Word of the day

21/10/2021

Thegn – thane; servant, attendant, retainer; one who serves;  a lord who held his land directly from the king in return for military service in time of war.


Sowell says

21/10/2021


Rural round-up

21/10/2021

Geographical Indications are among the sensitive issues for NZ in free-trade talks with EU – Point of Order:

Trade  Minister  Damien  O’Connor  has  revived hopes  that  New Zealand  can  land  a free  trade  agreement  with the  UK  this  year  and another one subsequently  with  the  EU, following  his just- concluded  mission  to  European capitals.

Farm lobbies  had  not been  confident   when  he  set  out.  In  the case  of the  UK  we had been beaten to the punch by  Australia.

It  seemed  unlikely  NZ  could  get  anything better  than their  Australian counterparts  who  appeared willing to  accept  a  long  phaseout on duties  on,  in particular,  most farm products, including dairy.

Since then Australia  has  entered  the  AUKUS  pact,  which  particularly  riled France’s President Macron because Australia’s decision to  acquire  nuclear submarines  from the US   meant cancellation of  a  previous  (very expensive)  deal to  buy French   diesel-powered submarines. . . 

Global dairy prices rise, hurrah – but so did the Kiwi dollar, and farm costs are climbing, too – Point of Order:

At    first  blush,  there  might have been  some  cheering   in  the  cowsheds  at results  from the  latest Fonterra Global Dairy Trade  auction, with  prices up by  an  average 2.2%.  But the ebullience would have  become  more subdued as  the  reality  sank in  that the  rise in the  NZ   dollar  against the  greenback  meant the price slipped  by  0.5%  in  local  currency  terms. Moreover,  with  costs rising  on  the  farm,  maybe  there  wasn’t  anything  to  cheer  about.

Perhaps   the  only  ray  of  light  has been  Fonterra’s  decision to  offer  smaller  amounts  of  WMP on the  auction  platform  because of  strong  contract demand   in  conjunction with the  expectation  this  season  of  flat  milk supply.

And  the    auction   showed demand is highest for food-service commodities, with butter up 4.7%, cheese up 2.9%, and SMP up 2.5%.

Still,  the average price for WMP  in  lifting 1.5% to an average US$3803 (NZ$5305) a tonne is now 25% higher than at the same time last year. . . 

Carbon farming concerns threaten future of sustainable forestry :

Concerns about the legitimacy of permanent exotic forest carbon farming projects threaten the future of sustainable forestry, Ekos chief executive Dr Sean Weaver says.

“Both native and exotic forests are part of the winning formula that will make carbon farming projects economic. There is a very real risk of Aotearoa New Zealand rejecting restorative carbon farming through policy settings that tar all permanent forest carbon projects – and we could take down sustainable forestry as collateral damage,” he says.

“The 2021 Climate Commission report recommended nearly 300,000 ha of new native forest by 2035 to meet our carbon target under the Paris Agreement. We also need hundreds of thousands of hectares of reforestation to build climate resilient landscapes in erosion prone areas.

“That’s a price tag in the billions, and grant funding won’t make a dent. The investment needed means carbon farming projects need to be profitable and able to service debt, Sean Weaver says. . . 

10 percent of Central Otago-grown fruit going to waste report finds

A new report has found more than 10 percent of the fruit grown in Central Otago is not being sold or eaten.

The Central Otago District Council commissioned the research to better understand how much fruit grown on orchards in the region isn’t being utilised, as a first step to supporting ideas to reduce fruit loss.

The report was written by horticulture consulting business, Thrive Consulting, which based its findings off surveys and interviews with local growers.

It found 85 percent of the apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines grown in Central Otago did leave the orchard for local and export markets, but the rest was not being sold or eaten. . .

Wellington Young Farmers to showcase sustainable innovation :

How could technology and practices solve some of the biggest environmental challenges currently facing New Zealand’s agricultural sector?

That’s the question being asked by Wellington Young Farmers at the Club’s free industry function held in the capital next month.

Showcasing some of the best of food and fibre’s emerging technologies and practices, the event would focus on innovation, the talented minds at the forefront of change and the sheer diversity of skills and thought required to keep New Zealand a global leader in sustainability.

Wellington Young Farmers’ Chair Jessica Black said as a Club, they knew how members and others in the industry were feeling with respect to environmental pressures and wanted to highlight what was being done to tackle those challenging issues. . . 

 

Minimum hourly rate increase at all Silver Fern Farms sites:

Silver Fern Farms and the New Zealand Meat Workers Union (NZMWU) have today announced a lift in the minimum hourly productive rate paid to existing and new employees at all Silver Fern Farm sites to $24 per hour – an increase of almost 10 percent.

Daryl Carran, National Secretary for the NZMWU says the rate increase is an important step in addressing misconceptions of meat processing as a low-paid occupation, and in placing a higher value on starting level roles in the industry.

“Recruitment and staff retention have become issues of critical importance across the primary sector and competing industries with simpler systems of pay can appear on face value to be more attractive,” says Carran. . . 

NZ Fishing lodge wins two international travel awards with borders closed:

Why has a tiny fishing lodge in the back end of the South Island won two international travel awards in the same month—when it’s had no international guests since March 2020?

Owen River Lodge is one of only two luxury New Zealand lodges to be named a winner in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards .

And it’s the second year in a row that we’ve done it.

We’ve also been awarded New Zealand’s Leading Lodge in the 2021 World Travel Awards —up against the likes of Blanket Bay, Huka Lodge and Hulbert House. . . 


Thatcher thinks

21/10/2021


Bureaucratic madness & inconsistency

21/10/2021

Why would these people have to spend an extra 14 days at sea?

The 100% Kiwi crew of the NZ based ship MMA Vision managed by Taranaki based company Kingston offshore has been denied an exemption to avoid MIQ today after having already been isolated at sea for 18 days.

The MMA Vision has been undertaking survey work of the sea floor for the new Southern cross cable. When completed the submarine cable will double New Zealand’s internet capacity.

The 18 crew members all undertook PCR tests and received negative results before boarding in Auckland over two weeks ago, they then travelled to 150km east of Lord Howe island, just past the Kermadec rise in the middle of the Tasman sea, to undertake their surveying work.

On their return trip to New Plymouth the vessel has been advised that although they have not been to another country or even sighted another island since leaving, because they left our EEZ (Economic exclusion zone) they are now required to complete a 14 day isolation period onboard the vessel in New Zealand waters before they are allowed to come ashore.

The only way this would be even more stupid would be if the seafarers were taking up scarce MIQ rooms.

Once this period of isolation has been completed it will be 32 days since the crew of the MMA Vision last stood on solid ground.

Kingston Offshore applied for an exemption and the New Plymouth DHB have conducted a risk assessment and agreed that the risk is low, and exemption should be granted, however The Ministry of Health have decided to decline the application for exemption citing safety concerns.

Safety for whom? It’s certainly not safe for the mental health of the seafarers.

However the Government did not cite any safety concerns when 23 crew from the Interisland ferry Aratere was granted a full exemption from MIQ after being in drydock in Sydney this month. Allowing the entire crew to walk off the vessel straight into Wellington after a 12 day trip.

Questions need to be asked here about rules.

For the 18 crew onboard the MMA Vision it seems there is one rule for private companies, and another for Government owned companies

The decision from the MOH gets even more absurd if you consider If the MMA Vision had not crossed an imaginary line (the EEZ) they would not have had to complete any isolation, and been free to return home to their families.

Once again New Zealand Seafarers are not being given a fair go by the New Zealand government.

How can people who have been at sea for 18 days with no contact with any other people pose a risk when those at sea for 12 days don’t?

How can these seafarers pose a greater risk than people with Covid-19 who are now permitted to self-isolate at home?

It’s rules for the sake of having rules which combine bureaucratic madness with inconsistency.


‘Anger, concern and bafflement’

21/10/2021

How on earth can this be justified?

A start-up headed by an American wedding celebrant with close to zero knowledge of New Zealand literature has been given a massive $500,000 grant from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to “help Aotearoa audiences access books”.

The grant was announced on Friday, and has stunned leading figures in the New Zealand books trade. In interviews with ReadingRoom, all expressed various states of anger, concern and bafflement – and view it as a waste of a significant amount of public money.

Anger, concern and battlement are understandable reactions and the view that this is a significant waste of public money is valid.

Recommendations site Narrative Muse presents itself as a matchmaker, a kind of Tinder app that seeks to put together people with the books they’d like to read. It’s been floating around since 2016 and is headed by US-born Brough Johnson, who has worked in New Zealand as a film editor (Power Rangers, Westside) and wedding and civil union celebrant (“As a storyteller, I love working with couples to sculpt their special tale and find the perfect rituals that suit them”). Almost no one in New Zealand writing has ever heard of Narrative Muse – a position of ignorance matched by Johnson’s knowledge of New Zealand writing. Asked yesterday to name one local book or author, she said, “Um – if I’m honest I’ve never been any good at naming any authors on the spot. So obviously there’s the obvious one, which is Auē, which is by Becky, and I’m forgetting Becky’s surname right now.”

“I’m aghast,” said author Paula Morris, at the government windfall given to Narrative Muse. Morris sits on numerous boards in New Zealand literature, such as the Māori Literature Trust and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. “I looked at the site, because I’d never heard of it, and it’s essentially what Amazon is doing already, which is if you like this you’ll like this as well. Why is half a million dollars going into that?” . . .

Amazon isn’t the only on-line book seller that does this. When I’ve bought books from Fishpond and Book Depository they also tell me if I like that book, I might like several others.

It’s a service offered by any good bookshop and I get similar advice from friends who are readers.

None of these need any public money.

The $500,000 funding is part of the Government’s $374 million Covid recovery package for the arts sector. Something called the the Cultural Sector Innovation Fund was allocated $60 million over three years “to support innovative projects that improve the sustainability and resilience of the sector”. Successful applicants needed to find “new ways to add value to the economy, particularly through digital exports”. . . 

How does funding a site which ignores New Zealand publishers and pushes readers to international booksellers rather than local ones do that?

How could anyone think this grant was the best way to help Aotearoa audiences access books and that this was acceptable use of scarce public funds?

 


%d bloggers like this: