Word of the day

24/09/2021

Haruspicy – the art or practice of divination; divination by a haruspex; a form of divination by natural phenomena, especially from inspection of the entrails of animal sacrifices.

Hat tip: Andrei


Sowell says

24/09/2021


Winning the questions’ race

24/09/2021

Rural round-up

24/09/2021

The ETS is both a gold mine and a minefield – Keith Woodford:

The Government never foresaw the land-use forces they were unleashing with the ETS

In recent weeks I have written multiple articles on the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) with a particular focus on forestry. This week I also had an extended interview with Kathryn Ryan on RNZ ‘Nine to Noon’.  However, there is still lots more that needs to be said.

The bottom line is that carbon forestry is now far more profitable than sheep and beef farming on nearly all classes of land. We are indeed on the cusp of the greatest rural land-use changes that New Zealand has seen in the last 100 years.

For many sheep and beef farmers, carbon farming can now be a gold mine. The key requirement is pastoral land that will grow an exotic forest that will not be destroyed by storm, fire or disease.  . . 

A new visa scheme offering 3 years in Australia to agricultural workers threatens to crush NZ’s primary sector – Aaron Martin:

Australians must be laughing at our immigration woes.

The Australian government has announced a new visa aimed at enticing agricultural workers by offering them three years of residency to live in rural areas. New Zealand, however, has no official pathway or plan for migrant worker residency.

Why is the Ardern government consistently the loser?

We have very proud history of sporting success against Australia. We love nothing better than to beat them at anything. We’ve had success on multiple fronts but, sadly, our government seems to come up the loser against theirs. . . 

The human cost of no response :

The Prime Minister’s ‘Be Kind’ message is obviously struggling to get past Wellington’s 50k boundary and out to Rural New Zealand.

You can tell because, if there was any response from her or her ministers to the concerns Rural NZ has, I’d know. To date, the tally is 0.

As both a farmer and National’s Agriculture spokesperson I find it deplorable.

The heavy-handed approach the Government has adopted in trying to reach unrealistic, impractical targets for water, climate change, zero carbon, emissions and land use, to name but a few, has placed enormous pressure on the farming sector. . .  

Fonterra completes reset, announces annual results and long-term growth plan out to 2030:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced a strong set of results for the 2021 financial year, reflected in a final Farmgate Milk Price of $7.54, normalised earnings per share of 34 cents and a final dividend of 15 cents, taking the total dividend for the year to 20 cents per share. The results come as Fonterra moves through its business reset and into a new phase of growing the value of its business.

CEO Miles Hurrell says the last three years have been about resetting the business. “We’ve stuck to our strategy of maximising the value of our New Zealand milk, moved to a customer-led operating model and strengthened our balance sheet.

“The results and total pay-out we’ve announced today show what we can achieve when we focus on quality execution and an aligned Co-op.

“I want to thank our farmer owners and employees for their hard work and commitment over the last few years that has got us to this position. Together, we’ve shored up foundations and done this despite the challenges of operating in a COVID-19 world.

“Although the higher milk price and tightening margins put pressure on earnings in the final quarter, this is a strong overall business performance, allowing us to deliver $11.6 billion to the New Zealand economy through the total pay-out to farmers. . . 

Hawke’s Bay A&P show cancelled over Delta risk fears – Maja Burry:

The Hawke’s Bay A&P Show, due to be held late next month, has been cancelled due to the uncertainty and risks associated with the Covid-19 Delta outbreak.

Organisers said the executive committee of the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society met last night to review the risks and after significant consideration, made the hard decision to cancel.

The show was scheduled to run from October 20th-22nd. It’s one of the largest in the country and usually attracts 30,000 people to the Tomoana Showgrounds.

Society president Simon Collin said whilst the country was in differing levels of restrictions, and with Covid-19 cases still appearing the country, the event couldn’t go ahead. . . 

Scientists aiming to enhance the `human-ness’ of infant formula

AgResearch scientists think they have identified a unique new way to make infant formula more like breast milk and better for babies, using ingredients that could enhance brain development and overall health.

Research into this next generation infant formula could create new opportunities for New Zealand’s primary industries in a global market worth tens of billions of dollars annually.

With funding over three years recently announced from the government’s 2021 Endeavour Fund, AgResearch scientists Simon Loveday and Caroline Thum, along with collaborators from Massey and Monash Universities, are aiming to enhance the “human-ness” of infant formula produced from New Zealand ingredients.

“We’ve recently discovered a new natural source of nutritional oil that is surprisingly similar to the fat in breast milk,” Dr Thum says. . . 

Demand for NZ apples in India continues to grow – Sally Murphy:

An apple exporter says efforts to grow demand in India are proving fruitful with orders skyrocketing.

Although they only make up a small proportion of total numbers, exports of pip fruit to India have been growing.

Ministry for Primary Industries figures show last year 5.5 percent of apple and pear exports went there, but to July this year exports to India made up 8.2 per cent.

Golden Bay Fruit in Motueka has been exporting apples there for over 20 years. . . 

 


Government by fear

24/09/2021

Does this frighten you?

New modelling prepared for the Government by Shaun Hendy suggests that New Zealand could see up to 7000 Covid-19 deaths a year even with a high proportion of the population jabbed.

The modelling from Te Pūnaha Matatini suggests that if 80 per cent of those aged five or over were fully vaccinated – around 75 per cent of the entire country – Covid-19 would still cause a serious death toll without other restrictions. 

Hendy projects it could cause just under 60,000 hospitalisations and just under 7000 deaths over a one-year period. . .

The worry wouldn’t just be the deaths but the overloading of the health system which would mean more people would be more seriously ill with other conditions and more would die as a result of delayed treatment.

But there’s no need to be as fearful as the government appears to want us to be if, like Heather du Plessis-Allan, we look at what’s happened elsewhere:

You don’t need a model… you can just look at Singapore.    

Same population size as NZ, vaccination rate over that 80% mark now, not seeing 7000 deaths a year.   

They’ve had 16 in the last month.   

According to Hendy’s model they should’ve recorded 540 in the last month alone.   

I could run you through any number of countries with high vax rates that are not recording anything like the level of deaths that Hendy is predicting.   

in fact, even if you wanted to ignore real life and stick to comparisons between models, take a look at what the models across the Tasman are predicting and you’ll find Hendy an alarmist. 

One is predicting 26 deaths a year across Australia.  

Even the worst-case scenarios I can find come nowhere near the predictions Hendy’s making.  . .

 She isn’t the only one  to question Hendy’s numbers:

. . . Covid-19 modeller Rodney Jones, who has also provided modelling and advice to the Government, said real-world experience in countries with reasonably high vaccination rates showed there was unlikely to be that many deaths and the Government “didn’t need to scare New Zealanders into getting vaccinated”.

The Government released the modelling from Te Pūnaha Matatini on Thursday showing how much various vaccination rates would protect New Zealand.

It suggested that even with a vaccination rate of 80 per cent of those aged 5 or over – 75 per cent of the whole country – New Zealand could still see close to 7000 deaths a year from Covid-19, and an over-loaded healthcare system. 

Jones said this didn’t pass the “plausibility test” when compared to real-world results in other countries.

“That is 140 deaths a week. Singapore has had 11 deaths with just under 80 per cent vaccinated over the last month,” Jones said. (Singapore has a similar population to New Zealand.)

“If you’re going to use this model in this way it should be peer-reviewed by global experts.”

“It’s absolutely unconvincing – it really needs to be reworked.”

Jones said the country didn’t need to be scared into getting vaccinated with talk of high death tolls.

“We need a positive story. The evidence is that negative takes and the use of fear does not get people vaccinated,” Jones said.

“I just think it’s not helpful to put a model out like this at this point. We need to look to 2022 with confidence.”

Jones said a realistic goal of 80 per cent of the total population – about five percentage points higher than the point that Hendy said could cause 7000 deaths – was realistic and “the evidence is we will get fantastic results at that level”. . . 

I don’t watch or listen to the 1pm party political broadcasts sermons from the podium of truth but they attract a very high audience.

How would all those people, many of them still locked up down in Auckland, many already feeling fragile, feel hearing the need for an unrealistically high target of 90% vaccinated and the dire predictions should that not be reached?

Would it prompt anyone who hadn’t had, or booked to have, a vaccine to get vaccinated?

It might have worked for those who just hadn’t got round to it, but what good would piling fear on top of the fears those fearful of the vaccine already have?

The government has been ruling by fear ever since it grabbed hold of the Covid-19 agenda.

That’s not showing the kindness it preaches. It might have worked at first, but using scare tactics like Hendy’s modelling is unnecessary and cruel.

I have been double vaccinated and will get a booster should that be recommended and available. I think that anyone who could be vaccinated should be, but by choice not by coercion or driven by fear.

There are far better ways for the government to get more people to get vaccinated than scaring them into it.

It should also be doing everything it can to fix the multitude of problems which make health services and hospitals  vulnerable, with or without Covid-19.

The Government’s appointment of board members to head up its ill-timed and ideologically-driven health system restructure shows how out of step it is on the chronic issues currently affecting New Zealand’s health system, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“The Government’s costly distraction with restructuring the health system in the middle of a pandemic may explain why our Intensive Care Units were under-prepared and why Auckland is still in Level 3 lockdown.

“The Government has so far spent $38 million on 78 Wellington bureaucrats and another $4.3 million on 21 Ernst & Young consultants to plan the restructure project. This money could have been used to pay a premium, as other countries did, to get the Pfizer vaccine into New Zealand much more quickly.

“The Government should be focusing on the 62,000 cancelled procedures, including for people with cancer, right now rather than progressing health restructuring during a pandemic. . .

Initiatives that would empower us to look after ourselves should Covid-19 continue to spread, or resurface, in the community would also help lessen the threat of widespread disease and over burdened hospitals.

Ending the government’s ban on self-testing Covid-19 kits that are being used successfully in other countries would be a good start.

But perhaps the government prefers to keep us scared and submissive.


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