Word of the day


Gyre – a circular or spiral motion or form; a ring or circle; a circular course or motion; a ringlike system of ocean currents rotating clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwisein the Southern Hemisphere; to whirl; turn; gyrate; revolve.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Howl of a protest on the way – Sally Rae:

“Farming could be a joy but really it’s a bloody nightmare.”

Jim Macdonald has been farming Mt Gowrie Station, at Clarks Junction, since 1970 and he has worked through difficult times.

What farmers were battling now had been “created by a government that does not understand and does not even want to understand,” he said.

On Friday, Mr Macdonald will take part in Howl of a Protest, a New Zealand-wide Groundswell NZ-organised event to show support for farmers and growers. . .

National MPs Out In Strong Support Of Farmers :

This Friday rural communities up and down New Zealand will stage a protest at the overbearing government interference in their businesses and lives, and National MPs will be right there supporting them, National’s Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett says.

The protests are organised by Groundswell, a community based group formed as a result of the unworkable Freshwater reforms in Southland. It has expanded nationwide and the recent Ute Tax announcement has seen urban communities become involved as well.

“Our rural communities worked hard to get New Zealand through the Covid-19 pandemic, they are the backbone of our economy,” Mr Bennett says. . .

Concern over calving season amid labour shortage – Neal Wallace:

They may have had one of their highest ever milk payouts but dairy farmers are anxious about the human toll of the looming calving season, as the industry grapples with an estimated shortage of 4000 workers.

Federated Farmers board member Chris Lewis says the industry’s reliance on immigrant workers will remain, at least until the Government changes to vocational training is completed, which could be several years.

He believes the Government’s recently announced plans to curb migrant workers is shortsighted and will hinder the country’s ability to utilise high international product prices and demand to repay debt, which is growing at over $80 million a day. . .

NZ has reached ‘peak milk’ Fonterra CFO warns – Farrah Hancock:

We’ve reached “peak milk” and are entering the era of “flat milk”, Fonterra’s chief financial officer warns.

Marc Rivers said he couldn’t see the volume of milk New Zealand produces increasing again, “so, I guess we could go ahead and call that peak milk”.

Environmental restrictions were impacting how much more land the dairy industry could occupy.

“We don’t see any more land conversions going into dairy – that’s quite a change from before,” he said. . . 

Vets may choose Oz over NZ – Jesica Marshall:

Border restrictions are putting a roadblock in the way of getting more veterinarians to New Zealand and some are even choosing to go to Australia instead, a recruitment consultant says.

Julie South, talent acquisition consultant with VetStaff, told Rural News that while many overseas vets are keen to work in New Zealand, some don’t mind where they end up.

She says prior to the Government’s announcement that 50 vets would be granted border class exceptions, she’d been working with vets who were considering both Australia and New Zealand as potential places to work in. “However, because the Australian government made it super-easy for them to work in Australia, that’s where they opted to go,” she says. . . 

Farmers facing six-figure losses as salmonella-entertidis wrecks poultry industry:

The poultry industry is in a state of shock and companies are facing huge financial hits following the detection of Salmonella Enteritidis.

Poultry Industry Association and the Egg Producers Federation executive director Michael Brooks said it had been detected in three flocks of meat chickens and on three egg farms in the North Island with some linked to a hatchery in the Auckland area.

None of the affected eggs or meat had entered the market for human consumption, but it was a blow to the industry, he said.

“We’ve never had Salmonella Enteritidis before in this country in our poultry industry. This has been a real shock to the industry but we are meeting the concerns and we will be putting place through a mandated government scheme – which we agree with – to ensure testing is of the highest level and consumers are protected.” . . 

New Zealand tractor and equipment sales continue to grow:

The first half of 2021 has got off to a superb start for sales of farm equipment.

Tractor and Machinery Association of New Zealand (TAMA) president Kyle Baxter said there had been substantial sales increases across all tractor horsepower segments and equipment compared with the same time last year.

Mr Baxter said the big increases reflected a continuing catch up in on-farm vehicle investment as farmers looked again to the future.

“It’s fantastic to see the confidence continue across all of the sectors, and in turn this confidence flowing into wider economy. . .

Yes Sir Humphrey


You don’t save money by spending billions


Several councils aren’t convinced Three Waters is worth supporting and Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon has joined the chorus questioning the proposals:

…You have seen a few scary numbers, and the massively misleading advertising campaign, where the Government claim that without water reform there is the potential for astronomical increases in household costs and awful environmental outcomes.

As far as our Council can tell having gone through their data both of these statements are not true and the Council and I have serious concerns about the information and approach. . .

Not only is the government using our money to indoctrinate us, what they’re telling us isn’t true.

Our first concern is the public relations line or ‘spin’ the Government keep repeating which is that “there is a proven case for change”.

This simply isn’t correct. The Government are claiming for the Three Waters system across New Zealand they’re going to gain efficiencies of over 45 percent. They claim without reform water costs per household could increase up to $3,000 annually by 2051 and that with reform costs will only be $1640.

This despite investing an additional $120B to $150B and employing up to 9000 new staff. You don’t save money by spending billions of dollars and employing thousands of people. It just doesn’t stack up.

How can spending billions on increased centralisation and bureaucracy save money?

It’s also impossible to state the future costs or dollars required for further investment ahead of new standards being released.

How can anyone know the costs without knowing what standards are to be met? That sounds like being told how much it will cost to fuel a vehicle without knowing how far it has to travel.

We know the numbers in Waimakariri. We ought to as we’ve invested over $100M in water infrastructure over the last 20 years and have a budgeted plan in place for managing these assets for the next 100.

The Government should know our data as well – we supplied it to them – but they’ve made some exceptionally broad and arbitrary statements about the quality of water in Waimakariri. We have commissioned experts to review these statements and provide us with advice.

We’ve asked to see the Government’s data and economic modelling, but to date this isn’t forthcoming. They’re also not providing information on how we have been labelled a ‘band 3’ service provider despite Waimakariri having some of the best water infrastructure in the country. We take great pride in providing our communities with safe and reliable drinking water.

At the moment they’re not meeting their obligations as part of our agreement which is ‘to work together’, this concerns us. . . 

Who is more trustworthy – a council that knows its own data or a government  that won’t provide the information on which it’s based its exceptionally broad and arbitrary statements?

What we want and need is to see the information, not hear the PR spin.

We need this to have an honest conversation with our community about these proposals and so we can make an informed decision. These are ratepayer owned assets after all.

Ratepayer assets the government would seize if Three Waters goes ahead.

Then there’s the problem of little if any local representation.

People in Waimakariri care about having a say and knowing there is someone they can hold accountable when things go wrong. The recent flooding event is an example of our Council being able to quickly respond and make decisions that protect our community.

The Government proposal takes meaningful ownership of our assets away from the community. Merging almost all of the South Island into one entity is going to mean Waimakariri locals have little to no representation, control or influence.

Where would you rather have control during a flood – a local office with local people and local knowledge, or  a remote, centralised  headquarters relying on maps and theory rather than practical experience?

There are concerns about cross-subsidisation. The most likely situation is that if this goes ahead our ratepayers will subsidise other Councils that haven’t properly invested in water as opposed to getting better outcomes themselves. . . 

The Minister has said that Aucklanders will be paying for Northland assets. That will happen all over the country with people in council areas that have invested in good water infrastructure paying for those who haven’t.

Based on the limited information presented so far, the view of the Councillors and myself would be that we do not join the Governments reform programme. At this point we are not convinced there are benefits for the Waimakariri community.

We’ve been told that this reform programme is voluntary. Lately we are hearing that this choice may be taken away, and the Government may legislate and override our community’s democratic rights.

We expect that the Government honour their agreement and allow each Council and community to have the choice to opt in or out. . . 

Waimakariri isn’t alone in not seeing benefits and wanting to opt out. The fear is the government won’t allow them to.

In summary, our Council has worked hard to upgrade our Three Waters infrastructure over the last 20 years. We are proud of this. This reform programme appears to us to ask our ratepayers to subsidise other communities. This isn’t fair or equitable. At this point we see no gains but higher costs for our community.

What happens where the water is already okay?

All people where councils have kept up repairs, maintenance and replacement of their water infrastructure will have no gains and higher costs to start with.

Eventually everyone everywhere will have pay more because of the deadweight of the the centralised bureaucracy. We’ll also lose local ownership and control and almost certainly have poorer service.

Some councils need to urgently upgrade their water infrastructure but there’s a better way to ensure they do that than centralising ownership and making everyone pay for it.

Apropos of paying, that’s already started. Karl du Fresne says we’re funding our own indoctrination:

. . . That’s right: we’re paying for an extravagant advertising campaign aimed at persuading us that the government’s grab for control over the nation’s water infrastructure is in our own best interests.

Even as the government is going through the motions of seeking endorsement from the 67 local authorities that stand to lose control over a crucial part of their operations, it’s trying to go around them by pitching directly to us – in effect, circumventing its own process. And we’re picking up the tab – in other words, funding our own indoctrination.

If nothing else impresses you about Jacinda Ardern’s government, you have to gasp at its sheer hubris. This is a government that thinks the public so passive and malleable that it can get away with anything.

Regardless of what you think about the Three Waters proposal (and my main concern, as with many of this government’s initiatives, is that it represents a further centralisation of power and erosion of local autonomy), it’s a breathtakingly brazen misuse of taxpayers’ money.

There might be a case for a fact-based information campaign (Ha! Faint chance, I hear you say) setting out the arguments for and against the plan. That might have provided some helpful context for the debate the country needs to have before deciding whether Three Waters is worth supporting.

But this campaign doesn’t pretend to explain anything. It doesn’t have so much as a fig-leaf of legitimacy. It’s targeted at the same gormless, credulous lot who swoon with admiration for Greta Thunberg. Not content with misusing our money, the government and its advertising agency (Who are they? They should be named and shamed) insult the nation’s intelligence with a propaganda campaign that’s thumb-suckingly fatuous. . . 

The government is spending $3.5million of our money attempting to indoctrinate us about proposals that, contrary to the wording in the propaganda, will not make our water better than fine.

More councils must follow the lead of Waimakariri and others telling the government to keep their hands off our water infrastructure.

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