Word of the day


Identitarianism – the set of ideas arising from an ontology of identity; relating to or characteristic of politics in which the political interests of a particular racial, ethnic or national group are given priority; belief that group identity is the most important thing about a person, and that justice and power must be viewed primarily on the basis of group identity rather than individual merit; politics based on social identity.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


It’s not the red meat that’s bad for the planet, it’s us – Joe Bennett:

I used the article to light the log-burner, but I remember the first sentence: “We all know that red meat is bad for the planet.”

Well now, let’s start at the start. We don’t all know this. We may have been told it, and told it repeatedly, but that is not the same as knowing it and neither does it make it true. As a boy I was told many things, including that if you played with it, it fell off, and that god was in heaven. These two in particular seemed antithetical. Luckily neither proved true.

Now, it is possible to take a moral stance against red meat, to argue that it is wrong to end the lives of other creatures to sustain our own. To do so, however, is to condemn every living thing. From bacteria to whales, life on earth consists of things eating each other. The pretty little swallows that nest in my garage murder insects by the million.

But the author doesn’t seem to be taking this moral stance. He or she asserts only that red meat is “bad for the planet”, and presents this notion as if it were scientific fact. But red meat isn’t bad for the planet. The planet is a durable beastie that will continue to orbit the sun regardless of how many pork chops you and I may eat. . . 

Primary Industries on track for $52.2 billion in exports :

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report shows New Zealand’s food and fibre sector export revenue is expected to reach a record $52.2 billion in the year to 30 June 2022.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the report showed an increase of close to 10% on the previous year. “This is a tremendous result for the sector as farmers, growers and others in the supply chains who play such a critical role in our economy.

They have continued to deliver quality products for Kiwis and overseas consumers while navigating global disruption and uncertainty,” he says.

O’Connor says New Zealand’s overseas markets demand high quality products made with care and the SOPI report indicates exporters are responding to that. . . 

Feds: Biodiversity budget support falls woefully short :

While the latest draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) is a significant improvement its success is undermined by woeful funding in Budget 2022 to assist private landowners, Federated Farmers says. Only $20 million of the $150m needed over the next four years was allocated.

Keys to Federated Farmers’ support of the new biodiversity policies will be sound criteria on what are truly ‘significant’ natural areas, and protection of existing land use rights where they are not degrading native biodiversity.

“Implementation of the new rules also needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive and well-resourced financial support package,” said Chris Allen, the Feds national board member who was part of the cross-sector Biodiversity Collaborative Group (BCG) that made recommendations to the government.

An exposure draft of the long-delayed NSP-IB has just been released, another step in the long journey of this policy. . . 

Cutting cattle stress delivers payoffs in beef quality, farmer says :

A Hawke’s Bay farmer says reducing stress levels among cattle is resulting in higher quality Angus beef.

Matangi Farm’s beef cattle is raised just behind Havelock North’s Te Mata Peak.

Farm manager Jamie Gaddum said they try to reduce stressors on the cattle as much as possible.

“We’ve tried to keep trucking to a minimum. We’ve got two farms, but they’re only on a truck once in the lifetime,” he said. . . 

Changing pig care regulations may leave farmers and consumers out of pocket – report

Proposed changes to how pigs are cared for could come with a hefty price tag, a new economic report warns.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has proposed a raft of changes to the code for pigs, including banning or reducing the use of farrowing crates, weaning piglets no earlier than 28 days old and increasing the amount of space where young pigs live.

But a new report by consultancy group Sapere warns if the proposed changes are adopted, farmers could be out of pocket by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it could drive the cost of New Zealand pork up by 18.8 percent for consumers, as farmers try to cover the costs. . . 

New research harvests better outcomes for tree planters :

Newly published research by Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service into tree planting will provide some welcome solutions to problems foresters and planters are all too familiar with.

“The research has enabled us to come up with strategies to successfully plant trees outside of the normal planting season, and also have a better understanding of how to safely hold back trees in nurseries without impacting the quality,” says Emily Telfer, Programme Delivery Manager, Forest Science at Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service.

Tree planting is normally carried out in the middle of the year, with significant work required in nurseries leading up to winter to prepare a crop of trees and by landowners to prepare sites for planting.

“The yearly forestry planting cycle follows a sequential series of steps and is driven by biology, so the research set out to look at what mitigations can be utilised when the sequence is disrupted.”. . . 

Winston Churchill’s wisdom


Three Waters’ solution’s simple – Jim Hopkins


Waitaki District Councillor Jim Hopkins has a simple solution for water woes:

It is an honour to be a councillor, and a privilege.

But that privilege brings responsibilities with it. Like promoting your community and preserving your reputation — something that has been too often forgotten lately.

I hate hearing radio hosts bagging local government. Or talkback callers blithely labelling every council in the country a bunch of self-serving, petty, extravagant incompetents who’ve proved beyond doubt why nobody bothers to vote for them.

But I hate even more hearing about a council that’s done exactly the kind of daft thing, like pushing a vanity project or grandstanding on a political issue, that gives the critics another reason to put the boot in. The same goes for councillors whose internal conflicts or dotty comments have either cost a fortune or made the rest of us look like a bunch of gormless prats.

Worse still, it’s not just individual councillors or councils — most of whom are dominated, like Parliament, by political parties — that are shooting us in the foot. Even Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) — the body supposed to speak for us — has got in the act, in my opinion.

When the Government recently announced it was ignoring public opinion and pressing ahead with its four company, 3 Waters reforms — which will inevitably see water meters in every home in the country — the president of LGNZ, Stuart Crosby, meekly said change had to happen because we all know the system is broken.

Well, you may think that, Stuart, I don’t.

The system’s not broken.

It may not be perfect in some areas, but in most places, on most days, most people wake up and drink safe water, enjoy good showers, flush efficient toilets and have drains that cope with bad weather.

For me, the problem’s one of size; the size of smaller towns and the size of the bill they have to pay to improve standards.

And the solution’s simple.

The Government that’s setting the standards should share some of its funds. We don’t need four companies, we need more cash. Cash to help smaller towns, cash to give local people real control over their local assets. . . 

This would be a far less expensive and for more efficient solution than the costly and inefficient four layers of bureaucracy that the government’s Three Waters plan would result in.

The government is imposing higher standards for drinking, storm and waste water.

Their plan to ensure the standards are met is overly bureaucratic and will in time, if not at once, be overly expensive.

If the government goes ahead with its plan to take the water assets from councils, there might be a reduction in rates to reflect the reduction in costs to councils now face for looking after them. But any savings in rates will be more than offset by the increased costs of maintaining the new four levels of bureaucracy on top of the costs associated with meeting the new standards for delivering clean, and dealing with dirty, water.

It would cost less and be more effective to ditch the plan for four new layers of bureaucracy and give the money saved directly to councils, most of which provide pipes, pumps and treatment ponds that enable more of us to, as Jim says, drink safe water, enjoy good showers, flush efficient toilets and have drains that cope with bad weather.

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