Word of the day


Flamfew  – a gaudy ornament, a dazzling trifle;  something pretty and of little value; a showy but worthless trinket.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Why farmers will be hoping for a better FTA agreement with the Brits than the Aussies secured – Point of Order:

Reports  this  week  indicate that  New Zealand is  getting  closer  to a  free  trade  deal  with  the  UK.  Trade Minister  Damien O’Connor says  NZ’s negotiators  have been working around the clock to reach the shared objective of an FTA agreement in principle by the end of August.

The problem, as  Point of Order understands it,  is that  NZ has  been  offered  the  same arrangements as  Australia  on  agricultural products,  with  a  phase-out  of  tariffs  over  11  years.

As  NZ trade  expert  Stephen Jacobi argues:

“It would be absolutely ridiculous if we were to enter into an FTA with the UK that did not put forward the prospect of free trade, zero tariffs in lamb and beef and dairy within a reasonable timeframe.” . . 

Farmers consider what would happen should they get Covid-19 – Sally Murphy:

Federated Farmers is working with the government around what would need to happen if a farmer gets Covid-19.

Currently all positive cases are transferred to a quarantine facility – but taking a farmer off their property would create a lot of issues especially in a busy calving and lambing season.

Federated Farmers general manager of policy Gavin Forrest said some farmers have raised concerns about catching the virus especially in rural areas where health care is limited.

He said they are working with the Ministry of Health around what would happen if a farmer tests positive. . .  

Feds – pragmatism prevails on winter grazing :

Farmers will breathe a considerable sigh of relief over news the government has accepted most of the Southland Advisory Group’s winter grazing recommendations, and will now consult on proposed revised rules.

“Everyone wants strong protection for our waterways but from the day they came out Feds had said a number of aspects of the Essential Freshwaters winter grazing rules were simply unworkable,” Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said.

The Southland Advisory Group is testament to how inclusive processes involving local communities and informed stakeholders are able to produce good results.
“It’s good to see the government taking a pragmatic view – a stance we’re also looking for across more of the multitude of issues they are imposing on farmers in the next three years.

“We’ll take this as a win for common sense, and for consistent advocacy for pragmatism by Federated Farmers and others,” Chris said. . . 

Poultry industry having to adapt in face of staff shortages

The poultry industry is feeling the impact of staff shortages during Covid-19 alert level 4, with some processors having to adapt their operations to try and keep supermarkets stocked.

The industry has been grappling with labour challenges since the border closed last year – with the usual supply of migrant workers and backpackers cut off.

Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said the problem had been compounded further during lockdown, as some workers had to stay home to look after their children and others were isolating while they waited for Covid-19 tests result.

There was plenty of chicken, but without enough staff some products which required more processing were not being made, Brooks said. . . 

Let’s  not kill five more people  on farm this spring :

Last year’s spring saw a spike in fatalities on farm and Federated Farmers is asking its members not to let history repeat this year.

WorkSafe statistics show 20 on farm workplace fatalities in 2020, with a spike of five deaths in August and September during the busy lambing and calving period.

So far this year five people have died in on-farm workplace accidents. One of these deaths was in August.

Federated Farmers vice president and health and safety spokesperson Karen Williams says enough is enough, farmers need to priortise their own, their children’s and their staff’s safety on farm. . . 

Golden kiwifruit orchard with a character house for sale:

Golden kiwifruit orchard with a character house, plus three residential rentals placed on the market for sale

A well-managed kiwifruit orchard producing the fruit’s high-value golden varietal – complete with a character home, three residential rental dwellings delivering multiple revenue streams – has been placed on the market for sale.

The 6.2466-hectare property close to Kerikeri in the ‘winterless North’ is known as Puriri Park, and comprises 1.51 canopy hectares of G3 (gold) kiwifruit vines planted in fertile volcanic soil with a good water supply. The orchard has approximately 869 plants.

Production data for the Northland property at 1349B State Highway 10 for the past four seasons show output has grown from 18,596 trays in the 2017/2018 season -to 26,500 trays in the 2020/2021 cropping year. Early bud counts indicate 24-27,000 trays for the next season delivering a great return to a new owner. . . 


Language evolution – Max Cryer


Yes Sir Humphrey


Vulnerable and Vectors vaccination supercharge


The arrival of the Delta variant of Covid-19 has moved the vaccination programme from its strollout setting to something better, but there’s still room for improvement:

With the Delta variant of Covid-19 having well and truly arrived in New Zealand, the National Party is calling on the Government to supercharge the vaccination rollout throughout the country with a new strategy, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“New Zealand has been the slowest in the OECD to rollout the vaccine and the Government’s negligent approach has created vulnerabilities that Delta has exposed.

“What we need to do now, while we battle Delta in lockdown, is urgently reset our vaccination strategy and supercharge it to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We should be aiming for at least 100,000 vaccination doses administered per day, every day.

“We also need to target our frontline border and high-risk workers, younger people who are vectors for the virus, and accelerate delivery of the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds.

“A short-term elimination strategy can only work in tandem with a far more aggressive and accelerated vaccination programme if we are to avoid future lockdowns and get New Zealand back on an even footing with the outside world.”

National’s vaccination plan is called ‘Vulnerable and Vectors’. Spearheaded by Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop, National’s plan has five main components.

1. Urgently vaccinate the vulnerable

All frontline workers most exposed to Covid while lockdowns at levels 3 and 4 are ongoing must receive priority vaccination. This includes supermarket workers and healthcare workers, as well as our hard-working New Zealand police. It is appalling that only 40 per cent of police officers have been vaccinated – more prisoners than police have been vaccinated. Police officers are out there enforcing lockdown rules but most don’t have the protection of vaccination.

It is imperative we vaccinate remaining frontline workers at our border and in high-risk settings and remove those from the frontline who aren’t vaccinated. It is scandalous that, seven months into the vaccine rollout, more than a third of all frontline port workers still aren’t vaccinated.

We also need to quickly complete vaccination of people in groups 2 and 3 – our most vulnerable Kiwis. Our plan tasks GPs with going through practice rolls and identifying who should be getting a vaccine. They know their patients and have the relationships to get people getting vaccinated, but GPs have been woefully under-utilised in the vaccine rollout so far.

2. Vaccinate the vectors

National suggests a higher priority for 20-30-year-olds. The experience from overseas, and now here in New Zealand, is that Delta spreads rapidly among younger people who are more socially active and mobile. Two-thirds of cases in the current outbreak are in people aged under 30. Younger people are vectors for Covid and it makes sense to target people in this age group. Only yesterday (25 August) was eligibility to book extended to 30-year-olds.

We must administer the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds in schools before the end of the year. The Government took two months to affirm Medsafe’s decision to approve extending the rollout to this age group and there are no plans to vaccinate children in schools before the end of the year. This is a massive wasted opportunity and planning should begin immediately to vaccinate children in the settings where they spend many hours each week.

3. Supercharge the rollout

New Zealand has been woefully slow at rolling out the vaccine – the slowest in the developed world – even though we were told we were at the front of the queue. We need a target of at least 100,000 vaccination doses administered per day from here on.

To achieve this we need to make much more use of GPs and pharmacists. Only 12 out of 400 pharmacists in Auckland have been “onboarded” into the system and there are multiple reports of GPs waiting many weeks to be approved to give vaccinations. GPs have always been critical to the rollout, yet the Government has ignored them. GPs and pharmacists need to be embraced and encouraged to do what they do best – serve their community.

It is imperative we raise urgently vaccination rates among Māori and Pasifika and as Auckland City’s Manukau councillor Efeso Collins says, we need a much more grassroots approach to partner with civil society and work with churches and community groups.

4. Plan for the future

New Zealand must immediately order vaccine boosters. It beggars belief that New Zealand has still not ordered any Pfizer boosters. Meanwhile, the United States has announced it will start its booster programme in September, while Australia and other countries have already ordered millions of doses. As it stands, New Zealand will be at the back of the queue once again.

5. Get moving on ‘true’ vaccine passports

There are multiple reports reaching National MPs of New Zealanders who have had the double dose of Pfizer vaccine but are unable to prove it to overseas authorities.

Vaccine passports are inevitable. It is clear the Government has dropped the ball on this critical component of our plan to reconnect with the world. The urgent development of a vaccine passport that can be properly relied on overseas is critical.

This is what you call model oppositioning.

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