Word of the day


Adduce – to cite as evidence, pertinent or conclusive; to offer as example, reason, or proof in discussion or analysis; to bring forward in argument.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Canterbury farmworker crushed by 600-kilogram hay bale during recent floods – Nadine Porter:

With a water-logged 600-kilogram hay bale crushing his once strong farming body, Dan began to fight for his life.

He had been sheltering from the heavy rain that flooded much of the Canterbury region late last month, waiting for his boss to finish a phone call before they took the feed wagon out to the cows.

He suddenly saw hay bales falling around him and shouted to his boss to move, but in that split second his choice to run forwards rather than sideways almost cost him his life.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew was in the process of getting Dan on the chopper to fly him to Christchurch Hospital when his partner arrived. . . 

Govt funds sort for Ashburton River shingle removal after floods – Sally Murphy:

Canterbury Regional Council (ECAN) says it needs financial help from central government ==to reinstate the Ashburton River, which flooded this month.

Farmers are frustrated they’ve been left with huge bills to remove shingle off their farms after the river flooded. Some have been offered $3500 from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Minutes of a council meeting in February show concerns were raised over the increasing amount of shingle in the north branch of the river – a compliance report said gravel was a serious concern and was causing flood capacity constraints.

ECAN said 60,000 cu/m of gravel needed to be removed from the river every year to maintain the flood capacity, but that figure was not met between 2009 and 2018 – gravel extraction averaged 38,000 cubic square metres annually. . .

Significant investment underway to help farmers tackle facial eczema :

We’re developing new methods to help farmers tackle facial eczema, a disease which is costing the dairy industry around $30 million in lost production each year.

Facial eczema (FE) is caused by a fungal toxin which is mainly found in summer and autumn pastures in the North Island and Upper South Island. When cattle eat this pasture they ingest the toxin which causes liver damage, lowered production and in some circumstances, skin irritation and peeling.

LIC Chief Scientist Richard Spelman says the co-operative is leveraging its expertise in genetics and diagnostic testing to help farmers combat the effects of the disease.

“We’re focused on helping our farmers optimise value from their livestock by enabling them to produce the most sustainable and efficient animals,” says Spelman. . . 

Feds advocacy on true regulations pays dividends – Simon Edwards:

The new regulations for stockpiling tyres are about to become law, and Federated Farmers is mostly pleased with the way they have landed for farmers.

“We’ve been involved in the consultation with the Ministry for the Environment for almost four years.  But it’s been worth it and shows that it is possible to develop pragmatic regulations to achieve environmental aims and enable common farming practices,” Feds environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.

“Farmers, like urban residents, do not want used tyre dumps in our neighbourhood.  This regulation makes it clear that outdoor tyre dumps are unacceptable in New Zealand.” . . 


Horizon’s workshop a chance for farmers to discuss freshwater issues:

Federated Farmers is calling on farmers in the Horizons region to get out and get involved in community meetings being held this week and next about freshwater and farming.

Feds thinks the venues which have been selected for the workshops give an indication of the areas which need to be aware of increased council concern in the future.

“So it’s worthwhile showing up to the meetings if there is one being held in your patch,” Manawatu Rangitikei Fed Farmers president Murray Holdaway says.

Topics to be covered at the two-hour workshops include Te Mana o te Wai, intensive winter grazing, fish passage, feedlots, stockholding areas, synthetic nitrogen, stock exclusion and wetlands. . .

A breath of fresh air in the debate about carbon – Joanna Blythman;

I have lost count of all the headline stories reporting that livestock farming is an environmental disaster.

You know the script. A team of researchers at some respected university has calculated that the carbon footprint of animal foods is unsustainably heavy.

With our current forelock-tugging attitude to academia, the general public, and even specialist environment and science writers take such statistics at face value because we don’t know how to examine the metrics that underpin them.

Narrow calculations are applied, measurements based on the number of calories supplied, or protein per 100g, water usage and the like. None give a rounded picture. . .

Yes Sir Humphrey


Mixed messages


The messages in advertisements about Covid-19 are clear: get tested if you have any symptoms; stay home if you have symptoms; self isolate if you’ve been somewhere someone with the disease has been; use the tracer app.

The message from the reaction to the discovery that a Sydney man has the disease after a wandering round Wellington for a weekend isn’t so clear.

People who were at the places the visitor visited have been told to stay home and get tested on day 5 and stay home until the test result comes back.

That’s clear enough but what makes the message appear mixed is the  lack of urgency in alerting people about which places the visitor had visited.

When Hipkins was asked on Wednesday why it had taken 10 hours between being notified of a Covid case in Wellington and telling the public, he responded: “There was a night-time in between’’.

How would they react if ambulance, fire of police services waited 10 hours to respond to a 111 call because there was a night in between? Shouldn’t the response to a potential Covid-19 outbreak be treated with the same urgency with which emergency services respond?

When Bloomfield was asked why business owners were informing the public about locations of interest faster than the Ministry of Health, he responded: “Our preference is to notify businesses or places of interest before the information becomes public.”

Why? The delay meant that people who ought to have stayed home had gone to work, school and other places where they could infect others if they were infected.

When Ardern was asked why the Ministry of Health had used complicated case categories that were meant to have been discarded, she responded: “Ultimately, the most important thing is there’s clear advice for people and what they need to do, and that was there.”

But the use of the complicated case categories meant advice wasn’t clear.

None of these answers pass the public expectation test that information is passed on as quickly as possible and in a way that can be easily interpreted.

The idea that the Ministry of Health doesn’t operate overnight when the country is potentially exposed to a new outbreak is baffling.

Claiming a business needs to be told it’s a location of interest before the people who visited it only makes sense if the working theory is that staff are somehow at greater risk than customers.

Even if that was the case, every applicant for a Covid-Tracer poster has to give email addresses and phone numbers. It shouldn’t take 10 hours to contact them.

In the case of the confusing category names, they were eventually deleted by the Ministry of Health after Bloomfield asked his staff to get rid of them.

But they’d already been released publicly with the first tranche of locations of interest on Wednesday morning, putting some people into a spin about what was required.

Ardern was dismissive when asked by Newsroom why the lessons hadn’t been learnt, saying the action people needed to take was also publicly available.

That assumes everyone is monitoring the Ministry of Health website, when the reality is many New Zealanders rely on word-of-mouth or snippets of news, which often would be limited to just a case category. . . 

Criticism doesn’t stop there.

People faced long delays and queues at testing stations.

. . .But a woman who was at the Jack Hacketts and Four Kings bars between 7pm and 9.30pm on Saturday, said she was turned away from a Lower Hutt testing centre because it was too busy: “We’re all in limbo. We can’t get a test. We can’t even get through to someone to book a test,” she said. . .

If you think this sounds horribly familiar, it’s because there were similar problems in Auckland during the last lockdown there.

I’m not sure which is worse – mixed messages or failure to learn from previous mistakes.

Both undermine confidence in those who are supposed to be in charge and make it less likely people will do as requested.

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