Word of the day


Ambisinistrous – clumsy or unskillful with both hands;  not able to use the right and left hands equally well; lacking dexterity, clumsy.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Concern about rate of forestry conversions – Sally Rae:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says the rate of whole-farm sales and conversions to carbon farming in the country is “out of control”.

The Government’s announcement last week that exotic trees would no longer be removed from the permanent category of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) was a step back from addressing the “deeply concerning” sale of sheep and beef farms, chief executive Sam McIvor said .

Overseas Investment Office decisions for June show consent has been given under the special forestry one-off purchase for the acquisition of nearly 2300ha of land, running sheep and beef, for conversion to forestry.

Approval was also granted for the sale of a dairy farm for forestry conversion and an existing forestry block. . .

Kiwifruit returns not so juicy this year as rising costs and fruit quality issues bite – Andrea Fox :

Growers in New Zealand Inc’s sweetheart kiwifruit industry are in for some unusually downbeat news next week as rising costs and fruit quality issues combine to drive down forecast returns.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson has sounded the warning in an update to the global marketer’s 2800 New Zealand growers, saying the next orchard gate returns forecast on August 23 will reflect that fruit quality this season remains a significant issue as previously flagged.

Zespri, which has a statutory near-monopoly on kiwifruit exporting with record net global sales nudging $3.6 billion last year, is a little over halfway through its sales season.
Ongoing rain and cold weather in New Zealand and unseasonably high summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere had led to a crowded fruit market, Mathieson said.

“Fruit quality remains an ongoing and significant issue this season….We are not alone in facing this challenge, with quality issues evident across other global fruit categories this season, and our competitors and colleagues have also battled labour shortages, supply chain congestion and inflationary pressures, all of which impact grower returns. . .

Align Farms CEO Rhys Roberts on Government’s regenerative farming project

While chief executive of Align Farms Rhys Roberts has reservations about the Government’s new regenerative agriculture project, he welcomes another voice on the subject.

Ngāi Tahu and the Government are undertaking a seven-year research programme to validate the science of regenerative farming.

The trial will compare a conventional and regenerative farm side-by-side to assess the environmental impacts of their practices.

Roberts, who is also the 2022 Zanda McDonald Award winner, has been running a similar trial at Align Farms for years. . . 

NZ avocado industry warned to brace for lower prices as key Aussie market swamped – Tina Morrison :

New Zealand’s avocado industry needs to brace itself for a period of lower prices and volatility ahead as its key Australian market is swamped with the fashionable fruit, and returns from its emerging Asian market lag behind.

Increased Australian production resulted in an “avalanche” of avocados last year which saw retail prices for the green creamy fruit fall to a record low A$1 and prices this year are 47% below the five-year average, according to Rabobank associate analyst Pia Piggott.

“It’s simple supply and demand – as the supply goes up, the price goes down,” she says.

Strong demand for the heavily promoted “superfood” which features in dishes such as smashed avocado, has prompted Australian farmers to plant more than 1000 hectares a year and after six years those trees are now coming to maturity, which is expected to see Australia’s production expand by more than 40% over the next four years. . .

Course tailored for workers – John Lewis :

The rhythms of the seasons have been taken into account in a new Otago Polytechnic education pathway aimed at refining wine-growing and fruit production skills in Central Otago.

It means those already working in the horticulture and viticulture fields can concentrate their energy where it is needed during peak production times of the year while studying for a New Zealand diploma in horticulture production (level 5).

Delivered online and run at night, it enables students to continue to develop their skills in two focus areas: orchard fruit production (stone fruit, pip fruit and berries); and vineyard wine growing.

When they graduate, students will be able to manage horticultural or viticultural operations to ensure fruit or wine grape quality requirements are met. . . 

Australian Dairy Nutritionals to stop milk and yoghurt production in Camperdown – David Ross :

Camperdown Dairy, a historic Victorian brand, will stop producing fresh milk as rising costs push its owner to turn to better margins on milk powder products.

The ASX-listed Australian Dairy Nutritionals, based in the southwestern Victorian town of Camperdown, on Tuesday said it would cancel its fresh dairy produce due to rapidly rising costs that had eroded margins. Woolworths supermarkets stock Camperdown milk in their stores.

Australian Dairy Nutritionals said the move would mitigate staffing shortages and allow it to focus production on higher-margin products such as infant formula and nutritional supplements, but three staff might lose their jobs.

It said margins on fresh milk products had made it uncompetitive to continue, with nearly all suppliers increasing prices by more than 10 per cent and logistics costs nearly doubling. . . .

Winston Churchill’s wit


One rule for us


Think of a workplace where a staff member felt he had legitimate concerns about bullying which had not been adequately addressed.

Think about that worker being so upset that he went public with his concerns.

Think about the response if the worker’s boss responded publicly by insinuating that the worker was the one who was mishandling those working for him.

Think about the boss deciding not to investigate the allegations made by the staff member, instead calling a meeting of co-workers to discuss the staff member’s future to which he was invited then calling another, earlier, meeting to which the worker wasn’t invited.

Think about the second meeting which the aggrieved worker didn’t attend, at which it was decided his behaviour was so bad he’d be permitted to carry on his work, but suspended from the workplace team.

Think what would happen when the worker took a personal grievance case to the Employment Relations Authority.

Regardless of whether the worker was at fault, he would almost certainly be awarded damages for hurt feelings and probably reinstated in his job.

That could be any workplace in the private sector, and possibly any in the public sector, but not in the Labour Party caucus.

Labour’s treatment of Dr Gaurav Sharma is very much a case of one rule for us and another for them.

It reinforces my view that the party makes such union-friendly and employer-unfriendly industrial relations laws because it thinks everyone treats staff as badly as it does.

That isn’t to say Sharma is right nor that he is the only injured party. Former staff members have criticised him which has prompted Heather du Plessis-Allan to ask why then hasn’t Labour instigated a proper inquiry?

. . .Clearly, on the balance of probability, he is not an innocent here. He has three staff members complaining to the media about him 

But just because he might have behavioural issues, it doesn’t absolve the Labour Party of the allegations he’s laying. 

He claims to have been bullied by former senior whip Kieran McAnulty and by current senior whip Duncan Webb and that the Prime Minister’s office did nothing to stop it.

He claims that he asked them to investigate his complaints and they wouldn’t’ 


Any good operator would’ve ordered an investigation by now for two reasons:

First; you shut the story down.

Look at what happened to the Nats with the Sam Uffindell stuff. Those allegations were in the news for two days, the Nats ordered an investigation, and the stories stopped because we all knew we’d find out the truth in 2-3 weeks.  

Now compare that to Labour’s handling of this mess. This is the sixth news day about Sharma. They could’ve shut this down days ago. 

But also, the second reason, due process. 

Here is a guy claiming bullying and being accused of bullying and it’s got very complicated and murky to all of us watching. 

The right thing to do for his sake and for the sake of Kieran McAnulty and Duncan Webb – all of whom risk having their reputations blemished by this – is to order an investigation and clear the names of the innocent parties.

So why won’t the Labour Party do that?  

A generous reading is that they don’t’ want to tie up the time of people they know are innocent. A less generous reading is they don’t’ really want to know what an investigation would unearth. 

They run the risk that while this ends as a news story, but none of us are ever really sure what happened and are left forever suspecting that while Gaurav Sharma might’ve been a bully himself, he was right and Labour were bullies too.

Labour has left the door open for Sharma to be readmitted to caucus but how likely is that when he still feels so aggrieved?

That someone told Sharma of the meeting to which he wasn’t invited suggests he has at least one friend in caucus who puts loyalty to him before loyalty to caucus.

An inquiry could have settled matters, instead it provides ammunition for those accusing Jacinda Ardern of being anything but kind and it will continue to fester.

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