Word of the day


Fulgurite – vitreous material formed of sand or other sediment fused by lightning; glassy silica mineral (lechatelierite or amorphous SiO2) fused in the heat from a lightning strike; an often tubular vitrified crust produced by the fusion of sand or rock by lightning.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


‘NZ farmers can show the way’ – Rabobank :

Rabobank has released a white paper outlining key actions to help guide New Zealand’s food production as it faces challenges around climate change and food security

Among the conclusions of “Steering into the food transition” is that we need to feed more people while cutting back on emissions.

The global population is projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, while at the same time there is scientific and political consensus that global warming must be contained to 1.5°C. 

Food producers will have to balance both challenges. . . 

Overseas firms buy more sheep, beef farms for forestry conversion :

The sale of four sheep and beef farms to overseas investors, who will turn about 7100 hectares into rotational forests, has been approved.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued its latest decisions made under the special forest test.

Introduced in 2018, the test was designed to support the government’s forestry priorities, including more tree planting. Farming groups have raised concerns too much productive farmland is being lost to trees.

Furniture store IKEA’s parent company Ingka Investments is continuing to buy land to plant trees with its latest purchase, the Huiarua and Matanui Stations in the Gisborne region with a combined area of just over 6000 hectares. . . 

South Westland rivers are pristine – told you so says Feds :

University of Otago research describing the water quality of South Westland rivers as pristine, despite 160 years of river flats farming, is no surprise to Federated Farmers.

Feds freshwater spokesperson Colin Hurst says we already knew this, but the additional science-based corroboration is great to have as we continue to put the case to government that blanket, one-size-fits-all stock fencing regulations are impractical.

The farming systems used on the West Coast take account of the province’s terrain, weather and environment.

“The West Coast has mountains very close to the coast meaning when it rains, rivers surge and often flood. Fences are inevitably swept away and simply become a hazard to river and marine life,” Colin says. . . 

Tool to boost high country health – Annette Scott:

The wellbeing of hill country farmers is at the heart of the new FarmSalus tool.

An innovative farmer wellbeing assessment tool for hill country farmers will help understand and monitor the human component of farming.  

FarmSalus, launched in August, is part of the $8.1 million Hill Country Futures (HCF) programme focused on future-proofing the profitability, sustainability and wellbeing of New Zealand’s hill country farmers, their farm systems, the environment and rural communities.

The wellbeing of hill country farmers is at the heart of the new FarmSalus tool developed by the HCF partnership programme, which includes the Ministry for Primary Industries and Nature Positive, and is facilitated by Beef + Lamb NZ. . . 

New arable tool aims to find true costs :

Arable farmers must understand their ‘true cost’ of production to ensure continued financial viability – and Federated Farmers has a new spreadsheet designed to do exactly that.

The cost of production spreadsheet offers growers a unique tool with which to analyse all relevant costs associated with growing ryegrass and white clover seed crops and running the farm.

It even allows for a return on investment.

Its release coincides with a recent Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) gross margin analysis for ryegrass seed production. . . 

Tahryn Mason is the 2022 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year :

Congratulations to Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria in Marlborough, who became the 2022 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year. The National Final was held on 30 August at Indevin’s Bankhouse in Marlborough with the announcement made at the Awards Dinner the following evening.

It has been a busy few months for Tahryn, aged 30, as he also recently became a father for the first time. The Young Vit competition is open to those 30 years and younger working in viticulture, so Tahryn was determined to take out the prestigious title in his last year of competing. Tahryn originally competed in the Auckland/Northern competition in 2019 when he was working at Villa Maria in Auckland, before moving to Marlborough in 2020.

“This competition has been the driving force and making of my career” he says. The competition helps grow Young Vits by giving them support, focus and opportunities to upskill and widen their networks. . . 

Children need solid foundations


Lindsay Mitchell asks why our young lead the world in poor mental health?

A question like that has no single, simple answer.

She discusses contributing factors and concludes:

But most importantly, a reversal of this upward surge demands a wider appraisal and acknowledgement of societal changes that have lessened the likelihood that children will experience material and emotional security and stability throughout their formative years. If children were genuinely placed at the centre of the family, given time, given unconditional love, given space to explore but surety to return to, there may still be no guarantees. But the odds of that child developing good mental health will massively increase.

Poor mental health isn’t experienced only by children who lack material and emotional security and stability.

But  children with those solid foundations must have a better chance of better mental health and of growing into happy, healthy adults.


The day the government died


With apologies to Don Mclean

Long, long time ago, I can still remember

How I made the voters smile

And I knew I had a chance 

To keep them all so entranced

And maybe they’d be happy for a while.

But then polls began to make me shiver,

With every failure to deliver,

Bad news in the media

Made my demise speedier

Each day I felt that I could scream

When I read about the loss of dreams

And the faults in all my schemes

The day my government died.

It is going several steps too far to say the government died on Tuesday.

The blow to its credibility with the debacle over its plan to impose GST on KwiiSaver management fees wasn’t fatal but even before they mismanaged this, Mike Hosking was asking how badly will Labour lose?

. . .Name me one substantive thing that is going well for them.

The economy? Record inflation, record domestic inflation. In case you just answered: “Oh it’s the war.”

The number of people living in cars, we learned last week, has exploded, despite the promises to sort it.

Record levels of demand for social housing.

Massive dissent over Three Waters from dozens of councils, not to mention ratepayers over, 1, a poor idea, and 2, a poor idea badly handled.

A centralised polytech that’s failed to get off the ground, has a deficit that’s possibly more than $100 million, and a bloke who ran the place while not running the place, on full pay, until he quit.

A He Puapua programme that hasn’t gone to Cabinet because the minister knows he can’t get it past them because the Māori who have been consulted (the rest of us haven’t been ) want something so radical he knows it’s dead in the water.

A crime scenario that touches each and every one of us as gangs run rampant, as do kids who failed to go to school, and as a result decided driving cars through shop windows was their future.

An immigration policy that’s letting next to no one in, so employers continue to scream at 1, the fact no one is arriving and therefore there are few if any to fill the ludicrous gaps in every sector of this country, and 2, pulling their hair out at the paperwork required and timeframe to even become accredited employers.

A health system that couldn’t handle winter, and health staff in crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in years, despite the promises to address it, the backlog for elective surgery up more than 250 per cent. . . 

A roading-come-climate-change-come-transport ideology that sees hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on projects that are late, over budget, and don’t work even if they do get finished.

Central cities that aren’t being frequented because of these polices and the ensuing businesses that suffer because of it.

Presumably, the opposition parties are totting up the myriad working groups and investigations that have been launched over the past five years that 1, haven’t even reported back, and 2, those that have, that have changed what?

The Covid response that still pervades our daily life with masks and orange settings that few, if any, now follow, due to the realisation that so much of it was a panicked reaction early to a health system that couldn’t cope, and two years on, as mentioned, still can’t. . . 

That’s not even a comprehensive list of the government’s failings and failures.

Then came Tuesday’s u-turn:

. . . What it tells us, apart from the fact it’s good news and we can take that money and actually save it, as opposed to giving it to the Government, is that the Labour Party has literally no idea what ordinary every day New Zealanders think.

And that’s mainly because virtually none of them are remotely like the rest of us.

That is the danger of a political party that is stacked with wonks who have spent so little time in the real world. . . 

What they clearly never anticipated, and this is the part that has undone them in so many ways, is the politics of it, the pub test part. The big question; what will New Zealanders thinks?

Will New Zealanders see this as a tax grab? Will New Zealanders see this as yet another broken promise? Will New Zealanders put another nail in the Labour Party credibility coffin, given it shows yet again how non-transparent, how dishonest and not open they really are.

Yes, yes, yes and yes a hundred times over, was the answer.

You ask us to save, you already tax us a fortune.

You up the tax on petrol, you change the rules around investment property and then you invent taxes on fees for our retirement.

What part of that wasn’t going to get the reaction that rained down on them yesterday?

How is it you can be so blind not to see that coming? . . 

How can they be so blind they not only can’t see the problems in the policy in front of them but all the problems their policies are inflicting on us.

It is still far too soon to write the government off, but if, as I hope, it loses power next year, Tuesday’s debacle could well be seen as the point of no return.


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