Sowell says

12/05/2022


Rural round-up

12/05/2022

Rural health refused priority – Peter Burke:

“Completely and utterly outrageous.”

That’s how NZ Rural General Practice Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden describes the Government’s outright rejection of calls to make ‘rural’ a priority in the new Pae Ora Health Futures (POHF) Bill now before Parliament.

The bill is the first major reform of the health service in more than 20 years and paves the way for a completely new structure that is supposed to deliver better health outcomes for NZ. But according to Bolden, who works as a rural GP, it won’t do this for the nearly 750,000 people who live in rural NZ.

The genesis of the changes come from a review of the health service by Heather Simpson. In her review, according to Bolden, rural was seen as a priority and was mentioned some 80 times in Simpson’s report. . . 

Is it time to reconsider the rules on GMOs? – Emile Donovan:

The Productivity Commission says New Zealand needs to take another look at its regulations on genetically modified organisms – or we could risk missing out on important innovations that improve our lives and the environment

Is it time for New Zealand to reconsider its strict regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? 

In a report released in April, the Productivity Commission called for a renewed conversation, saying technology has outpaced the regulatory environment. 

While many still hold serious reservations about genetic modification, the ability to ‘gene edit – altering the genes of an organism which has been sequenced, rather than introducing foreign genes into it – has led to remarkable developments around the world.  . . 

Still some sticking points with new winter grazing rules – Sudesh Kissun:

Farmers still have some concerns around the revised grazing regulations released last month.

Restrictions on planting winter forage crops on slopes over 10 degrees and regulation wordings around ‘critical source areas’ exempted from cultivating or grazing cows are being contested by farmers.

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt says farmers welcome some parts of the revised regulations – like the removal of specific requirements around pugging depths.

Another amendment requiring grazed annual forage crop paddocks to be re-sown as soon as conditions allow, instead of by a set date, has also been accepted. . . 

Lamb exports outpace averages – Annette Scott:

Despite supply chain challenges and processing delays lamb export prices have soared to an unseasonal all-time high.

Continuing the run of record high monthly lamb average export values (AEV) since August last year, AEV reached $13.49 a kilogram for March. 

This is the highest ever recorded.

Both chilled and frozen AEV reached NZ$20.67/kg and $12.52/ kg, respectively.  . . 

Seven-fold increase in DOC land destroyed by fires concerning :

The area of Department of Conservation (DOC) land burned in unwanted fires is rising rapidly yet the agency is doing just the bare minimum to protect land and has taken no accountability, National’s Fire and Emergency Spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“Fire and Emergency New Zealand has responded to at least 109 fires on DOC land since the 2019/20 fire season destroying more than 13,600 hectares of Public Conservation lands over the past three years. To-date, that’s a seven-fold increase on the 2,003 hectares destroyed by wildfires for three years period before 2019/20.

“Cracks in the management of unwanted fires on DOC land started to show when regulatory control over Public Conservation Lands was transferred from DOC to FENZ in 2017.

“Since then DOC has essentially taken a hands-off approach to fire management on its land. DOC has reduced its funding from a ten-year average annual spend of $10.4 million before 2017/18 to a current annual average of $3.6 million for the past three years. . . 

Potential closure to sporting dynasty little golf club’s remarkable plight – Logan Savory:

Six years ago the 100-year-old Nightcaps Golf Club was facing the likely prospect of closure. Fast-forward to 2022 and the club is now home to one of Southland’s more remarkable sporting dynasties. Logan Savory reports.

In early 2016 the few remaining members at the Nightcaps Golf Club found themselves pondering the future.

The club had just seven playing members and discussions had started around leasing the golf course land out for farming use.

The likely closure of the Nightcaps Golf Club, established in 1922, fast become a reality six years ago. . . 

 


Black Heels & Tractor Wheels – Maria Kuster

12/05/2022

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.

Today we are speaking with Maria Kuster, a rural businesswoman with a twist, who along with her partner Sean runs the incredible Pure Salt boat charter business in Tamatea/Dusky Sound. 

Originally hailing from Germany,  Maria stepped on a plane as a young woman arriving in the South Island and found that Aotearoa was where her future and heart lay. 

Since then Maria and Sean have created their business to embrace conservation, right from the beginning with a string of successful projects on land and in the sea, in restoring Dusky to its original state. 

If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to visit our Instagram, Facebook, and website, or even become a member! www.ruralwomennz.nz 


Intellectual snobbery in immigration policy

12/05/2022

Credit where it’s due, some of the government’s changes to immigration policy are an improvement, including this:

The Government has agreed to temporarily exempt tourism and hospitality businesses from paying the median wage to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa into most roles.

“Instead, a lower wage threshold of $25 per hour will be required until April 2023. This follows the recent $27 per hour border exception that was granted around certain snow season roles to help the sector prepare for winter tourists.”

New sector agreements for the care, construction and infrastructure, meat processing, seafood, and seasonal snow and adventure tourism sectors will provide for a short-term or ongoing need for access to lower-paid migrants. . . 

That’s better than what’s been required in the past, but still not as good as it could, and should, be.

Requiring migrants to be paid more than locals is a type of unFair Pay Agreement (FPA) by stealth.

It’s supposed to make employing locals more attractive but with unemployment down to the unemployable, those who can’t, or won’t work, it’s simply adding unnecessary costs to businesses.

At least some of those costs will be passed on to customers and fuel inflation.

Requiring businesses everywhere to pay staff the same wages takes no account of cost of living differences in different places.

For example, workers in Oamaru or Duntroon face lower rents than those in Queenstown or Wanaka so don’t need to be paid as much to have a similar quality of life.

Then there’s the intellectual snobbery in the emphasis on skilled workers when there is a huge shortage of workers in so-called low or unskilled jobs.

These include carers in rest homes. Nurses need to be qualified and experienced. Carers do not, but they do need to have high EQ and interpersonal skills which don’t count in the immigration policy.

There are also a lot of jobs, on dairy farms for example, where qualifications and experience aren’t necessary. The skills needed are willingness to learn, the ability to start work on time, do what they have to do within a reasonable time and to the required standard, and do it every day they’re rostered to do it.

People able to do all that might not look like highly skilled to the government, they won’t have qualifications but they will have a good attitude and if the government listened to employers, they’d know that it’s very hard to find local people with that and willing and able to do ‘low-skilled jobs’, and not just on farms.

A restaurant owner in a small town knew there were nearly 200 people registered as unemployed in the area.

He approached WINZ saying he was happy to employ people with no experience as long as they were willing to learn. He was told that he wouldn’t get anyone if he drug tested them.

He said he wouldn’t drug test them and was told that even if they weren’t drug tested no-one on their books would want his jobs.

This example isn’t a one-off.

Employers in a range of businesses the length and breadth of the country are facing the same problems and still the government doesn’t understand the need for migrants who aren’t highly skilled in terms of qualifications and experience,  but are in attitude and other personal strengths and who are desperately needed and would be valuable workers.


%d bloggers like this: