Word of the day


 Matariki – the name of the Pleiades star cluster and the celebration of its first rising in late June or early July; a star cluster that appears in the early morning sky in New Zealand during the mid-winter months.

Rural round-up


Golden milk price may drop, costs rise – Tim Cronshaw:

The gloss of two $9-plus payouts for dairy farmers is being robbed by rising farm costs and a build-up of environmental changes.

A record starting point for a payout of $9 a kilogram of milk solids is being advanced for the 2022/23 dairy season by dairy giant Fonterra and Canterbury-based Synlait Milk.

This follows Fonterra’s forecast range of $9.10/kg to $9.50/kg for this season, with a mid-point of $9.30/kg, that’s being matched by Synlait.

Analysts cautiously support the new-season mark despite a mixed bag at the Global Dairy Trade auction and a hazy horizon created by Covid-19, freighting headaches, Ukraine’s invasion by Russia and rampant inflation. . . 

Govt poaching council staff makes contributing to reforms harder – local govt group :

Rural and provincial councils say a shortage of skilled staff is preventing them from meaningfully contributing to the raft of central government reforms.

Local Government New Zealand Rural and Provincial group co-chairperson Gary Kircher said the shortage was made worse by central government departments poaching the staff they do have.

He said councils are dealing with roading, parks and reserves and community services before adding reforms like Three Waters, the RMA, Civil Defence, an Emissions Reduction plan, Waste Minimisation and a health restructure into the mix.

“We are working in a pressure cooker environment, but this pressure will be exacerbated by the need to make meaningful contributions to the Water Services Bill, the Natural & Built Environments Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill,” he said. . . 

Shared cheese heritage should be shared not stripped :

As the EU-New Zealand FTA advances New Zealand cheesemakers are urging both Governments to recognise and celebrate the shared cheesemaking heritage that exists between European countries and New Zealand. Failure to do so will rob numerous hard working New Zealand cheesemakers of investments they have made over decades.

“New Zealand’s cheese industry is asking the Government to not give in to the demands of Eurocrats in Brussels to strip us of the right to use common description terms like Feta, Parmesan, and Gruyere,” says Catherine McNamara, Chair of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA).

“These cheese names were brought to New Zealand by our industry pioneers and you need to look no further than this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards to see they are an important and celebrated part of our vibrant and diverse cheesemaking industry. ”

At the 2022 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards, 10 New Zealand made Fetas, five Parmesans and two Gruyeres received medals recognising excellence and quality. NZSCA is concerned that these companies will lose vital market recognition and face significant costs if the EU has its way. . . 

NZ can lead food evolution – Annette Scott:

While New Zealand’s food and fibre sector is facing a number of challenges there are opportunities that if realised, will ensure the sector is fairly rewarded, Lincoln University Agribusiness and Economics Research (AERU) director Caroline Saunders says. 

Targeting consumers who share NZ food and fibre producers’ values is key to capturing premium returns for the primary sector.

“Nothing should be low cost in NZ,” Saunders said in her opening address of the E Tipu Boma Agri Summit in Christchurch.

“NZ’s early prosperity grew out of exporting three land-based commodities – meat, dairy and wool  – to the United Kingdom. . . 

From Otago to fields of Uzbekistan  :

Uzbekistan. Probably not at the top of the list of countries to visit right now given its location, but for Patrick Suddaby and Tyson Adams, the prospect of making good money was too good to refuse.

The pair are in the Central Asian country harvesting wheat and barley for an eight-week stint, earning double what they would make at home.

Mr Suddaby comes from Ranfurly and Mr Adams is from Tapanui. This is the first harvest Mr Suddaby has done overseas. Mr Adams has done similar work in Scotland and Australia as well as New Zealand.

“Uzbekistan is a unique place. I don’t think my girlfriend or my family believed me when I said I was coming here at first,” Mr Adams said. . . 

Large block offers divers horticulture options :

A large-scale orchard operation in the Gisborne district offers investors and orchard operators the opportunity to expand across a variety of crops and multiple titles with significant flexibility in future land use options.

The three titled opportunity across Awapuni and Main roads offers a combined area of 52.3ha land planted in viticulture, apples, and kiwifruit, with significant future crop yields still to come from the young apple plantings.

Bayleys agent Simon Bousfield says the property on fertile soils only six minutes from Gisborne represents an increasingly rare chance to acquire land that is accompanied with secure water rights, excellent city proximity, and superior infrastructure.

“This part of the district is known as the Golden Triangle, and for good reason. Meantime the property itself brings a crop variety that ensures a very secure, diverse income stream to the entire operation.” . . 

Mānawatia a Matariki! ✨


Matariki pluses and minuses


People in the northern hemisphere have had mid winter celebrations for centuries. There it comes conveniently at the end of one calendar year and the start of another.

Whenever it comes in the calendar, there’s something to be said for something to take our minds off the dark and cold, and a celebration that is uniquely ours.

The stars of course are universal, but Matariki is New Zealand’s – or should that be Aotearoa’s?

Fireworks in the middle of winter when it’s dark by five o’clock make a lot more sense than having them in November when the sun doesn’t set until several hours later, and the fire danger is much greater.

Passing quickly over the thought that fireworks might be cultural appropriation, the ODT opines that  they struck the wrong note with the advisory group guiding the Government on the new holiday.

Fireworks do not align with a core value of Matariki — mana taiao (environmental awareness) — as they pollute the night sky with light and noise and can litter the sea with debris.

It also seems odd, when stars are being celebrated, to be adding something artificial to the sky rather than observing what is already there. . .

So maybe no fireworks.

While many will enjoy any excuse for a day off, they all come at a  cost to business. Matariki is the 12th statutory holiday.

Add those 12 days to the minimum four weeks annual leave and that’s more than six working weeks when workers aren’t working.

It has been estimated that the public holiday could cost businesses up to $448 million.

An unintended consequence of having a holiday on a Friday, rather than a Monday, is that it will increase wage costs for those hospitality outlets which might usually close on Mondays and so not usually be up for paying penal rates. . . 

Good Friday is the only statutory holiday that always falls on a Friday. Others are either on the day they happen to fall, or Monday.

Holidays for any that fall on Saturday or Sunday are Mondayised.

No-one in the government appears of have thought about the impact on hospitality operations that are usually very busy on Fridays and quieter, or closed, on Mondays.

That could well be another sign we’ve got a government with little, if any, appreciation of business.

Whatever the pluses and minuses, we’ve got another holiday and it’s likely to stay, although moving it from Friday to Monday might be a possibility.

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