Word of the day


Apanthropy – an aversion to human company; love of solitude; the desire to be away from other people and to be left alone.

Rural round-up


Wool price making a comeback as overseas demand for product rises :

Higher demand for sportswear, rugs and other wool products has resulted in a resurgence in wool prices.

Prices across all wool types lifted in the year to October, Beef and Lamb’s latest wool export data shows.

Merino was up 28.4 percent to just over $18,000 a tonne and strong wool, which has been struggling with depressed prices, rose 12.1 percent.

PGG Wrightson general manager of wool Grant Edwards said prices are lifting due to higher demand. . . 

Commercial beekeeper numbers drop amid low prices – Maja Burry:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ latest apiculture monitoring report showed the number of beekeepers with 500 or more hives fell by 9.9 percent to 316 oin the 2020/21 season.

This follows a 7.6 percent drop the previous season.

The total number of registered hives in New Zealand also fell over the last two years to 806,000.

Prior to this the commercial honey industry had been experiencing growth, with a jump in the popularity and price of manuka honey driving a boom in production. . .

NZ agriculture is starting to see value in celebrating its provenance – Tina Morrison:

Much of New Zealand’s agricultural produce is sold as unbranded commodities on global markets. But that’s starting to change as companies discover there is value in heralding their Kiwi provenance.

“New Zealand has got a really strong story and that’s something that we haven’t really told in the past,” says Lincoln University agribusiness and food marketing programme director Dr Nic Lees. “We are making progress. I think we have started on that journey.”

Fonterra, the country’s largest dairy company, has been vocal about its shift in focus under new chief executive Miles Hurrell. Where his predecessor Theo Spierings envisaged the co-operative becoming another big global conglomerate like Danone or Nestle, Hurrell has sold off overseas assets and pulled back to New Zealand to focus on getting more value from the “white gold” produced by local farmers.

Hurrell says Fonterra is only now amplifying the New Zealand provenance message it always knew it had as demand has increased across its global markets to know more about the origin and purity of food. . . 

MLA becomes major supporter of award benefitting Australasian agriculture:

In an exciting development for future leaders in agriculture, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) have announced their partnership with Australasian agricultural badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.

The Award, which recognises talented young individuals from Australia and New Zealand who want to make a difference in agriculture, helps take people’s careers to the next level for the betterment of the industry on both sides of the Tasman.

This is delivered through an impressive personal development plan for the finalists on both sides of the Tasman, and a ‘money can’t buy’ prize package for the winners. This prize includes media training, further education, and a tailored mentoring program across both countries, where they spend time up close and personal with some of the biggest leaders and influencers in the sector. . . 

Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers announced for 2021:

The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Fellows award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

From making strides in wine governance to adding sparkle to the wine industry, the 2021 NZW Fellows are a group of highly respected and influential individuals who have helped to shape the success of New Zealand wine today.

We are pleased to announce the NZW Fellows for 2021: Steve Smith MW for service to NZW, Wine Institute of New Zealand, and other initiatives, John Clarke for service to NZW and New Zealand Grape Grower’s Council (NZGGC), Andy Frost for service to national research, Rudi Bauer for service to New Zealand Pinot Noir, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun for service to New Zealand bottle fermented sparkling wine. . . 

Eating less meat no climate solution – Shan Goodwin:

AUSTRALIAN-SPECIFIC research is showing the climate benefits of reducing red meat consumption below amounts recommended in dietary guidelines is small and could create negative environmental trade-offs such as higher water scarcity.

The industry’s big service provider Meat & Livestock Australia has released a fascinating report on the topic, which draws extensively from research conducted by CSIRO and other institutions.

Against a backdrop of increasing calls for affluent societies to significantly cut red meat consumption in the name of the environment, the work shows getting Australians to eat less beef is not an effective climate solution.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 65 grams of lean, cooked, unprocessed red meat a day.

The MLA report, called The Environmental Impact of Red Meat in a Healthy Diet, points out that Australian lamb production is in fact climate neutral already. Further, the water and cropland scarcity footprints of Australian beef and lamb are low. . . 

Sowell says


Late again


Funding for more ICU beds is welcome but late:

The Government is going to pump $644million dollars into ICU capacity and operational costs.

But health experts and opposition parties say while the money is welcome, it is going to take time to build capacity and train staff.

New Zealand currently has one of the lowest ICU bed per capita in the OECD.

Health Minister Andrew Little says the health system has coped remarkably well with the recent outbreak, but things could soon change.

“With the traffic light system, Covid is going to move around the country. We needed to know we’ve got…doing everything we can to maximise ICU capacity.”

Why has it taken so long for the government to work this out and do something about it?

Why is the government incapable of learning from what’s happened overseas and its own mistakes?

Just like the vaccine strollout, the government has been late and lax, and has misplaced its focus:

National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti said given the time pressure the Government need an implementation plan and quickly.

He said the Government also needed to look at where there is most likely to be an outbreak and where ICU capacity is marginal- such as Tairāwhiti, Lakes, Whanganui and Northland.

“I would chose those areas because when you’ve got a small number of ICU beds like that it wouldn’t take much of ordinary business as usual to take one of those beds- you know, the non-coronavirus stuff that’s giving us that 70 to 80 percent occupancy rates already and then suddenly your ICU capacity is significantly reduced,” he said.

But overall he said this could have all been avoided earlier in the year, by repurposing of the money being used for the health restructure.

“A portion of that money would have more than doubled our ICU capacity and now here we are at the end of the year having this epiphany. I think we could have made these decisions earlier and better use of health funding,” he said. 

Every dollar can be spent just once, wasting money, and time, on a complicated restructuring when there are so many more urgent needs for health spending is another of this government’s serious mistakes.

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