Word of the day


Condominium – a building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses; an apartment house, office building, or other multiple-unit complex, the units of which are individually owned, each owner receiving a recordable deed to the individual unit purchased, including the right to sell, mortgage, etc., that unit and sharing in joint ownership of any common grounds, passageways, etc; a unit in such a building; joint rule or sovereignty over a territory by several states; the territory itself; joint or concurrent dominion; the joint control of a state’s affairs by other states.

Hat tip: Peter Isaac

Rural round-up


Women forge farming futures together – Sally Rae:

A farm training institute with a difference opened its gates in Northern Southland at the beginning of this year. Business and rural editor Sally Rae checks out how the first year of the Fairlight Foundation went.

For the past year, Emma Foss, Yvonne van Baarle and Ella Eades have lived, worked and learned together.

Now they are preparing to go their separate ways, pursuing careers in the rural sector, but they will always share a common bond as the first interns of the Fairlight Foundation.

The foundation is a female-only farm training institute based at Fairlight Station, a 2500ha property near Garston, in Northern Southland, owned by Simon and Lou Wright, and Doug and Mari Harpur. . .

Data ‘wrangler’ happy on block –  Sally Rae:

She describes herself as a recovering academic.

Most days, Nicola Dennis is happily ensconced in her home office, on a rural block of land in East Otago, surrounded by animals, and doing her thing as a “data wrangler”.

In November, Dr Dennis made the move to self-employment, establishing her own business which focused on the agricultural sector which she has been involved in since graduating from university.

Originally from Northland, her parents moved to be dairy farmers in Southland in 1996. She always had a love of animals, being outside and living in a rural setting. . . 


A day in the life of a beekeeper – Nikki Mandow:

The sun is shining, the mānuka is coming into flower and New Zealand’s beekeepers are hoping for a great season. But as business editor Nikki Mandow discovered, producing some of the world’s best honey products is way harder than it sounds.

If you want to write a story about beekeepers, you better be prepared to get up early. I talk to Alejandro Gibson, Comvita’s Taupo-based apiary manager, at 7am, but he’s already been up a couple of hours, is dressed in his hi-viz gear, and is champing to get off the phone to head off to his hives, before it gets too hot for the bees. 

Talking to journalists? Not high priority on a sunny day. 

But then I ask the question: “What’s it like being a beekeeper?” and any impatience or reluctance disappears. Gibson’s love for bees is infectious – almost an hour later, when I press stop on the Zoom recording, I’ve caught the bug. . . 

Tomato prices pull down overall food prices:

Food prices fell 0.6 percent in November 2021 compared with October 2021, mainly influenced by lower prices for tomatoes, Stats NZ said today.

Tomato prices fell 49 percent in November. However, their price was 54 percent higher than a year ago.

“The weighted average price of 1kg of tomatoes fell from $12.04 in October 2021 to $6.16 in November 2021,” consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said. “This compares with $3.99 in November 2020.”

Monthly fruit and vegetable prices fell 6.7 percent in November. As well as lower tomato prices, there were lower prices for broccoli, strawberries, and potatoes. These falls were partly offset by higher prices for apples, kiwifruit, and carrots. . . 

New Zealand winegrowers launches 2021 mentoring programme:

New Zealand Winegrowers is delighted to launch the 2021 Mentoring Programme. This programme aims to support wine industry members increase their confidence, focus on their self-development and reach their goals.

The programme matches one mentee with an experienced mentor from within the New Zealand wine industry, following a careful selection and matching process. The pair then meet regularly over the next six to eight months as the mentee sets goals, makes plans to reach them and is encouraged and supported by their mentor.

Previous mentors and mentees have found the programme incredibly valuable, with the 2021 programme the biggest so far including 18 matched pairs. Applications were received throughout September and October, matches carefully made and the mentor and mentee workshops run by Fiona Fenwick were held at Giesen’s Ara Wooldshed Cellar Door in Blenheim. Auckland mentors had their session online due to Covid Alert Level restrictions. . . 

NZ Dairy Industry Awards’ dairy trainee numbers increase:

The Dairy Trainee category has received a substantial increase in the number of entries for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

170 entries have been received in the refreshed category including 27 in Canterbury region, 22 in Waikato and 21 in Southland/Otago.

Nationally, 112 entries were received in the Dairy Manager category and 82 entered Share Farmer of the Year.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon said a total of 364 entries were received for the Awards.  . . 


Waitaki culinary capital


Three Waitaki restaurants are finalists in the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2021, for regions outside Auckland.

They are:


Yanina and Pablo Tacchini have taken Oamaru by the horns, with three thriving establishments in the town. All hail to them. Cucina reflects their Argentinian, Italian and Spanish heritage. So, there is pisco sour to drink; there are empanadas and pastas galore. But abandon all thoughts of autonomy and yield instead to Pablo’s tasting menu. As he says, “Trust the chef.” Too terrific. Tees St, South Hill, Oamaru / cucinaoamaru.co.nz

Riverstone Kitchen:

This southern restaurant experience is one that’s well worth travelling for. Just 15km north of Oamaru, it’s the domain of chef/owner Bevan Smith, whose parents, Dot and Neil, built this family farm on a bed of river stone. Bevan has at his very fingertips an abundance of excellent produce from the extensive vegetable gardens and orchards that surround and define this place. The menu changes regularly to showcase ingredients at their very peak: you can almost smell the soil from the organic jersey bennes that have just been prised from their bed next door. Here at Riverstone, they like to keep the menu short; our memories of intense local flavour will last a whole lot longer.
1431 State Highway 1, Oamaru / riverstonekitchen.co.nz

And Fleurs Place:

The legendary Fleur Sullivan’s restaurant is on the jetty, so what you get on the blackboard menu is what’s lifted from the water on the day. Pair it with vegetables from small organic growers from around the region. Drink the region’s finest, too.
69 Haven St, Moeraki / fleursplace.com

All source as much of their produce and ingredients locally as possible.

All have delicious food, beautifully presented and served by top staff.

With three top restaurants in the top 100 from a District with only about 20,000 people, Waitaki must be a contender for culinary capital on a per head of population basis.

Wasting OPM


How can this happen?

The Auditor-General’s inquiry into the Government’s funding of emergency housing reveals a shocking waste of taxpayer funds, and raises serious questions about the financial control being exercised by the big-spending Ministry of Social Development (MSD), National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says. 

The Auditor-General inquiry reported on today was initiated following a complaint from National MP Simon O’Connor about the way MSD had used taxpayer funds to procure emergency housing accommodation.

Had he not complained would the extravagance have been noticed?

The inquiry concludes that MSD paid exorbitant sums of $2000-$3000 per week for private rental properties for use as emergency accommodation, when the median rent that would typically have been paid for those properties was between $450 and $560 a week. The report concludes that “the Ministry could not demonstrate that it received value for money” and that the high rates MSD was paying for emergency accommodation “will have distorted the rental market”.

Did the people negotiating these rentals think they had to pay so much more because the tenants would be anti-social?

Did they do so to meet a government target for housing people at any cost?

Was the rental the only money paid or did they have to pay more for repairs once the tenants moved out?

“The Minister for Social Development must explain who will be held accountable for this shocking mismanagement. She must assure taxpayers of what has changed at MSD to strengthen the systems, processes and oversight controlling the use of taxpayer funds,” Ms Willis says. 

“The Minister must make it clear that the wasteful, sloppy approach revealed in this report is completely unacceptable from a government agency. There must be consequences for failures of this magnitude.

How could systems, processes and oversight be so inadequate, are they any better now and what has been done to ensure such waste couldn’t happen again?

In the private sector the people who made the decision to waste this money, and the people in charge would lose their jobs.

“Taxpayers need confidence that these mistakes will never be repeated. Sadly, there is ongoing reason for concern. 

“Emergency housing has exploded under Labour. Today, the Government continues to spend around $1 million a day on emergency accommodation for more than 8,000 New Zealanders. How can taxpayers have any confidence this represents good value for money when it’s being overseen by the same agency that created the mess revealed in this inquiry? 

“What plans does the Government have in place to ensure the mistakes revealed in this report aren’t repeated when New Zealand reconnects with the world and motels once again fill up?

“The Government must ensure value for its use of taxpayer money. This inquiry shows it has fallen very short of that standard. The Minster must now step up and ensure this can never happen again.”

The money came from taxpayers and the waste meant it wasn’t available for other areas where it would have made a much-needed and positive difference to people’s lives and wellbeing.

The extravagance distorted the rental market, shutting would-be renters out of homes they would otherwise have been able to afford.

Has there ever been a worse example of wasting other people’s money, total disregard for fiscal rectitude and complete lack of common sense?

%d bloggers like this: