Word of the day

10/08/2021

Latibulate – to hide oneself in a corner.


Sowell says

10/08/2021


Rural round-up

10/08/2021

Staff short as calving begins – David Hill:

Immigration restrictions are continuing to be a headache as calving starts in North Canterbury.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury senior vice-president Rebecca Green said she had endured a 60-day wait to get a farm worker approved by Immigration New Zealand to work on the Cheviot farm she contract milks with husband Blair, after no locals applied for the position.

On the positive side, the Government’s relaxing of visa rules meant a farm worker they already employed has had his visa extended from 12 to 24 months, ‘‘which is really great’’, she said.

‘‘It’s tough for a lot of people. It’s just very stressful and very hard for my husband and our workers who are having to carry the extra load. . . 

Farmer confidence holds but workers concerns deepens:

The latest Federated Farmers Farm Confidence Survey shows positiveness around economic conditions but deepening concern about the ability to plug workforce gaps.

The survey, carried out by Research First in early July and drawing responses from 1,422 farmers, showed a net 18% of respondents considered the current economic conditions to be ‘good’. That’s a 12.4 point improvement from the survey six months earlier and 46 points better than a year ago after the economy was slammed by the pandemic.

Looking forward, a net 39% of farmers expected general economic conditions to worsen over the next 12 months, but that was actually a 5-point improvement on the January survey result.

“The survey was a month ago now and I think farmers were feeling buoyed by strong commodity prices,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard said. . . 

We need to bridge the urban-rural divide – Nadia Lim:

Two generations ago, most New Zealanders had some connection to farming or the land through close or extended family.

My maternal grandmother was a dairy herd tester, for example. In 2021, though, most of us are almost completely detached from the realities of producing food at scale. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why there’s such a huge rural-urban divide, and why farmers feel so under attack (as shown by the recent protests).

My husband and I regularly talk to farmers and growers, young and old, involved in horticulture, cropping and livestock. Whether they are more traditional or progressive, the main frustration is not the “why” something should be done – everyone, bar a few stubborn ones, agree on our country’s environmental issues. It’s the “how” that they’re frustrated about.

The crux of it is that farmers feel they’re being made to be entirely responsible for reversing our environmental problems, in a comparatively very short space of time, with what they feel are unworkable solutions. . .

Growing the world’s most expensive spice in New Zealand – Olivia Sisson:

The laborious hand-harvesting process that makes saffron so pricey hasn’t put off some enterprising growers in Aotearoa. Olivia Sisson pays a visit to a saffron operation in Canterbury.

When rapper 2 Chainz asked this business to make pickles for his show Most Expensivest Things, they put heaps of saffron in the brine.

Saffron is the world’s priciest spice. According to Business Insider, one kilo costs about $NZ15,000. Half-gram containers at New World set you back $10.

So what is saffron and why is it so dear? The MasterFoods packaging offers no answers. . . 

Ambitious waterway plan evolving – Sally Rae:

The green light has been pushed on the Tiaki Maniototo — Protection Maniototo project which will receive $4.55 million funding from the Freshwater Improvement Fund over the next five years, as part of the Jobs for Nature programme. Rural editor Sally Rae talks to project manager Morgan Trotter about what the project entails.

When he reflects on his rural upbringing, Morgan Trotter acknowledges it was a privileged childhood.

Trotters Gorge, near Moeraki, was named after his family and he could often be found playing in Trotters Creek, fishing and eeling, or chasing ducks.

The area comprised lots of farming and fishing families and the vibrant community centred on the local primary school at Moeraki. But the advent of drought, Rogernomics and changes in Government regulations in the 1980s caused a lot of small businesses to fall over, and the school to close. . . 

The trick to feeding ‘weed’ to sheep and not make them dopey – Chris McLennan:

Scientists are trying to find a cannabis plant which does not make sheep high.

Or at least making sure the eating of their flesh does not pass on those famous traits if they have been grazing on it.

Already trials in Western Australia and New South Wales found industrial hemp has shown promise as a summer crop for livestock such as sheep and cattle.

Scientists have been feeding cannabis from WA to a trial flock of 15 Merinos in NSW to discover how much of the psychoactive compound which induces the high ends up in their meat. . . 

 


Yes Sir Humphrey

10/08/2021


Glaring border hole

10/08/2021

Weren’t we assured that all border workers would be vaccinated?

It’s deeply concerning that 60 per cent of port workers in the Bay of Plenty haven’t had a single vaccine especially when there are 11 cases of Covid-19 in a ship off Tauranga, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

As at 22 July, of the 530 frontline border workers in the Bay of Plenty, 319 haven’t had a single jab. The ship carrying 11 Covid-19 cases berthed in Tauranga for two days.

“This is incredibly concerning. Frontline workers were meant to have been vaccinated months ago. We have a glaring hole in our border.

Aren’t frontline workers supposed to be tested regularly? If they have to be tested regularly should they not be on the priority list for vaccines?

“Bay of Plenty with our largest port workforce is the worse with 60 per cent of their workers unvaccinated, that’s higher than the average for all port workers, which is still shockingly at 40 per cent unvaccinated.

“Given the extraordinarily low rate of vaccinated port workers in the Bay of Plenty, why wasn’t the crew tested before the ship was allowed to berth?

“It’s unbelievable that the Government has let six months pass and there are still huge numbers of port workers unvaccinated. New Zealand urgently needs a national plan to get as many port workers vaccinated as possible.

“The port is one way Covid-19 could enter New Zealand. Given the huge number of unvaccinated port workers in the Bay of Plenty, and the fact active cases were on board at the time, it’s not unfeasible that transmission could’ve taken place, putting the rest of New Zealand at risk.

“The Government has left a major vulnerability in our Covid-19 response. It has taken way too long to mandate that staff working at the border in a frontline should be vaccinated.

“Our vaccine rollout is still moving at a glacial pace so if Covid-19 does get through the border, our largely unvaccinated population would be vulnerable.

“New Zealand is in a precarious position particularly with the Delta variant locking many Australian cities down.

“We don’t want to be in the same situation, so making sure all of our border workers, whether they are at the airport or the seaport, are vaccinated immediately should be the highest priority.”

These workers have to undergo the uncomfortable nasal swabs regularly because the government has been so slow to approve saliva testing and now their health is threatened.

Until all border staff are fully vaccinated they’re at risk of infection.

Until most of us are vaccinated any holes at the border risk community spread and the consequent need for lockdowns.

Until the government and the Ministry of Health ensure what they say is required actually happens, their assurances can’t be relied on and the danger of our luck running out gets worse.


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