Word of the day

11/01/2022

Willowwacks – an uninhabited, wooded area.


The Lost Country of the Pacific

11/01/2022

It’s Australia, but it could also be New Zealand.


Rural round-up

11/01/2022

A humbling and rewarding career – Annette Scott:

Deer Industry New Zealand producer manager Tony Pearse admits his career was not necessarily planned, but rather one of one of huge discovery. He talked with Annette Scott.

As Tony Pearse looks back on a long and exciting career in the deer industry, he says what evolved is best described as a “huge career of discovery”.

“There’s never been a great amount of planning in my life, but what has come out every step of the way has been thoroughly enjoyable and hugely rewarding,” Pearse said. 

Pearse, who has been around the deer industry for 40-odd years, retired last month – taking with him a reputation he says is “humbling to the core”. . . 

Nutrient claims are crap! – Jacqueline Rowarth:

A debate has emerged in nutrient management and fertiliser advice, brought to a head by the hype about regenerative agriculture.

Proponents of the latter are telling farmers that the soil has thousands of years of nutrients and synthetic fertiliser isn’t required. The theory is that animals, including worms and other organisms, will make the nutrients available in their excreta.

The opposite approach from soil scientists is that to maintain soil quality, what is removed in animal and plant harvest (or lost to the environment) must be replaced. If improvements in soil quality are required (development), more nutrients than removed will be required.

This maintenance or development approach was pioneered in New Zealand by soil scientists in the 1970s and 1980s. They initiated the Computerised Fertiliser Advisory Service with soil tests investigated, chosen for appropriateness for New Zealand soils and then calibrated for New Zealand conditions rather than those of the northern hemisphere. . .

Helping to make science useful – Colin Williscroft:

When Trish Fraser arrived in New Zealand from Scotland to study, she had no idea she would still be here more than 30 years later. During that time, she has made a valuable contribution to the rural community as a soil scientist. Colin Williscroft reports.

Plant & Food Research soil scientist Trish Fraser likes to take a practical approach to communicating science to farmers, believing that’s the most effective way of getting her message across.

Fraser, the 2020 Rural Woman of Influence award winner, has attended plenty of field days over the years and she believes the practical approach is appreciated by farmers.

“Farmers are kinesthetic learners and as such like to be able to see and touch things, so I try to have demonstrations that after you’ve seen it, hopefully you’ll remember it,” Fraser said. . . 

Gaining the Knowledge – Sheryl Haitana :

Open Country’s new farm environmental plan tool has helped increase
Mike van Marrewijk’s knowledge so he can build a more sustainable and profitable business for the next generation. Sheryl Haitana reports.

Dairy farmers don’t want to give their kids a hospital pass in the future, with a farming business that is not set up to survive under environmental regulations.

The number one vision for Mike Van Marrewijk is to have a sustainable farm for the next generation. Whether his children decide to go farming or not, he wants to ensure he’s passing on a viable farm that is operating profitably.

“You don’t want to pass on a shambles.” . . 

Plasback on a growth spurt :

Agricultural recycling business Plasback has come a long way since it collected its first consignment of used silage wrap from South Cantebury farmers John and Noelie Peters in 2007.

In the past 13 years it has collected more than 20,000 tonnes of waste plastic from farms up and down New Zealand.

While 2021 was a rough year for many, Plasback has delivered some good news for the environment. Over the past six months, the rate at which silage wrap and other used plastics directly from farms around the country has nearly doubled.

In the period from 1 July to 31 December, Plasback collected 2,500 tonnes of plastic. This compares to 2,600 tonnes in the entire year prior to that. . .

New handbook shows farmers how to plant for bees :

A handbook offering practical guidance on how to plant strategically to feed bees is now available free to New Zealand farmers.

The document brings together knowledge from 10 years of field and laboratory research by the New Zealand Trees for Bees Research Trust, with significant financial support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and other funders.

“It’s a useful tool to assist farmers support the bees, and incorporate into their on-farm planting for biodiversity and other environmental benefits that customers are now demanding,” says Dr Angus McPherson, Trees for Bees farm planting adviser and trustee, one of the lead researchers for the handbook.

“The beauty of our approach is that farmers don’t need to set aside land specially for this planting. . . 


Black Heels and Tractor Wheels – Sarah Perriam

11/01/2022

Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.

Sarah Perriam is creative director at Perriam Media, media personality and self-proclaimed ‘truthfluencer’.


Another economic blunder

11/01/2022

The government’s plan to introduce an unemployment insurance scheme is, Dennis Wesselbaum says, another of its blunders:

We do not have details about its precise design, but what we hear is that the new scheme will pay up to 80 per cent of income for up to half a year, if an employee loses their job. In any case, the reform will be a historic turning-point.

This policy, however, will reduce welfare (wellbeing would be more politically correct), increase unemployment, increase the duration of unemployment, reduce income, increase inequality, and lead to higher inflation. This outcome is robust and well-known in the field of macro-labour economics.

Recent experiences in Spain and Germany have shown that increasing the duration of unemployment insurance increases level and duration of unemployment. The probability of being unemployed for 12 months, for example, increases from 15 per cent to 40 per cent, if you move from a no unemployment insurance scheme to a one-year unemployment insurance scheme.

Hence, this leads to more (long-term) unemployment. . . 

The longer people are unemployed, the harder it is for them to re-enter the workforce.

Anything which encourages longer term unemployment is economic and social sabotage.

In Opposition Labour was highly critical of increasing inequality but this policy will make it worse.

Those workers who are employed enjoy a higher wage, but there will be fewer of them. This will increase income inequality in the economy. Importantly, overall welfare in the economy decreases.

Firms face higher labour costs which increases prices and creates inflation.

With less consumption, production falls, and overall income in the economy drops. . . 

More unemployment requires more to be spent on benefits and fewer people working leads to less tax being paid.

This will reduce fiscal space to deal with future recessions and restricts spending for important long-run factors such as infrastructure, education, or health.

Even worse, be prepared to have lower incomes, because all of this will be financed via an income tax increase. Taxes will increase by about 3-4 per cent. This tax hike will damage economic growth, by reducing incentives to invest and work. This will additionally shrink the supply side, which further fuels inflation.

In conclusion, you will be paying higher income taxes, have lower income, and pay higher prices such that the Government can implement a policy which will be harmful for the economy in many ways and reduces welfare – which this Government claims to be its raison d’être.

This reform is against every lesson economists have learned.

In my opinion, this shows the Labour Government does not care about designing useful economic reforms that would lead to better outcomes, but rather does whatever is required to transform Aotearoa into a socialist welfare state with a central government controlling all aspects of life.

Few, if any, people would never have an accident which is a good argument for ACC.

Few, if any, would never need hospital treatment which is an argument for a health insurance scheme, perhaps similar to Singapore’s.

But very few people are made redundant which makes the unemployment insurance scheme just a tax by another name that will do far more harm than good.

The blundering doesn’t stop there.

The proposal to impose UnFair Pay Agreements on employers and their staff  will compound the economic and social damage the government is inflicting on the country.


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