Word of the day


Smellfeast – one who is apt to find and frequent good tables; a parasite; a freeloader; a sponger.

Winston Churchill’s wisdom


Rural round-up


Agriculture trip a ‘whirlwind’ of inspiration – Sally Rae:

Sam Vivian-Greer admits he is not usually the most emotional person.

But during this month’s mentoring trip around New Zealand for winners of the Zanda McDonald agribusiness award, the Wairarapa man acknowledged he was a little emotional, particularly as he wrote down each day’s experiences in a notebook.

The award, now in its eighth year, supports talented and passionate young professionals in the agricultural sector from Australia and New Zealand.

Part of the prize package includes a trip to high-performing farms and businesses in Australia and New Zealand, travelling by a chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. . . 

KPMG finds mixed fortunes and increasing demands within rural sector industries :

The rural sector is muddled and looking for the best way forward amid a wave of regulations, Covid-19 related fatigue, and varied outlooks for different parts of the industry.

Business advisory firm KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda found a mixed picture among 122 primary industry leaders, with some straining to make the most of profitable overseas opportunities, while others were fighting to survive.

KPMG’s head of global agribusiness Ian Proudfoot said no single theme stood out for the sector with a multitude of issues vying for attention.

“For some leaders, things have never been better; others face an existential crisis, while many have aspects of their operations that are humming and other parts that are on, or are close to, life support.”

He said the sector was opportunity-packed and risk burdened by “high highs” and almost as many “low lows”, and had done a remarkable job in reconnecting with world markets and earnings record returns when the country needed it most during the pandemic. . .



Groundswell NZ challenges Climate Change Minister to tell the full story on farm emissions :

The Government is expecting the agriculture sector to subsidise the rest of the economy on climate change, so Groundswell NZ is asking for the evidence from James Shaw, Groundswell NZ emissions spokesperson Steve Cranston says.

“Groundswell NZ has written to Climate Change Minister James Shaw to request any modelling or data he relies on, showing that agriculture is contributing to additional warming of the climate.”

“We support the call to stop further climate warming from the agricultural sector, in accordance with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting warming to 1.5° C. The farmers we represent want to do the right thing and ensure there is no net increase in atmospheric warming due to farming activities.”

“Our position is that farming in this country is currently at or close to climate neutrality. Emission outputs from agriculture are being offset by natural atmospheric decay, in the case of methane, or offset by farm tree sequestration, in the case of carbon.” . . 

Grow another paddock – Ian Williams:

Farming is becoming increasingly complex. Until recentyl, farmers had relatively few issues to focus on: feeding cows, producing milk and hopefully making enough money to feed their family and pay off their mortgages.

Things are very different now. The historical issues remain but added to these are increased compliance requirements, regular staff shortages, more demands from milk and meat processors, climate change and of course, global supply chain issues brought about by war and pandemics.

This increased complexity results in increased risk. Until this season, payout has been relatively stable, sitting between $6.12 and $7.54/kgMS.

The biggest business risk has been around the variable climate and trying to produce enough milk to generate good profit. . . 

Early warning technology to help farmers battle costly cattle disease mastitis:

New research from Lincoln University could dramatically improve the treatment of a common cattle disease that costs farmers an estimated $280m a year.

Mastitis is a painful bacterial infection that affects cows’ udders and causes a drop in milk quality and production.

The disease is treatable but can prove costly for dairy farmers.

But a team of researchers from Lincoln University may have found a way to detect the disease in its early stages. . .

Wool farmers urged to take simple step to secure prosperous future :

The Campaign for Wool NZ Trust (CFWNZ) is encouraging New Zealand sheep farmers registered under the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) for their meat production to take the “very simple step” of adding their NZFAP assurance code to their wool specification sheet.

“This makes sure our farmers’ beautiful wool can be branded and marketed under this important new quality standard,” explains CFWNZ Chair Tom O’Sullivan. “The NZFAP is important, because it provides assurances to consumers across the globe that our wool is produced with integrity, traceability, and animal health and welfare top of mind. We’re hearing that while many of our farmers are already signed up to the programme for their meat operation, they might have neglected to include their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification to ensure their wool is sold and promoted as NZFAP certified.”

The wool industry adopted the NZFAP as a national standard for wool in September 2021, and Tom says although there’s been an increase in farmers including their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification sheet in recent months, there is still a long way to go.

Tom, himself an experienced sheep farmer based in Hawke’s Bay, says farmers could be slow to include their assurance code because they think the NZFAP auditing process might be expensive, daunting, or overly rigorous. “But there is no additional cost to farmers. When the NZFAP auditors visit a farm, wool is automatically included in the audit process.” . .


The energy market explained


Australia is facing an energy crisis.

Apropos of which, Clark and Dawe explain the energy market:

Media muzzled with public money


The Platform explains how the Public Interest Journalism Fund is using public money to muzzle the media:

The Public Interest Journalism Fund has received a fair bit of attention since its inception due to the political nature of some of the criteria for funding.

The idea that media might be incentivised to adhere to the criteria in order to not miss out on funding has led to questions being asked by MPs in parliament, by commentators, and has no doubt contributed to the rapid decrease in trust the public have in media.

The perception has grown that funding is only available to media who consistently toe the line on political issues and in particular those related to the Treaty of Waitangi or co-governance. Those seeking to challenge these things need not apply. 

Of course, it is possible that the New Zealand media simply have a completely homogeneous view on the highly contentious topic of the governance of the country. However, it is difficult to understand why no mainstream media have endeavored to present the other side of the debate in terms other than denigration and accusations of racism.

But could a relatively small recurring fund really have this much impact on the entire media landscape? The amount is not particularly large in the grand scheme of things.

We decided to look closer at the fund and exactly what those receiving funding had to agree to. The information is all available publicly and in plain sight. A copy of the standard funding agreement is available on the NZ On Air website. Upon reading the documentation we were struck by two significant things:

  1. The funding agreements are set up like loans.
  2. In the first section of ‘General Eligibility Criteria’ a document is provided as a ‘resource’ called Te Tiriti Framework for News Media which references He Puapua as an authoritative document. . . 

Those with mortgages will understand what a default event is and know that it ultimately can result in one losing their home. . . 

Media companies are unlikely to have their homes at risk but they will be very aware of the risk to their businesses should they transgress and have to repay any or all of the money they’ve been given loaned.

If you click on the link above you’ll find the general terms of the agreement include default if you breach the agreement or if we reasonably believe you are likely to breach this agreement.

That will be making the media very, very cautious and very, very unlikely to cover dissenting views.

That is essentially how the Public Interest Journalism Fund is set up – like a loan. Not only do applicants have to thoroughly explain how they will adhere to the particular co-governance model of understanding the Treaty in order to get the funding in the first place, they have to agree that should they deviate from presenting this perspective NZ On Air can say that they have defaulted on the agreement and demand the funding be repaid. . . 

What are the odds that a funding application that included a ‘Te Tiriti response’ that disputed modern ideas of co-governance – even criticised it – would get funded? Slim to none would be my expectation.

Instead, Kiwis wanting to produce and create their content will need to leaf through the provided Framework, tick the boxes, and fall in line. That means, among other things, promoting ideas laid out in He Puapua, agreeing that due to colonialism we live in a society that perpetuates racism, supporting a vision for constitutional reform of New Zealand, and restructuring of “non-Government organisations…according to te Tiriti o Waitangi”. . . 

This explains why there is so little coverage of anything that questions this orthodoxy, why there is so little rigorous examination of  legislation that gives Maori more rights than other New Zealanders and why there is such a propensity to cover accusations of racism against people who question this without examining the issues raised.

It also justifies the distrust the public have in the media’s focus and objectivity.

No wonder Karl du Fresne calls it the Pravda Project.

%d bloggers like this: