Word of the day


Croodle – to coo like a dove; to coax or fawn; to cower; crouch; brood; cuddle; lie close and snug; to huddle together, as from the cold; to hold the arms and legs close to the body for warmth; to draw oneself together, as for warmth. to feel cold.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


GDT slump impacts forecasts – Hugh Stringleman:

Eight consecutive falls of the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) price index have all but wiped out the extraordinary 15% rise in the market at the beginning of March.

In the five months since, nine out of 10 fortnightly actions have been downward moves in the market and the GDT price index has dropped 13.2%.

In the first auction for August, whole milk powder (WMP) prices fell by 3.8% and have now fallen 19% since March.

The GDT index lost 1%, as the fall in WMP was balanced somewhat by butter increasing 3.8%, anhydrous milk fat (AMF) by 1.3% and skim milk powder (SMP) by 1.5%. . . 

Soil carbon context important – Jacqueline Rowarth:

It makes up approximately 58% of organic matter, which is the first of seven soil quality indicators in the New Zealand assessment. The prime position of organic matter is because of the attributes associated with it. It holds water and nutrients; soil organisms live in it and decompose it for energy (and nutrients) for their own growth and multiplication; the organisms and the organic matter aid soil structure which in turn assists aeration, infiltration and percolation of water.

A considerable amount of research has been done on building up soil carbon, and on what to avoid in order to prevent a decrease. Some of the results appear to be conflicting. Should we cultivate, strip till or notill to do our best for the environment? Should we flip soils? Can we actually sequester carbon in our soils as other countries are promising to do and so benefit from becoming part of the ETS?

The answer, as so often, is ‘it depends’ – on starting point, soil type, season, crop and all the other usual variables. Context is vital, but sometimes overlooked in enthusiasm for a technology.

The effect on soil carbon of conventional cultivation or conservation (reduced) tillage depends on the measurement depth. . . 

B+LNZ calls for carbon farm limits – Neal Wallace:

Competition from carbon farming is driving up land prices and pushing first-farm buyers out of the market, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Chief executive Sam McIvor says a commissioned report compiled by BakerAg calculates carbon farmers bought an estimated 31,000ha in the four years since 2017, 34% of the 92,118ha of the sheep and beef farms purchased for conversion to forestry.

“One of the interesting aspects which is parallel with housing, is the fact that carbon farming is driving land prices up, which is putting farms out of reach of young people,” McIvor said.

While timber prices have boosted demand for land, the report attributes a significant reason to climate change policies making revenue from a combination of forestry production and carbon, or carbon-only, more attractive. . . 

Researcher finds chemical-free pest killer to save tomatoes –  Sally Murphy:

A PhD student who has come up with a solution to deal with a tomato plant pest is hoping more large scale greenhouses will try it to prove its success.

Emiliano Veronesi discussed his research at the Horticulture Conference in Hamilton this morning.

He set out trying to find a biological control solution to tomato potato psyllid or TPP which is a bug that can prevent fruit from forming on plants and reduce yields.

And he managed to find a predator for the bug, Engytatus nicotinae, which he has since tested in greenhouses at Lincoln University. . .

Pioneering new food in Southland – Country Life:

Expect to hear a lot more from New Zealand’s latest self-declared food bowl – Southland.

The southernmost province is aiming to put itself on the map nationally and internationally for premium food products.

Southland proudly produces dairy products, lamb, beef, fish, wild meat, oysters, honey, carrots, grain, potatoes, cabbages and swedes. An oat milk factory is in the planning.

The province has the most abundant food bowl in New Zealand, says Mary-Anne Webber, food and beverage manager at Southland’s regional development agency Great South. . . 

Growers may give up double shearing due to shearer drought – Mark Griggs and John Ellicott:

Leading players in the wool and sheep industry have expressed true alarm at the oncoming shearer shortage.

It’s believed no Kiwi shearers will arrive in Australia for the rest of the year due to concerns with local coronavirus outbreaks, a loss of 500 shearers, affecting crutching season.

Growers at a field day near Warren highlighted concerns, some saying it will force woolgrowers to shear only once a year. They’ve called on government and peak wool industry body Australian Wool Innovation to increase training and have trainees working in the wool stands now. . . 

Yes Sir Humphrey


Fixes for what matters


National leader Judith Collins focused on seven fixes to major problems in her speech to the party’s conference:

. . . You have told us that you want New Zealand to be a great place to live, work and raise a family with a strong economy so we can lift incomes, invest in the environment and have world class healthcare and education.

You want a National Government that will lift Kiwis up and trust them to make choices for themselves. That will empower New Zealanders to work hard and get ahead. And to enable New Zealanders to raise families in one of the greatest little countries on the planet.

Today I announce the seven fixes that National will be talking to Kiwis about.

We must strive to lift incomes and reduce the cost of living.

Right now New Zealand is a relatively low income country towards the bottom of the OECD

Today Kiwis have to work harder and longer than their Australian cousins to earn the same wage. It shouldn’t be that way. It’s why we are again losing people to Australia. It’s one of the reasons we have a skills shortage – doctors and nurses are better off in Australia.

Lower incomes mean fewer choices for the kiwi family. It’s harder for them to provide for their families and communities. To invest in businesses. We want more New Zealanders to be in a position to have choices in life, to be less reliant upon the government.

We must create an environment where business succeeds, where we raise productivity by producing goods and services of higher value, where there is less government interference, fewer costly regulations and where business can pay higher wages because they earn more not because people work longer.

Today we start the debate on ‘How do we lift incomes so New Zealanders can raise a family and get ahead?’

Lowering the burden of government so that we keep more of what we earn would be a good start.

Reducing compliance costs and over regulation would also help.

The second is technology and its role in increasing incomes and growing the economy

One of the highest paying sectors in the New Zealand economy is the Technology sector.

This is probably not the first time you have heard me talk about this. And it won’t be the last.

It is a portfolio I have taken on for myself and one I will keep as Prime Minister. You see, a young New Zealander leaving university with a Technology degree has the potential to earn more during their life than almost any other graduate that year.

From Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, to Gallagher’s in the Waikato, to our very own Space Company RocketLab, we punch above our weight.

The technology sector represents a huge opportunity for New Zealand. Tech is one of the world’s most highly productive and fastest growing industries. With potential to deliver fulfilling, exciting, high-paying jobs of the future for our young people. It will enhance our existing industries. Help us meet our sustainability and climate change obligations and drive many of the solutions we need in the primary sector. It will drive productivity gains across the entire economy and mean that kiwis will earn more.

Farmers and horticulturists have been early adopters of improved technology and science.

Productivity increases need to be shared across our economy.

Next month we will be holding a Technology Summit to engage with the best and brightest minds from across the technology sector, and to begin to chart a path forward for New Zealand.

So today we start the debate ‘How do we nurture a growing tech sector that creates more and better paying jobs and competes on the world stage?’

The third area of focus is an area that I believe is the number one social and economic issue New Zealand faces, and that’s housing.

Every week up and down the country I’m approached by Kiwis who worry their children will never achieve the dream of home ownership.

Labour has failed New Zealanders on housing and in the process have caused disposable incomes to disappear and hardship to increase. It means people are delaying decisions like having a family or starting a business. It means less stability for families. It means children growing up in small rooms in emergency motels.

KiwiBuild isn’t their only disaster.

Labour’s changes to tenancy and tax laws have seen rental costs increase by more than $100 per week, driving up Kiwis’ cost of living and locking many of them out of the housing market. And Labour has been extraordinarily slow to address our RMA issues. Now that David Parker has released draft legislation we see Labour plans to make the RMA more, rather than less, complex.

A new prescription that’s worse than the problem it’s supposed to fix, how much worse could it get?

The way we approach town planning must change. We must give people the right to build –we can’t let home owners continue to be buried in planning rules. I have already introduced a Member’s Bill that would put in place emergency powers similar to those we used to speed up house building following the Christchurch earthquakes.

It would also provide local authorities with a $50,000 infrastructure grant for every new home they consent above their historical average. This is a short-term solution to planning challenges and infrastructure investment – a desperately needed one.

What worked in Christchurch would work everywhere else and a grant to help cover the cost of infrastructure would lower the cost of new housing.

But we also need to develop the long-term fixes that address the cost of land, funding infrastructure, and also the Building Act and the cost of building materials.

So today we start the debate: Why does it cost so much to build or own a home in New Zealand and what can we do to fix it?

Because, rest assured, we will fix it!

Our current location, here in Manukau, is quite fitting for the fourth issue that needs fixing, which is transport. Getting from here, in South Auckland, to the CBD takes more than an hour using public transport. It’s a 20-minute drive with no traffic, but at least 60 minutes during rush hour – if you’re lucky.

And, of course, this is also where one end of the Mill Road Project was supposed to connect. A project that would have helped 120,000 people. But the Government cancelled that so they could build a cycle bridge that might benefit a few thousand on a sunny, windless day!

In fact they cancelled 12 roads that New Zealand desperately needs as soon as they came to government.

It is vitally important that people in New Zealand can get home to their families quickly and safely each day. Every day hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders lose between 30 minutes and an hour, to traffic. This is time mums and dads spend away from their children. The time a tradie spends not building a house. Goods spent not moving, making our country less productive.

National has a strong record invested in the full range of transport infrastructure. The City Rail Link, Bus Rapid Transit on the North Shore, National cycle ways, and our Roads of National Significance. Rail, buses, cycle ways and roads.
National delivered on our transport promises.

We will continue to invest in rail, bus rapid transit and cycle ways. But we also need more efficient roads to de-clog our cities and free people from congestion.

In a world where cars are set to be low and zero emissions, it doesn’t make sense that we need to stop using cars.
National’s fourth big fix will look at how we can deliver the transport infrastructure we need and reduce our transport emissions. And how we help Kiwis move around their towns, cities – and farms – in a way that’s best for them.
Today we start the debate on ‘How do we get New Zealanders home to their families quickly and safely?’

Our fifth fix is education.

We must restore our world-class education system if we want every Kiwi to succeed. Young people who do well at school have options. They very rarely get into trouble. Our prisons are not filled with people who did well at school.
The last National Government made huge progress in this area.

We set and achieved ambitious targets for achievement and success increasing the number of students leaving school with NCEA, particularly Maori and Pasifika students.

But as our Education Spokesman Paul Goldsmith has been pointing out, alarm bells should be ringing in our education system today. Standards are slipping. To quote the Education Review Office, there has also been a “slippage of expectations”.

Our international performance in foundational subjects like maths, science, and English is going backwards.

If we want our young New Zealanders to experience world-class living standards and incomes, they need a world-class education.

To lift incomes and give people choices we need to back our teachers and back our school to teach our kids. From Early Childhood, Primary Schools and colleges to tertiary institutions, we must give New Zealanders the skills they need to get ahead and our economy needs to grow.

The National Party has always understood the power of education to provide equal opportunities to succeed.

Today we start the debate: ‘How do we educate Kiwis to succeed globally?’

National has always believed you deserve to be safe in your home and in your community. It’s a government’s job to keep you safe. Something that we have always taken extremely seriously.

Sadly Labour have taken a different approach. And it’s not working.

They’ve promised to reduce the prison population, not by preventing crime, but by releasing criminals to offend again.

They spend far too much time listening to ‘experts’ on the theory and not enough time listening to frontline police officers and victims of crime.

The police college was closed for six months this year. Serious assaults have doubled. Yes, serious assaults in New Zealand have doubled under this Labour Government.

We’ve seen a shocking growth over the past four years in gang activity and violent crime. Gangs have been recruiting faster than the police! Up 50% in just 4 years.

Thousands of young New Zealand men – or too often boys – have been pulled into a life of crime, violence, drug dealing, and substance abuse.

These organisations are not just “community support groups” or “surrogate families”. They aren’t “motorcycle clubs”. Or – as I like to say – they’re not “Rotary in Leather”. They are organised criminals.

They are increasingly internationally linked, organised criminals. They import, cook, distribute, and sell methamphetamine. They commit violent crimes. They intimidate and bully communities.

These gangs have not changed, no matter what they say to sympathetic journalists. They’ve just got richer.

Police seized 2 million dollars from the Hawke’s Bay Mongrel Mob in May. That wasn’t money from member donations and sausage sizzles.

Luckily for the mob, the Government is happily engaged in what the Police Association has called money laundering. And they have given the Mob $2.75 million back via Harry Tam’s meth ‘rehab’ scam.

Law-abiding Kiwis shouldn’t be asked to put up with organised crime thriving in our towns and cities. Kiwis should not have to fear gun crime.

National backs the police to do their job. National is the party of law and order and this is our sixth fix.

Labour may not want it but today we start the debate: ‘How do we make our communities safer and reverse the growth of criminal gangs?’

Our seventh fix is health because Kiwis deserve a world-class health system that treats them and their families on time.

You shouldn’t have to wait for their hip or knee operation. A cancer patient shouldn’t be left in the Wellington hospital emergency department for 30 hours before a hospital bed can be found them. Your teenage son or daughter should be seen by a mental health professional when they need it and as soon as they need it.

The past couple of years have reminded us how precious our health is.

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout is a shambles. Labour needs to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate so kiwis are safe and we can re-join the world. We must set a pathway out of Covid-19 and let kiwis have a say.

New Zealanders sacrificed last year – the government must be open and transparent about when we will be vaccinated and about their plans.

But health is more than just Covid. 30,000 people are right now sitting on waitlists that they have been on for over four months – numbers not seen since Labour were last in government. Wait times like this will see families lose loved ones. Unnecessarily.

Labour has failed to deliver, National will fix it.

Health Minister Andrew Little has announced that he will spend half-a-billion dollars reorganising the health system. That’s half a billion dollars on administration and restructuring. It will not pay for a single hospital bed nor dose of medication.

Not a cent of that money will go to hard working nurses.

Our DHBs are not perfect, they need to be much more effective, but the way to help people is to treat them, to give them their operations not rearrange the deck chairs.

Labour has its priorities wrong and kiwis deserve better.

When it comes to mental health they are just missing in action. It takes far too long to be seen let alone treated.

Labour announced $1.9 billion in funding and then went home for tea. The mental health system has got worse over the last 4 years as the wait gets longer. Families are in despair. Mike King’s programme is not a Labour Government priority but the Mongrel Mob is.

In Government, mental health will be a key priority for National. New Zealanders will no longer bear this burden alone. We will have the first Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

In health we will again set targets and demand accountability. Our focus will be on outcomes not layers of bureaucracy.
Today we start the debate ‘How do we ensure we have a quality healthcare and mental health service that retains skilled medical professionals and treats Kiwis on time?

Labour doesn’t want to talk about the issues that are important to Kiwis. They don’t want to engage with New Zealanders on the type of country they want. The important things are not being done and Kiwis are being left out. National will hold this debate.

Over the next two years we will engage with experts and the public and you, our members, to develop solutions. We will listen and we will discuss. We will demonstrate we are the Party that can deliver on our promises, and has the ability to deliver solutions for the country’s big problems. Outlining a vision to the New Zealand public. And releasing policy in each of these and other areas as we go.

The National Party is the party of strong families and caring communities. Freedoms and rights. Delivering on promises. Walking the talk.

We are the party New Zealand can trust to run the economy – to lift incomes and keep costs down. We understand it takes risk to start a business – and that the government should work with you not against you to succeed.
We understand farmers and their families. We understand they held our economy together before, during and after COVID and we value them.

We are the party New Zealanders can rely on to get things done. Labour cannot use their majority to do whatever they want. Kiwis don’t want to be left out. They want the debate. The want a say in the future of their country.

National will Demand the Debate. And remember: We are better together. Thank You.

There’s politics and there’s what really matters.

The issues highlighted in need of fixes really matter and they need a government that can make a positive difference, rather than the one that keeps showing it is much better at making plans and announcements than actually doing anything that really helps.

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