Word of the day


Spuddling – working ineffectively and feebly because your heart isn’t in it or your mind is elsewhere; working hard but achieving nothing; making a fuss about trivial things as if they are important.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


In defence of the Kiwi diet – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Dr Jacqueline Rowarth disagrees with UK author George Monbiot’s argument that the average New Zealanders diet meat-loving diet could be devastating for the planet.

Overseas experts are not necessarily experts in the New Zealand context.

It seems to be taking us a very long time to realise this, even though we acknowledge that New Zealand is unique.

The country’s geological youth and maritime climate, combined with relatively recent settlement and educated population, mean that the development of the country has followed a different pathway to that of most countries. . . 

Rustling in the spotlight after hundreds of sheep stolen from North Canterbury farm :

The scale of a North Canterbury livestock theft reported to police on Sunday is uncommon, Federated Farmers says, but it estimates rustling is costing New Zealand farmers around $120 million a year.

Farmer Maury Leyland posted on Twitter about the theft of “hundreds” of sheep on Friday and asked for information.

“Beyond gutted, we have had rustlers on our farm in [North] Canterbury,” she wrote.

“Hundreds of sheep stolen. Yards, dogs, and truck must have come in. Someone must have seen something.” . . 

New apricots launching – Stephen Hepburn :

Tastier, juicier and brighter — new types of apricots are to be launched on the domestic and overseas market this summer which, long term, could bring millions of dollars to the Central Otago economy.

The newly established NZ Summer Fresh company announced yesterday it planned to commercialise the first three new apricot cultivars released by Plant & Food Research after nearly two decades of research and development.

Company chairman Stephen Darling said more than 50,000 trees of the new varieties, covering 60ha, were under trial in Central Otago and parts of the North Island.

The three varieties — yet to be properly named — have the potential to give apricot growers a significant boost and lead to increased planting of the fruit. . . 

Forestry conversion: effect on stock numbers expected to become clearer – Sally Rae:

While the increase in farm sales into forestry is yet to lead to a significant reduction in stock numbers, it can be expected very soon, Beef + Lamb New Zealand says.

B+LNZ’s latest stock number survey highlighted the extent of farmland being converted to forestry and said the real impact on livestock numbers was yet to be realised, while the hidden costs were “the demise of rural communities” and labour availability.

In a statement, B+LNZ economic service chief economist Andrew Burtt said there was usually a lag between farm sales and plantings, and planting was constrained by availability of seedlings and labour.

Sheep numbers nationally were steady over the past 12 months and beef cattle numbers fell only slightly, despite unfavourable conditions in some regions. . . 

Milk pick up off to a slow start :

Fonterra says its milk collections for July were 2.4% lower than July last year.

However, this represents only 25 of the full season forecast collection.

“Extremely wet conditions were experienced throughout July, but milk volumes have generally been comparable to the previous season.

“Calving is in full swing in the North Island, with the South Island starting in early August,” it says. . . 

Fonterra launches wellbeing nutrition solutions brand :

Fonterra is taking another step in implementing its strategy to be a leader in nutrition science and innovation with the launch of a new wellbeing solution brand, Nutiani.

The new business-to-business brand is targeted at both the multi-billion-dollar medical and everyday wellbeing nutrition markets.

Fonterra’s Chief Innovation and Brand Officer Komal Mistry-Mehta says the creation of the new brand brings to life concepts that help customers tailor their products to meet consumers’ evolving wellbeing nutrition needs.

“Our health and wellbeing customers are facing growing pressure to accelerate their innovation pipeline to respond to these dynamic consumer demands, yet they face common challenges during new product development and are looking for partners to fill their capability gaps. . .

Anti-human propaganda harming children


Neil Oliver says persuading generations of children they are a plague upon the earth is unforgivable:

The problem isn’t too many people.

The problem is the anti-science eco terrorists who spread fear, prevent progress and promulgate policies that will leave us all colder, hungrier and poorer.

Hat tip: Inquiring Mind

What else don’t they want us to know?


A ‘blunder by a Wellington worker’ allowed the women whose trip led the government to put Northland into lockdown last year to enter the province.

It’s taken a long time for that story to come out, including revelations that the women weren’t prostitutes and didn’t have gang links.

It’s not the first time the government has led us to believe someone was at fault when they weren’t. Remember the PM told us a KFC staff member went to work when she should have been isolating and we later found out that the rules didn’t require that?

Then there was Chris Hipkins having to apologise over what he’d said about Charlotte Bellis.

What else has the government got wrong and what else doesn’t it want us to know about its Covid response?

What lessons could – and must – be learned so mistakes aren’t repeated?

Every party in parliament except Labour wants an inquiry into the response and Richard Prebble has added his voice to that call:

. . . Internationally for the first two years of the pandemic, New Zealand’s response was praised. Commentators often frame the discussion as New Zealand v Sweden. Sweden’s refusal to lockdown or issue mandates, relying instead on their citizens’ common sense, was scorned.

Sweden responded saying that in three years their infection and death rates from Covid will be no higher than countries that have locked down, quarantined and issued mandates. Sweden said they will not have deprived people of their liberties, damaged their children’s education or harmed their economy.

Unlike New Zealand, Sweden has held an independent Corona Commission into its response. The Commission was critical of initial inadequate protection to those in care homes that resulted in 90 per cent of all Covid deaths.

The Commission found that the Swedish Covid death rate was lower than European countries that locked down. The Commission determined the no lockdown strategy was correct, saying the state should only limit the liberty of citizens when absolutely necessary.

The Commission praised the decision to keep schools open, noting Swedish pupils have not had their education disrupted. 

In contrast, international researchers have become increasingly critical of New Zealand’s response.

Epidemiologist and health economist at Stanford University School of Medicine, Professor Jay Bhattacharya writes: “New Zealand’s Zero Covid strategy was immoral, incoherent and a grand failure.”

New Zealand has, he says, “experienced more Covid cases per capita throughout the pandemic than the US … there are the enormous economic, psychological and additional health costs of lockdown that the population will pay out for over the coming year.

“New Zealand failed to vaccinate its population with urgency … if it had not dawdled in obtaining the vaccine, New Zealand could have been open by mid-spring 2021,” he continued. . . 

We could excuse mistakes in the early response because so little was known about the disease and what was the right way to respond.

It’s much harder to excuse, or even explain, subsequent failings including shortages of PPE, the delay in getting vaccines and rolling them out and the delay in allowing Rapid Antigen Tests.

There are lots of questions that need answers, including whether the economic, social and other health costs of the lockdowns were justified.

For two years ministers ignored the Simpson/Roche report recommendation to use RATs. Early in the pandemic my nephew in England was issued RATS by the UK Government. He self-tested to detect that he had Covid. When he tested negative he returned to work. He never lost a day off work longer than necessary or needed to see a health professional.

By contrast, tens of thousands of New Zealanders have been isolating when they are not infectious. Thousands have lost their jobs when their vaccine status was only a threat to their own health. Thousands more have had their lives disrupted by MIQ quarantine that continued long after it served any useful purpose.

The cost of Labour’s failed zero Covid policy to citizens, the economy, health and to education has been huge.

The only country still following the New Zealand model of lockdowns, quarantines and mandates is the police state of communist China.

Future generations will be incredulous. No doubt some future Labour Prime Minister into gesture politics will apologise. No comfort to pupils whose lives will be blighted by their education being disrupted.

We need an independent Covid inquiry. Not to apportion blame. It serves no useful purpose. We need an inquiry to be better prepared for the next pandemic.

Covid is now endemic. The Government needs to abandon the New Zealand model; the traffic lights, compulsory isolation and the mandates. Adopt the Swedish model. Trust the people to use their common sense.

If the government had followed its own traffic light system the South Island would have been in red months ago when the number of infections, people in hospital and deaths were climbing.

Perhaps it knew it no longer has the social licence for the measures imposed in that level.

Perhaps that knowledge is also behind the signals that the requirement to wear masks is likely to be dropped soon.

Will that decision be based on the science or politics?

Getting the answer to that question and all the other ones that ought to be asked needs a truly independent inquiry and it needs to be done as soon as possible so that we can be ready for new developments with Covid, or another disease.

The cost of mistakes with this pandemic are too high and we can’t afford to make the same ones again.

Finding out exactly what went wrong, how and why it went wrong and how to do better is necessary to reduce the risk of getting it wrong again.

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