Word of the day

17/09/2021

Tūmanako – to hope for, wish for.

(Celebrating te wiki o te reo Māori).


Rural round-up

17/09/2021

Migrant exodus felt in Mid Canterbury – Adam Burns:

The departure of migrant workers thwarted by visa frustrations offshore is adding sting to mid Canterbury’s depleted rural sector.

Growing uncertainty amid stalled immigration settings for migrant workers was forcing New Zealand resident hopefuls to keep their options open with Australia’s agricultural sector dangling the carrot.

Ashburton immigration advisor Maria Jimenez said several Filipino workers had joined the worker exodus to Australia and many more had signalled an interest.

“There’s no pathway to residency,” she said. . .

Pacific corridor brings some relief to Otago orchards – Anuja Nadkarni:

But closed borders to travellers has still cut off supply to a third of the industry’s workforce.

Central Otago cherry farms have been some of the hardest-hit by the labour shortages. 

The region, like many in horticulture and agriculture, has relied on a workforce heavily dominated by foreign workers.

While last week’s announcement that one-way quarantine-free travel corridor for vaccinated workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme would commence from October brought some relief, growers in the region were continuing to face challenges with filling up roles. . . 

ORC pleased with grazing compliance – Hamish MacLean:

The bird’s-eye views that winter grazing monitoring flights give Otago Regional Council staff have revealed no major breaches on Otago farms this year.

The farm monitoring flights, over three months this year, resulted in 140 follow-ups scheduled by compliance staff, council compliance manager Tami Sargeant said.

But the majority of the potential breaches identified were not related to current rules, but to new winter grazing standards, which had not yet taken effect, she said.

“In those cases, our aim is to help educate landowners about the upcoming rules and ensure they will be compliant when the rules come into force,” she said.

Ms Sargeant said staff were pleased with the level of compliance. . . 

We managed to toilet train cows (and they learned faster than a toddler). It could help combat climate change -Douglas Elliffe & Lindsay Matthews:

Can we toilet train cattle? Would we want to?

The answer to both of these questions is yes — and doing so could help us address issues of water contamination and climate change. Cattle urine is high in nitrogen, and this contributes to a range of environmental problems.

When cows are kept mainly outdoors, as they are in New Zealand and Australia, the nitrogen from their urine breaks down in the soil. This produces two problematic substances: nitrate and nitrous oxide.

Nitrate from urine patches leaches into lakes, rivers and aquifers (underground pools of water contained by rock) where it pollutes the water and contributes to the excessive growth of weeds and algae. . . 

Wool farmers see potential salvation in new products for builders, architects – Bonnie Flaws:

The strong wool sector is setting its hopes on the development of new products that could be used in building and manufacturing to increase income for farmers.

While the merino wool market continued to perform, the strong wool sector was in crisis due to competition from synthetic fibres, said The Campaign for Wool New Zealand chairman Tom O’Sullivan​.

The price of strong wool was about $2.50 a kilogram. The cost of shearing sheep was now higher than the value of the wool, O’Sullivan​ said.

But his hope was that the price of strong wool could eventually be on par with merino, which sold for between $15 and $20 a kilogram. At the very least farmers needed to break even, he said. . . 

Kiwifruit companies to amalgamate :

Northland kiwifruit growers will be delivered a stronger service following the proposed amalgamation of Kerikeri-based Orangewood Limited with a wholly owned subsidiary of Seeka Limited.

In a conditional agreement announced 14 September 2021, Orangewood shareholders are being offered 0.6630 new Seeka shares and $1.35 in cash for every Orangewood share.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the deal will further expand Seeka’s operations in the key Northland growth region and deliver a great service to growers. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

17/09/2021


All essential, many safe

17/09/2021

What’s an essential business?

The issue of which businesses are and aren’t essential during Auckland’s COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown has some frustrated and disheartened as their finances continue to dwindle.

If all goes well and COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop, the Government has announced Auckland could move to level 3 as early as Tuesday.

Until then non-essential businesses around the city are sitting tight and waiting for the storm to pass.

But the question of what constitutes an essential business is increasingly a grey area. Why, for example, can people get a box of donuts and a bottle of gin delivered to their house but not a book or a bunch of flowers? . . 

Any business is essential to the people whose livelihoods depend on it but the government and its bureaucrats base their definition on what looks like arbitrary criteria.

Confectionary manufacturing is regarded as essential, butchers aren’t.

I’ve got a whole mouth full of sweet teeth but am yet to be convinced that lollies are essential.

Nor do I have any difficulty arguing that butchers ought to be considered essential, not just to take pressure off supermarkets but for animal welfare reasons. Butchers kill pigs and if these animals aren’t dispatched as regularly scheduled piggeries will run out of space and possibly food as piglets keep coming and growing.

The more people who are at and going to and from work, the greater the potential for Covid-19 to spread, but the disease is not the only threat.

The longer most businesses are forced to stay closed, the greater the risk to their survival and the financial and emotional wellbeing of their owners and staff; and the the cost to the wider economy.

It’s not just businesses, but most hospital services that aren’t deemed essential:

A cancer patient’s accused the Government of playing with peoples’ lives, as more than 37,000 surgeries are cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. . . 

Cancer Society medical director Kate Gregory said: “If the health services were better resourced we would have more flexibility and perhaps things would be more easier.” . . 

Then there’s the toll on mental health.

Suicide attempts in 10-14 year-olds doubled after last year’s lockdowns.

A study of Ministry of Health data has shown that Covid19 lockdowns significantly increased mental distress in NZ children.

The study, published in the international Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, shows that attempted suicides in NZ children aged 10-14 years increased from a baseline of 40 per month to a peak of 90 per month following the lockdowns in 2020. . . 

If the whole Covid-19 response was better health services, business and lives would be easier.


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