech,” says Dr. Cumin. “We have seen it expressed in the increasingly frequent instances of people suffering employment consequences for perfectly legitimate expressions of free speech. The University of Canterbury dragged one of their academics through a lengthy disciplinary process for a paper critical of New Zealand Universities’ connections to the Chinese Government. A high school teacher was doxed by a blogger and investigated by his employer for wearing a MAGA hat at an Auckland BLM rally. An Auckland Transport staffer was harassed and intimidated on social media for a comment on a private Facebook group. 

We’ve seen too many examples of people being ‘shut down’ for controversial views. We must defend the rights of workers to be able to express their personal beliefs without the threat of losing their job. We need to promote a culture of tolerance, including for those we disagree with. A flourishing civil society, where all New Zealander’s feel they can contribute their ideas and engage in robust and even controversial debate, is only possible when employers know that disciplining workers for stepping out of line is not an option.

If you fear being punished by your employer for exercising your right to free speech, if you feel you may be targeted by the media or online mobs for comments expressed in a personal capacity, if a petition could be launched calling for you to be fired; or if you want to help protect those that might be, then join the Free Speech Union today.

New Zealanders who agree with the Union’s Statement of Values are encouraged to join, support, or volunteer via www.fsu.nz

I’ve joined and I urge everyone else who is concerned by the growing danger to free speech to sign up too.


What’s the difference

07/05/2021

What’s the difference between an athlete born a girl who takes drugs to enhance her performance and an athlete born a boy who goes through puberty as a male then become a trans woman?

International sports bodies have spent years trying to get rid of performance enhancing drugs but now are too cowered by people who deny scientific reality and scream transphobic at anyone who dares to point out the biological fact that such competition is unfair.

But how can this be fair?

An IOC rule change could see Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard become the first transgender Olympic athlete.

Inside the Games website reports Hubbard is effectively guaranteed a spot in the women’s super-heavyweight category, after the International Olympic Committee approved an amendment to the qualifying system, due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hubbard, 43, competed in men’s weightlifting competitions, before transitioning in 2013.

She has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015, when the IOC issued new guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman, provided their testosterone levels were below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Weightlifting has been at the centre of the debate over the fairness of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo would attract huge media attention, as well as criticism from fellow lifters and coaches. . .

Women and men do not compete against each other in sports for very good reasons – male hormones make men faster and stronger than women and competition between them could never be equal because of that.

A trans-woman who has transitioned after puberty has the same natural advantage a man has which makes competing in women’s competitions unfair.

That shouldn’t be construed as being trans-phobic but it will be.


%d bloggers like this: