Word of the day


Phlegethon –  a stream of fire or fiery light; a river of fire, one of five rivers surrounding Hades.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Dairy sours on false defense of EU deal – Nigel Stirling:

DCANZ claims O’Connor ignored Brexit cuts, using out of date figures to talk up a deal that won’t come close to the vaunted $600m a year.

Dairy exporters are keeping up their barrage of criticism against what they say is the Government’s failure to own up to poor dairy market access from the recent trade deal with the European Union.

The Dairy Companies Association has already rubbished the Government’s claims of $600 million in annual gains for the industry from last month’s agreement, saying gains won’t even come close to that figure.

It also accused Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of gifting an advantage to EU negotiators by letting slip a weakening in New Zealand’s negotiating bottom lines for meat and dairy in the final few weeks of the talks. . . 

Learning to spot the warning signs – Kathryn Wright:

Te Anau-based rural counsellor Kathryn Wright knows farmers may be dealing with many compliance issues at the moment.  But there’s one issue she says definitely needs to be in a health and safety plan –  that of how to identify and help a  person who is suffering from poor mental health.

Compliance issues.

Endless demands from the Government that seem to compound year after year. The very last thing I want to do is to lump you with more compliance issues – I am fully aware of how much frustration and even despair they can bring upon farmers.

On the other hand, there is one compliance issue that I would like to see implemented – and if not officially, then morally at least. Basic mental health knowledge, including how to identify and help another human who is suffering mentally. This should be in your health and safety plan. . . 

Iwi make a success of return to the land – Gerald Piddock:

Land once taken from them is now back in the hands of iwi who are looking after it for future generations while making it more productive and sustainable.

Pouarua Farms takes a long-term outlook when it comes to managing the land. For the five iwi who own the Hauraki Plains’ largest dairy platform, that means making decisions that will sustain the land and create an intergenerational asset.

The farms are a taonga asset for their iwi and will never be sold, says chief executive Jenna Smith.

“The outlook’s further than five or 10 years. We’re looking 50 to100 years and it’s about sustaining the land, being productive and keep it returning to the people for generations to come,” says Smith. . .

Making an impact at Young Farmers – Kayla Hodge:

James Hurst is not the quiet wee guy in the back anymore.

The Awamoko farmer has found his passion and confidence through the Young Farmers network, and has moved his way through the ranks of the organisation regionally and nationally.

Mr Hurst’s contribution has been recognised, receiving a national leadership award at the recent New Zealand Young Farmers National Awards, in Whangarei.

Growing up on his family farm, Invernia, a 2700ha beef, sheep and dairy farm in Awamoko, Mr Hurst was exposed to the industry from a young age. . .


MG wins HortNZ environmental award:

MG – Market Gardeners Ltd (MG) Auckland Branch – has won a 2022 Horticulture New Zealand Environmental Award.

“MG has won the award in recognition of its real commitment to environmental sustainability,” said HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil who presented the award at a vegetable growers’ function in Pukekohe on 27 July.

“Thanks to MG’s focus and investment, the cooperative has made a measurable long-term difference, delivering a 57% reduction in carbon emissions by converting to natural refrigerants, installing solar and diverting food waste away from landfill at its flagship branch in Auckland.”

Two years ago, MG signed off on its first sustainability roadmap, which has set the direction and defined improvement targets. This included focusing on their Auckland branch, having worked out that the bulk of their carbon emissions came from electricity consumption, refrigerants and food waste. . .

New Gore library and community centre to use wool-blend insulation :

The Gore District Council is using a natural wool blend insulation for its latest building project after copping flak from local farmers.

The new Gore Library and James Cumming Community Centre will feature wool blend insulation in the ceiling, exterior and interior walls.

There will also be woollen carpets in areas with light foot traffic

Gore District Council chief executive Stephen Parry said the project team opted for the wool blend insulation over traditional fibreglass products to support the wool industry. . . 


Tauranga MP Sam Uffindel’s maiden speech


National’s Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell delivered his maiden speech on Tuesday:

SAM UFFINDELL (National—Tauranga): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. It is an absolute honour to be able to rise and speak in this House. Firstly, I want to acknowledge the people of Tauranga for sending me here. It is a special privilege to represent you not only in our community back home but down here in our capital within the halls of Parliament. You have put your faith and trust in me, and for that I will always be grateful, I will never take it for granted, and I will work tirelessly for you so we can make Tauranga the greatest city to live in in New Zealand.

I also want to thank the people in the National Party that put their faith and trust in me. Our electorate, like so many others in the National Party, elects its candidate locally. So I am here solely on the grace of those local delegates who have so entrusted me to represent them. I want to thank all of our electorate team, our local Tauranga members, and the wider National Party who have worked so tirelessly and put in years of dedication and service to our great party. It is because of all your hard work, guidance, and goodwill that I am here today.

The New Zealand National Party is a great party. It is a party that values freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of ideas and that looks outwardly, openly, and welcomingly towards that world; embraces what is best; and looks to incorporate this is a uniquely Kiwi way. I am proud to be a member of a party that embraces equal citizenship and equal opportunity, encourages competition, and champions personal responsibility. This is the party that gives New Zealand and New Zealanders the best chance of reaching our potential. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to step into the shoes of the Hon Simon Bridges, who is so loved by our membership back home and who left the electorate in such great shape for me to walk into. Thank you, Simon, for all your years of service to Tauranga and the National Party.

I come here as the member of Parliament for Tauranga, a city that has quickly transformed itself from a sleepy port and beachside retirement town to one of our country’s fastest growing and a critical piece in New Zealand’s strategic make up. The sandy streets and rustic baches of Mount Maunganui have now largely been replaced by multimillion-dollar houses and apartments. Vast expanses of dairy farms and kiwifruit orchards have been subdivided and replaced by suburbia. Our port has grown to be the largest in New Zealand, with nearly three times the volume of its nearest rival. We are a key link between our largest city and commercial hub, Auckland, and the heartland of New Zealand dairy farming, in the Waikato—an industry that is still the economic backbone of our country. We are the epicentre of our country’s horticulture, and I want to thank all of those involved in the kiwifruit industry for all the prosperity they have contributed to our city and our region. I was reminded just recently at the Bay of Plenty young grower awards of the enormous role hort and ag has to play in our future, not just as goods for export but the export of tech services, something we should lead the world in and something that has the potential to provide billions of dollars of economic benefit to New Zealand.

I love our city, but we face some significant challenges. Tauranga’s growth has not been supported by the infrastructure it needs. The Tauranga Eastern Link, built by my predecessor and used by my family every day, is the best road in New Zealand. However, such roads of its quality are few and far between. This Government’s cancellation of the full Tauranga Northern Link and inability to allow the port to build a third berth have not helped; in fact, they have actively hindered and constrained not only Tauranga but our nation’s future economic engine and housing stock. We must rise above such prohibitive regulation and nation-limiting politics and do what is right for the electorate of Tauranga and our country. While I am your member, I will fight relentlessly as your local voice to ensure that Tauranga receives the investment, infrastructure, and support it needs to reach its potential, and serve the best interests of its people, its businesses, and the country.

Our region is beset by gang issues and, unfortunately, like the rest of New Zealand, a growing culture of lawlessness, lack of accountability, a sense of impunity, and significant underlying generational social problems. We need friends, family, and, in particular, parents, to step up and show what is right. Ultimately, though, the State must hold people accountable. However, the State has a greater role to play in helping lift those likely to go down that path, not by being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, but by direct social investment that identifies these individuals and families and works directly with them to set them on the right path.

On top of issues related to crime and gangs, Tauranga suffers severe housing and transport infrastructure deficits. Our hospital needs upgrading, and more children are truant and underperforming in school. This is not unique to Tauranga though. In many ways we are just a microcosm of the many endemic issues crippling New Zealand. For us to begin to tackle these problems, we need a change of mind-set. I spent the first 12 years of my career in Sydney and Singapore—modern, forward-thinking, successful, advanced economies and societies. I led high-performing teams and high-performing cultures. I worked to reduce inefficiencies, to innovate, to problem-solve. We committed ourselves to utilising our resources to the best of our ability and to achieving set, measurable outcomes. These countries and these organisations fostered cultures of competition and success. Unfortunately, this mind-set is a distant reality to that promoted by this Government. Since returning to New Zealand in 2020, I have been astonished by the general malaise that has set in. This Government’s complacency, the acceptance of mediocrity, the fear of the outside world, the rejection of personal responsibility, the dumbing down of expectations, the closed-minded absolutism.

When I was young I played a lot of sport, and every time I played my dad taught me to play to win—and I did. And I loved it. Now we don’t even keep the score. If we’re going to fulfil our obligation to future generations to leave this country in a better position than we inherited it, if we are going to keep happily spouting the mantra that New Zealand punches above its weight on the world stage, if we as individuals—and a country—are going to reach our potential, we need to take a good, hard look at ourselves. We need to lift our horizons. We need to set clear targets and strategies to get there, and we need to get busy winning. We need mind-sets and policies that are focused on performance and outcomes. We need an education system that is focused on keeping our children in school, ensuring they have a fundamental understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects, setting them up to compete on the world stage in the 21st century. We need a health system that’s able to cope with public demands, that has the staff it needs, that allows someone to go to an emergency department any time of day with confidence they will quickly receive the treatment they need. We need an immigration and workplace system that embraces talent. We need a social welfare system that directly intervenes in the lives that need help, working with them to get them back on their feet and sets them up to lead lives of self-sufficiency and self-worth.

If we are going to provide the education, health, social services, housing, infrastructure, and growth our country desperately lacks, we need more than ideology, slogans, and announcements. We need an open mind-set, a more dynamic and efficient Public Service, and an economic engine that is able to develop the resources and capital our country needs. We need to embrace the outside world and all it has to offer. We need to shake our tall poppy syndrome and start celebrating our success stories. We need to understand that Government doesn’t always know best and doesn’t always do best, that its role is to set the vision, consult with key stakeholders, agree upon expectations, and empower those in society that are proven in delivering outcomes. We need to treat the finances of New Zealand and future generations with respect, uphold the independence and singular focus of our Reserve Bank, and avoid treating the public purse like Monopoly money. Surely our children deserve the respect that those before them spent prudently and didn’t saddle them with intergenerational debt while simultaneously driving outcomes down.

We are faced with generational and societal division—the homed and the homeless—and it’s critical that we not allow this trend to continue, or our delicate society may well fracture. We need to address our housing supply shortages; free developers and community providers from overly burdensome regulatory constraints; get Government out of the way and let the experts build houses.

We need to look to a future where we develop high skilled, high-waged jobs, leveraging off Kiwi ingenuity and our competitive advantage in our primary industries. We have such huge potential to drive the export of technological goods and services in this area. We need to incentivise individuals and businesses to invest heavily in R & D; set the conditions for skilled people, their families, and foreign capital to efficiently move here. We need to back our hard-working business owners and set conditions that allow them to unleash the creative and technological capability that sits in front of them. We need to work relentlessly on lifting our ailing productivity. We need to set in term long-term strategic plans. We need infrastructure pipelines around transport, housing, schools, and hospitals; digital connectivity; regional hubs of excellence; and all other manners of public amenities and services.

The door is fast closing on our ability to keep pace with the rest of the developed world, and one of my greatest fears is that my children will one day grow up in a New Zealand that has receded from that club, and that is why I’m here. I didn’t come to Wellington to be a career parliamentarian. I came here to fight for the people of Tauranga and to ensure my children grow up in a New Zealand better than the one we returned to in 2020. We have much work to do, but I know in Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis, we have a team that can lead New Zealand into the 2030s and beyond. In Christopher, I have huge confidence that he will rise to be one of our great Prime Ministers, and it is and always will be an enormous honour to serve on his team. He inspires confidence, commitment, and belief, and he has all the skills, experience, and vision necessary to drive our country to where we want to be.

I want to finish by thanking my friends and family. To my parents and siblings—Peter and Jennifer, Daisy and Harry—thank you for your endless love and humour. Dad, thank you for imbuing in me an internal competitiveness and a fondness for people. Mum, thank you for bestowing upon me a thirst for knowledge, empathy, and resilience. Daisy and Harry, thank you for always encouraging me to follow my passion. To my friends: you’ve given me so much more than you’ll ever know, have shaped me hugely, kept me humble, and I’m so lucky to have so many of you close to me through all the intimacies and trials of communal living in Dunedin and Sydney. My wife’s family have been an endless pillar of support to us, and, frankly, without their help, I’m not sure this path would be achievable or sustainable. Julia and I will forever be grateful for your countless support.

And, finally, to my little family. To my wife, Julia: it is a selfless act for anyone to allow their partner to go to Parliament. You take such a heavy duty on yourself to enable me to be here, follow my passion, and undertake an opportunity to improve Tauranga and New Zealand. I will be eternally grateful to you, and I promise, when I leave this place, we can do whatever you want. And finally, to my children—Lily, Ziffy and Teddy—I’m ultimately here because I want to improve our country for you and your children, so that you can grow up here in a country that allows you to reach your potential and that, even if you do leave, it will only be for a while, and one day you’ll be back again. I hope I make you all proud. Thank you.

Newly sworn in, he has already submitted a  Members’ Bill:

National’s new MP for Tauranga Sam Uffindell submitted his first Member’s Bill, which aims to prevent gang convoys in the city, just minutes after being sworn in at Parliament today.

“Gang convoys are far too prevalent on Tauranga’s streets and Police need more powers to deter this kind of behaviour,” Mr Uffindell says.

“The public shouldn’t have to put up with road restrictions and intimidation because gang members feel they can operate with impunity.

“My Member’s Bill will give Police the power to issue on-the-spot $500 fines and instantly impound the vehicles of gang members travelling in convoys for 28 days.

“Many vehicles involved are purchased through the proceeds of crime, and videos of the convoys become important recruitment tools for the gangs.

“Given that gang membership is up by 40 per cent under the Labour Government, this recruitment drive is clearly effective.

“Labour is good at making announcements, but its MPs have shown they are incapable of actually delivering. Their soft-on-crime approach is making Kiwis less safe.

“It’s time that Labour gets serious about crime, and supporting my Land Transport (Prohibition on Gang Convoys) Amendment Bill would be a good start.

“Submitting this Bill on the day of my swearing-in was a by-election promise I am proud to deliver. I will continue to back our Police and work towards improving the safety of the people of Tauranga and Kiwis across New Zealand.”

Labour’s hand out for hand out


The Labour Party has its hand out for some of the money the government is handing out:

The Labour Party is using incorrect and misleading information about the cost of living payment to try to raise funds, National Party Finance Spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“Inland Revenue confirmed this morning that a total of 1.3 million people have received a cost of living payment, about 800,000 fewer than promised by the Government.

“Labour representatives have consistently repeated, including on social media, that the cost of living payment would be supporting 2.1 million New Zealanders.

“Despite that number being proven to be grossly wrong, Labour is still making this claim, and using it to solicit political donations.

“This evening Labour sent out a fundraising letter claiming ‘more than 2 million New Zealanders received $116 from the new Cost of Living Payment’, and then asked for donations: ‘if you were proud of this initiative, too, please consider chipping in $10 today’.

“It is entirely inaccurate for Labour to seek political donations on the basis of this untrue statement. Serious questions need to be asked of the Labour Party and its head office.

Not only inaccurate but inappropriate.

The delivery of the cost of living payment has been a debacle. It’s borrowed money that has been going not only to people who need it but some who don’t, including partners of high earners people living overseas.

That’s bad enough without this demonstration that it’s not just for people who need it for necessities but those who have money to spare to give away.

“The truth is that while many people overseas have benefited from this payment, many more at home have missed out. Labour cannot deliver anything.

“Labour’s cost of living payment was only proposed because the Government’s mismanagement of the economy has created a cost of living crisis. But the scheme was doomed from the start, with officials warning the Government against it.

“A National Government would have taken the much fairer course of simply adjusting tax thresholds for inflation, allowing people to keep more of the money they had already earned.”

What’s worse, using incorrect and misleading information or seeking to be rewarded for giving out public funds to people who may, or may not need them?

This money is borrowed and has to be paid back. It was supposed to help people cope with the impact of inflation and the cost of living crisis, not prop up the Labour Party.

It’s not direct public funding of a political party and I don’t think there’s any question of rule-breaking.

But there’s something unsavoury about the opportunism in the give-us-some-of-what-we-gave-you message.

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