Word of the day

17/12/2021

Noggle – to walk awkwardly; to manage something with difficulty; to just about scrape through.


Rural round-up

17/12/2021

Primary producers overcome big challenges (including govt regulations) to lift export revenue in latest forecasts – Point of Order:

New Zealand’s  primary  producers  deserve   a  Christmas bouquet – or a big hamper stuffed with goodies – as food  and  fibre  export revenue is projected  to top $50 billion for the  first  time   next  year.  They are achieving this despite  the challenges of regulatory compliance, increasing costs for inputs such as feed and fertiliser, Covid impacts on freight movements and constraints around labour availability.

Total export value is expected to rise 6% to $50.8bn in the year to June 30 2022, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report released today.

Ministers were quick to hop on the bandwagon, despite framing many of the  new regulatory constraints.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the healthy growth forecast across the majority of the primary industries showed the future of the food and fibre sector is bright. . . 

Science New Zealand 2021 Awards :

This year’s annual awards celebrated 24 awardees across three award categories – Early Career Researcher, Individual / Lifetime Achievement and Team. A Supreme Award winner was chosen from the 24 awardees. 

Supreme Award Winner

The AgResearch Breeding Low Methane-Emitting Sheep Team

AgResearch’s Breeding Low Methane-Emitting Sheep leads the world in breeding sheep that produce less methane. This innovation gives farmers practical tools to lower methane emissions on their farms. As methane is a short-lived but potent greenhouse gas, this could contribute significantly in helping to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions.

Gains made by using this technology in sheep flocks are permanent and cumulative. The team’s work is gaining momentum with other livestock industries, particularly cattle and deer. . . 

Student Jo Search helps fill vacancies in agriculture, fishing and forestry – Niva Chittock:

Student Job Search is coming to the rescue of farmers and growers crying out for skilled workers.

There’s been a 76 percent increase in the number of jobs it’s offering in agriculture, fishing and forestry.

At the same time, student earnings from these jobs have more than doubled, totalling just under $7 million in the last financial year.

Student Job Search places around 27,000 students into work every year. . . 

Rockit sees strongest year yet with 45% growth:

Innovative New Zealand apple company, Rockit Global Limited is celebrating its strongest season yet, with forecast turnover up 45 percent year on year in a tough economic environment.

Global demand for its snack sized apples is continuing to grow exponentially, with the high-performing business this year recording 33 percent growth in bin volume, resulting in over 75 million apples being packed and shipped to consumers around the world. Rockit is also forecasting orchard gate returns of around NZD $230,000 per hectare on mature orchards.

Rockit Global CEO Mark O’Donnell puts these impressive results down to a combination of the company ‘doing things differently’ on the global stage through innovation, backed by its disruptive new brand and great product.

“To see such a robust result among this year’s economic challenges is extremely exciting,” says Mark. “As global consumer demand increases – and more Rockit trees are planted to meet this – we’ve implemented leading edge automation and artificial intelligence to meet our strong growth trajectory and reduce reliance on manual labour across all parts of the supply chain– which is also creating higher value, and more innovative roles for our people.” . .

Hawke’s Bay pumpkin milk wins big in New York :

A Hawke’s Bay company making a pumpkin milk has been recognised at the World Plant-Based Awards in New York.

The product, known as Kabocha Milk, is produced by one of New Zealand’s largest buttercup squash growers.

The company said squash is staple part of the Japanese and East Asian diet and the milk allows them to make use of crops which aren’t export grade due to cosmetic blemishes.

It’s milk is stocked in two high-end Japanese retail store chains which plans to extend to 5,000 stores across Japan, Korea and China in the next couple of years. . . 

Australian manuka industry hails UK trademark decision as a victory for common sense:

The Australian Manuka Honey Association is delighted that the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has rejected an application by a group of New Zealand producers to trademark the words “Manuka honey”, recognising that it is a purely descriptive term for a type of honey. The decision will have widespread ramifications in jurisdictions beyond the United Kingdom.

In reaching its decision, the IPO accepted there was significant evidence that the general public understands manuka honey is not produced exclusively in New Zealand, but rather originates from a number of places including Australia.

Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) Chairman Paul Callander said: “This decision is the right decision and a fair decision. The term manuka has been used in Australia since the 1800s and the Australian industry has invested significantly for decades in manuka honey science, research and marketing. It would be deeply unfair – and financially devastating – to deny that reality.” . . 

 


Adeste Fidelis

17/12/2021

Last year James left a comment on a carol I posted with the following recommendations:

. . .May I suggest for next year that Pavarotti is still the stand out version of “Adeste Fidelis” and that the best tenor’s version of Oh Holy Night is still Jussi Bjorling. Of all the Christmas songs “Deck the Halls” is best sung by Joan Sutherland. Most carols require simplicity and humility so you may be surprised at how well Rod Stewart sings Silent Night and Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band take The Little Drummer Boy really well. Mary’s Boy Child I just like Boney M, but as a rule the soundest singer for any and all would be Anne Murray from Canada. . . 

For the next week, I will follow his advice with a carol each day.


More than a little late

17/12/2021

The announcement of more money to increase ICU capacity is welcome but more than a little late:

The Government’s announced ICU spend up is one Christmas too late, National’s spokesperson for Health Dr Shane Reti says.

“By his own admission Andrew Little didn’t build a single new resourced adult ICU bed in Auckland in the 18 months before Delta arrived and the number of new build ICU beds in this announcement, across the whole country is only 31 new beds or roughly 10 per cent.

“This is a paltry figure when he was advised by specialists last year to triple the number of beds. If he hasn’t figured it out already, 355 negative pressure room ward beds are not 355 ICU beds.

The failure to act sooner has come at a very high financial and social cost.

“His failure to prepare ICU beds is one reason why Auckland has been in extended lockdown, why businesses have failed and why 100,000 Kiwis have had their procedures cancelled.

“Many of the announcements today are not actually new builds but “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by converting ward beds, administrative space and elective surgery beds into ICU beds. The hope has to be that these beds will then serve a dual purpose otherwise the lost inpatient beds will eventually add to escalating waiting lists for people to see specialists and have cancelled procedures.

“Andrew Little has said the first ICU beds will be next July which will be too late if Omicron lands in NZ. We need to see a delivery schedule and clear evidence that funding has followed the greatest need.

“When in government, National spent more than $200 million on health infrastructure in every single one of its last 5 years while at the same time successfully balancing service delivery and getting waiting lists down.

“What is also missing in this announcement here is the health workforce. Where is the health workforce to staff these announcements. Delta has been all about ICU and actually ICU nurses have been the rate limiting step however there is no evidence of any planning or funding to address this ongoing problem.

The government has only recently set aside MIQ spaces for ICU nurses but few if any have been used.

“New Zealanders can have little faith that the new announcements will be built on time, on budget and in scope given Treasury’s recent reports for the Ministry of Health showing that under a Labour government the Ministry of Health has gone backwards from a C to a D in Investor Confidence Ratings.

“Late announcements, poor planning, 30,000 people waiting more than 4 months to see a specialist – this is just another fail for Andrew Little and a Labour government that is more interested in health reforms than keeping New Zealanders safe during a pandemic.”

The funding wasn’t just for ICU, it was also for preparing hospital wards for Covid patients – again something that ought to have been done months ago. Instead tens of millions of dollars approved for dealing with the pandemic was misdirected to much less important projects like cameras on fishing boats.

The government has spent almost two years building up the fear of Covid and the risks that could come with its spread but has failed to bolster the health system to offset the risk and ensure that diagnosis and treatment for people with other health conditions wouldn’t be delayed.


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