Word of the day

28/09/2021

Sloomy – sleepy, sluggish; gloomy; dull; slow; inactive; (of grain) flaccid or beginning to rot.


Sowell says

28/09/2021


Rural round-up

28/09/2021

Fear forestry conversions impacting farming communities – Shawn McAvinue:

A Swiss company has been given consent to buy a nearly 500ha farm in South Otago for forestry conversion.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of the farm in Hillend, about 20km north of Balclutha, to 100% Switzerland-owned company Corisol New Zealand Ltd.

Corisol paid the vendors — Alistair Lovett, Mark Tavendale and A R Lovett Trustees — $4.8million for the farm, which in the consent was described as a breeding and finishing unit.

The consent states Corisol intends to subdivide and sell about 71ha of land and its dwellings and covert about 400ha to commercial forestry. . . 

Charity funding rural counselling – Mary-Jo Tohill:

It is something of a misnomer to think because farmers are used to isolation, that things such as lockdowns do not affect them the same as other people.

“I think this would be particularly true of South Island farmers,” Will to Live founder Elle Perriam said.

Her mental health charity has just launched the RuralChange initiative to fund counselling sessions for rural people of all ages.

Ms Perriam did a Young Farmers online event recently with well-known farming personalities Tangaroa Walker (Farm4Life) and Kane Briscoe (FarmFitNZ). . . 

 

The schemes and drams over reducing cow methane – The Detail:

Millions of dollars is being spent on getting cows and sheep to produce less gas.

The projects in train range from genetics experiments, using seaweed in burp-free feed, and toilet-training cows. Some of it sounds ridiculous – but the animals produce methane, and New Zealand must do something urgently on reducing the amounts our agricultural industry is contributing to global warming.

Farmers argue that the country’s sheep and cows are the lowest methane emitters in the world but nearly half our total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.

These schemes are aimed at doing enough to get farms to our targets – by 2030 biogenic methane emissions should be cut by 10 percent on 2017 levels. By 2050 the goal is for methane emissions to be 24 to 47 percent lower than they were in 2017. . . 

Technology behind Covid wastewater testing helping farmers identify disease in herd :

A new test detects whether the bacteria responsible for Johne’s disease is present in a farm’s effluent wastewater.

The same technology used to detect Covid-19 in wastewater is now being used to help dairy farmers manage Johne’s disease in their herd, a contagious infection estimated to cost New Zealand more than $40 million in lost production each year.

Johne’s disease is caused by a bacterium which infects the gut of dairy cows and other ruminant animals. Common side effects include lower milk production, difficulty reproducing and rapid weight loss. . . 

Synlait Milk reports ‘largest ever’ loss of $28.5m :

South Island dairy company Synlait Milk has posted its forecast loss as it was hit by disruptions for its major customer, but predicted a return to “robust” profitability this year.

Key financial highlights

(compared to previous financial year)

  • Net loss $28.5m vs profit $74.3m
  • Revenue $1.37bn vs $1.30bn
  • Full year payout $7.82 vs $7.30
  • Forecast 2022 payout $8.00/kilo of milk solids

Synlait’s loss was at the top end of its forecast range of $20m-$30m as it bore the cost of sharp fall in orders for infant formula from its major customer A2 Milk.

Huge boost for local growers as Genoese Pesto moves to source all basil in NZ:

New Zealand’s number one pesto retail brand has moved to source all its basil onshore, exponentially increasing the basil-growing industry and helping sustain it through the challenge of COVID-19 Lockdowns as well as boosting the local economy.

Genoese Pesto, based in Horowhenua, had until recently obtained all the fresh basil that went into their award-winning products from Fiji, having anywhere from a few hundred kilograms to a tonne per week flown in.

However, issues around supply continuity, freight costs, biosecurity, and a concern for the environmental impact of the air miles involved led Genoese to find a New Zealand grower, securing a contract with Southern Fresh Foods in Cambridge, Waikato.

Genoese Pesto co-owner Andrew Parkin says they had been maxing out the volume of supply from the farm the business owned in Fiji, and when the first COVID-19 lockdowns occurred, they knew they needed to look for the security of supply here in New Zealand. . . 


Clarke and Dawe

28/09/2021


Sir Graeme Harrison joins Nat board

28/09/2021

The National Party has appointed Sir Graeme Harrison to its board:

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Sir Graeme Harrison to our Board of Directors.

“Sir Graeme brings an impressive range of personal, commercial, and community experience to the Board of the National Party, and we are excited to welcome him to the team,” President Peter Goodfellow said.

Born and educated in Canterbury, Sir Graeme is best known as the founder of ANZCO Foods. He served as its Managing Director for 20 years, and Chairman for 14 years, leading the company to grow into one of New Zealand’s largest meat product exporters, with annual sales of around $1.5 billion and more than 3,000 employees.

In 2010, Sir Graeme was winner of the Federated Farmers Agribusiness Person of the Year, and in 2011 was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business.

Sir Graeme has also enjoyed a long history with Lincoln University as an adjunct professor, member of its Council, and in 2012 was conferred an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree. In 2015, he was also awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by The Emperor of Japan in recognition of his contribution to strengthening economic ties between New Zealand and Japan.

“Sir Graeme is a passionate advocate for rural New Zealand and our primary industries sector, and his strong leadership over the last 30 years has been inspirational to so many Kiwis,” Mr Goodfellow said.

“National backs our farmers, growers, and rural communities, who are the backbone of our economic success here in New Zealand. Sir Graeme brings an important and necessary voice to our Board table in support of those very communities.

“I look forward to working with Sir Graeme, and our wider Board, as together we move forward and seek to deliver on the priorities of the members of the National Party and the people of New Zealand.” Mr Goodfellow said.

Several commentators have made a big thing about no rural representation or people involved in primary production on the board. In doing that they overlook the president’s involvement in primary production through the board of the fishing company Sanford.

It wasn’t something that worried me. I just want a board of people with National’s values in their DNA, who put the party before their egos and who have good governance skills.

Sir Graeme ticks all those boxes and his rural connections and experience are a bonus.


Plea to pull plug on Three Waters proposal

28/09/2021

National has launched a petition calling on government to pull the plug on its Three Waters proposal:

Labour must listen to the multitude of mayors pleading for the Three Waters plans to be dumped, National’s Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon says.

“With an overwhelming majority of councils not onboard, the Government’s programme is in dire straits and its four entity model is floundering fast.

“Only a handful of mayors have explicitly supported the reforms, while the remaining 60-odd are not on board. Many are in fact urging the Government to suspend the process because they have not had adequate time to digest the detail or consult their communities.

“The South Island entity D is in serious doubt, with mayors from across the West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland writing to the Minister and asking for a pause.

“The northern entity A has all but fallen apart, with Far North and Whangārei already gone and the remaining two councils, Auckland and Kaipara, in strong opposition and likely to leave next.

“Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay mayors are against the reforms and other councils throughout entities B and C in areas like the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Manawatū are hitting the brakes.

“It’s no surprise mayors are rebuking the Government’s woeful consultation timeframe and apparent need for speed.

“National has consistently said that the supposed benefits and cost savings haven’t been adequately explained to the public.

“We oppose the Three Waters Reforms. The touted scale benefits are unrealistic, ratepayers would end up cross-subsidising neighbouring areas, and the entities would strip power from communities and steal control of their water assets.

“The Government must heed the mayors’ calls and at a bare minimum, pause the programme immediately.

“I would encourage them to go one step further and dump the Three Waters plan altogether. We must keep the ‘local’ in local government.”

Christchurch City Council has joined the majority opposed to the plan.

The Christchurch City Council has voted to inform the Government it strongly opposes the proposed entity-based model for water services. . . 

Councillor Sam MacDonald said advice from staff shows how fundamentally flawed the model is.

“What’s really alarming with this is, there has been millions of dollars spent on consultants and what have we really got? We’ve basically shown Government doesn’t understand how local councils operate,” he said. . . 

Just think how much good those millions could have done had they been spent on improving water infrastructure instead.

National’s petition has attracted nearly 25,000 signatures in three days, Christopher Luxon says.

“Kiwis are making it clear they don’t support Labour’s centralisation and control agenda.

“The Government’s model of four water entities would strip control from communities and erode local democracy, putting ratepayer accountability at arm’s length.

“The significant and immediate response to our petition shows New Zealanders won’t accept the brazen theft of water assets they’ve paid for decades to own.

“We agree that every New Zealander deserves clean, safe water. But Labour’s deeply flawed entity model is not the way to get there.

“The Government looks set to ram through their plan at any cost – including making the reforms compulsory for councils, if that’s what it takes.

“National is calling on all Kiwis to sign and share our petition, demand the debate on Three Waters, and tell the Government they can’t force their asset grab on New Zealand.”

You can sign the petition here.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith gives his views on the proposals:

This is my journey with three waters so far.

Government decides that clean water is a priority for every New Zealander, that is a government decision.

Government starts by legislating a water regulator and makes it mandatory to enforce the standard that Govt has decided upon for the supply of drinking water.

It is basing its’ decisions on the Scottish water model.

This is where I saw the first crack appear.

The regulator must ensure that all users of water get the same treatment across New Zealand.

It’s again a one-size-fits-all for everybody that uses water, no matter if you are rain fed or aquifer fed. A big difference Coasters.

The question of what it will cost ratepayers has not been considered as a priority.

Can New Zealand afford a gold-plated water management regime?

Would a bronze or Silver Plate model have been a better first step.

The regulator has already indicated he has the power of enforcement, and he will use it. I wonder what that means? . . 

Bruce Smith again:

. . . At the LGNZ conference a $2.5 billion incentive was announced by the Prime Minister to encourage councils to opt into the government three water proposals.

Westland District Council was to receive $11 million which we were advised could be used on any project and not confined to three waters. Its stated purpose was to ensure Councils were no worse off after their three waters functions and assets were removed by government.

Nothing was mentioned about strings attached by the Prime Minister in her speech.

On the second day of the conference, we were informed the money would become available in July of 2024.

It could be spent on projects consulted and approved by iwi and was not confined to three waters investment.

It was subject to councils joining the government masterplan for three waters reform.

This included the transfer of Councils three water assets to one of four companies to be established to control the allocation of water, the assets transferred by Councils, and the funding of the current and future three water supplies.

It was clarified that Maori would be granted membership and voting rights of 50% of the governance groups that controlled the three water activities and future strategic direction of each of the four entities.

The voting would be 50% Maori and 50% councils who had transferred 100% of the assets to the operating companies.

This government proposal gives Maori who makeup at June 2020 10.4% of the West Coast population and 16.7% of the New Zealand population according to statistics NZ.

Maori in commercial terms gets the right of Veto in perpetuity from government.

This is an unorthodox proposal where 100% of the population have paid for the existing assets and will be paying 100% of all future water costs.

Amongst the conversations it was observed how undemocratic this proposal was. It was noted that the proposal would create a real backlash in our communities. An unintended consequence or is it a further implementation of the HE PUAPUA report. . . 

 

 


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