Word of the day


Advocitate – to call upon frequently.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Specialised foot and mouth disease task established :

The Ministry for Primary Industries says a task force is ready to act if a foot and mouth disease is confirmed here.

Border officials in New Zealand and in Australia have been on alert since an outbreak of the disease was discovered in Indonesia, and more recently last month, in Bali.

The fear is that people returning from Indonesia will bring the disease back with them on their shoes, causing a widespread outbreak among cloven-hooved animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats and deer.

If an infection was confirmed here, meat exports – which are worth billions of dollars to the economy annually – would come to a stand still. . . 

‘Over the top’: new dam safety regulations cause stir – Tracie Barrett:

New dam safety regulations that take effect in 2024 have been called “over the top” by a high country farmer who says they are just more of the rules that farmers are being bombarded with.

Matakanui Station owner Andrew Paterson said the levels that made a dam classifiable under the new regulations had been set too low, and would entail a large expense for “small” dams that posed little threat.

On May 12, 2022, new regulations on dam safety were passed by the Government, which will come into effect on May 13, 2024.

This gives dam owners time to check whether their dam is big enough to be impacted. . . 

Dam plan on life support seeks jolt – David Williams:

Consents for a controversial Hawke’s Bay dam are set to be extended without public input, angering environmentalists. David Williams reports

In 2017, after a loss in the Supreme Court and $20 million of sunk costs shouldered by Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, the Ruataniwha dam proposal was declared dead.

But, to misquote Mark Twain, the dam’s death has been greatly exaggerated.

A group of businessmen bought the project’s intellectual property, including consents, from the council for $100,000, saying it would give the community time to revive the plan. . . 


Nailing a work-life balance – Shawn McAvinue:

The Fencing Contractors New Zealand national conference was held in Dunedin for three days last week. A topic at the industry event was how fencing contractors, dealing with a constantly changing environment, could manage their business and the wellbeing of themselves and their staff. Shawn McAvinue takes a close look.

Fencing day focuses on ‘me time’

“Have some me time” is the message Fencing Contractors Association New Zealand president Phil Cornelius is hammering home.

More than 100 people attended the Fencing Contractors Association national conference in Dunedin for three days last week. . . 

Organic Dairy Hub announce on-farm regenerative standard for its farmers  :

Waikato based organic co-operative, Organic Dairy Hub (ODH), is raising the bar for organic certified regenerative farming by introducing its new Honour Standard – outlining and defining its unique farming processes and ethos for its farmers.

The Honour Standard includes a declaration that It is our honour to be a family made up of organic farmer shareholders, highly skilled and passionate staff and a team of Directors that ensure our focus is on continuous improvement – for the betterment of our cows, our land and our people.

After undertaking extensive market research ODH recognised that consumers were seeing the word ‘regenerative’ in a lot of marketing but did not fully understand what it means and what is involved farm-side in the food production system.

ODH recognised this feedback and brought to life its Honour Standard to show consumers transparency and confidence in the dairy products it produces. ODH Business Development Manager, Hayley Denney, explains why the Honour Standard is important. . . 

UK farmers will be ‘negatively impacted’ with New Zealand trade deal :

New Zealand farmers will see far greater benefits compared to UK farmers after the post-Brexit trade deal was struck earlier this year, according to new analysis.

The report, published by the AHDB on Thursday (11 August), takes a detailed look for the first time at the potential implications of the New Zealand trade deal on UK agriculture.

The levy organisation’s analysis also considers the limited opportunities presented for UK agri-food products in New Zealand.

Working in collaboration with Harper Adams University, economic modelling was conducted of the impact of the new FTA on the UK and other major players. It used a trade network model to measure the impact of the deal. . .

Winston Churchill’s wisdom


Resist the temptation for schadenfreude


Labour supporters could be forgiven for indulging in schadenfreude this week.

They will have been watching National’s successful conference, announcement on helping young people move from welfare to work and the One News Kantar poll showing National and Act with more than 60% support being overshadowed by accusations against new Tauranga MP Sam Uffindel.

National supporters should resist the urge to take pleasure in Labour’s discomfort now the boot is on the other foot.

Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma has blown the whistle on bullying in parliament and is highly critical of officials and members of his own party:

Much has been said this week about bullying and the abysmal culture of our political parties which, in my opinion, continue to betray the trust of our voters. Over the last few years and under the outgoing Speaker Trevor Mallard there have been a lot of press releases to indicate that the broader work culture in the halls of Parliament is being changed for the better.

While this does sound like the right thing to do, it is – in my experience – a PR exercise to placate some of the backlash from the public in recent years. If there was any serious intent or effort to make a genuine change in Parliamentary culture, the current Speaker and the powers that be would have included Member-to-Member bullying in its terms of reference, if not initially then at least in response to the Francis Report which flagged this as a serious issue after interviewing MPs who spend upwards of 30-35 hours on the Parliamentary precinct over the three or more days we are based in Parliament on sitting weeks.

What makes this worse is the unusual legal relationship where the MPs are not employed directly by the party or Parliamentary Service, but by their own constituents who would be appalled if they saw even half of what their elected representatives have to bear in terms of harassment from inside the Parliament without anyone specific taking legal or moral responsibility for addressing these concerns.

This isn’t a new problem.

For those who need an example, Louisa Wall talked in her valedictory speech about how she was bullied by a senior Labour Party MP early in her career and despite being one of our most outspoken MPs she found out that she had no agency in the halls of Parliament when it came to her own wellbeing. If any of my more recent colleagues could speak freely, I am sure the list of similar stories with no support for MPs being bullied and no consequences for MPs bullying their colleagues would easily fill a book or two.

Crucial to addressing the bullying issue in Parliament is the role of the Parliamentary Service – which is supposed to be an independent and neutral organisation to provide support to MPs. Their own mandate states that “due to the nature of the organisation, Parliamentary Service staff must uphold the highest standards of integrity and trust. We take pride in the fact that we assist members of Parliament to carry out their roles. As well as displaying high levels of integrity, the Service looks for people with political acumen, exceptional customer service skills and an ability to work collaboratively”.

In my opinion, if only this was true.

The above Member-to-Member and Party-to-Member bullying rampant in Parliament is – I believe – promoted and facilitated by this very organisation by working behind the scenes with the Whips Office, the Offices of the Leaders of various Parties, along with the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The PM’s office – didn’t the people there hear, and act upon, the repeated entreaties to be kind?

The Parliamentary Service’s lack of accountability to both the MP and their constituents and the meddling of political parties in a triangular relationship where they end up being the fourth wheel is cause for much concern, in my view. With the way the current Parliamentary Service is run, you can go weeks and months before getting a reply to urgent issues and when they do have an answer it is seldom in writing and often from behind the desk of the party whips who – in my opinion, and based on what I have seen in my time in Parliament – use the Parliamentary Service to bully and harass their MPs “to keep them in line”. . .

 If anything, in my experience, when an MP raises serious concerns the Parliamentary Service steps back, stonewalls the conversation, ghosts the MP and throws them to the Whip’s Office to be gaslighted and victimised further so that the party can use the information to threaten you about your long-term career prospects.

Politicians especially at top of our current system and from parties across the political spectrum often talk about “changing the system” and “kindness,” but as the saying goes “charity must start at home”.

Who’s at top of our current system? Ah yes, that would be the PM who lectured us time and time again about the need to be kind.

This is very strong criticism, although without an explanation of why the MP was moved to write a column that airs his complaints in public.

He gives no specific examples and no doubt there is at least one other side to the issues raised.

This is in effect a resignation letter for even if he wanted to stand again, surely his chances of being permitted by Labour to do so are nil after these accusations against the party and its leader.

National supporters will be relieved that this might take a little of the focus off its own problems.

But this is no time for schadenfreude.

This week’s revelations and the way the media has covered them is likely to increase the plague-on-all-their-houses views of undecided voters and put good people off seeking selection as candidates.

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