Word of the day


Advigilate – to keep a vigilant watch; to watch diligently.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


What the ‘F’ is going on? – Mark Daniel:

Rabobank’s Emma Higgins recently outlined some of the current headaches facing the agriculture sector.

At the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) Conference, held in Christchurch, she focused on a number of ‘F’ words – freight, fuel, fertiliser, feed, folk and farmer spending.

Higgins looked at the state of the global shipping industry and what had happened pre- and post-Covid, covering a period from early 2018 to June 2022. She explained that during the pre-Covid era, freight rates had remained largely static with most companies making little or no margin. However, since early 2020, rates had skyrocketed, alliances and consolidations had become the norm and major players were reporting margins approaching 40% or more.

Higgins warned those needing to ship goods in or out of the country not to expect freight costs to return to pre-Covid levels, even though there had been a recent softening of rates. She also noted there is an ongoing problem with scheduling reliability – boats arriving on time. Pre-Covid this was typically at 85%, but more lately was sitting at 35%. . . 

Many flow-on effects if scroll plains classified as wetlands – Shawn McAvinue:

A Maniototo Basin farmer fears proposed new freshwater rules will remove an important tool used to protect a unique scroll plain.

Puketoi Station owner Emma Crutchley said her nearly 3000ha sheep, beef and arable farm was often dry.

About 350mm of rain fell each year on the farm, which is about a 20-minute drive southwest of Ranfurly.

When it tips down, the overflow of the meandering Taieri River transforms a low-lying area of her farm to a “large, slow-moving lake”. . . 

Winter crop consent logjam ‘could reach 10,000’ – Neal Wallace:

Delays in finalising freshwater farm plans threaten bureaucratic snarl-up.

An estimated 10,000 farmers may require resource consent to intensively winter stock on crops next year.

A meeting this week between farming groups and the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) will confirm if a compromise can be found to the consenting requirement, which many fear will overwhelm regional council staff.

It has been estimated that 2000 farmers in Southland and 1000 in Waikato will require resource consent, and farming leaders calculate that nationally, potentially a further 7000 may also need consent. . . 

Ex-Feds dairy boss makes it 3-way battle for DairyNZ board seats – Sudesh Kissun:

Former Federated Farmers leader Chris Lewis is one of three candidates confirmed for DairyNZ director elections.

The Waikato farmer will take on sitting directors Tracy Brown, Waikato and Elaine Cook, Bay of Plenty, both retiring by rotation and seeking re-election.

Voting starts September 19 and ends on October 17. Results will be announced at DairyNZ’s annual meeting in Invercargill the next day.

Lewis, who milks 970 cows at Pukeatua, believes he will bring a farmer’s perspective to the board. . . 

Vets hold the line against M bovis – Mary van Andel :

Local vets are putting the country on track to be the world’s first to eradicate the disease.

Much of the work veterinarians do is behind the scenes but underpins aspects of our economy, environment and way of life. Across New Zealand, veterinarians provide valuable technical expertise and are recognised as trusted advisers on a range of issues, including animal health and welfare, and disease surveillance and investigation. They play a key role in our biosecurity system.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the private veterinarian who first identified Mycoplasma bovis in NZ in 2017. Since those early and often difficult days, private veterinarians have made a significant contribution in identifying the index case and reporting cases of suspected disease, as well as undertaking on-farm testing and supporting their clients affected by the eradication programme. 

If it had been left unchecked, M bovis could have cost the industry $1.2 billion over the first 10 years, with ongoing productivity losses across the farming sector and animal welfare concerns. As we near the halfway mark of our estimated 10-year eradication programme, we are aiming to move from controlling the last known pockets of the disease, to provisional absence. We are on track to become the first country to eradicate M bovis.

An important part of my role at the Ministry for Primary Industries is to identify ways to build relationships that bind our animal health community together to enable successful biosecurity partnerships. MPI is NZ’s largest employer of veterinarians, with 300 working in five of the nine business units, across all regions, including overseas postings.  . . 

Ploughwoman qualifies for national champs – Shawn McAvinue:

Southland ploughwoman Tryphena Carter is going to the National Ploughing Championships next year.

The Waimea Ploughing Club member qualified for the nationals on the first day of the Middlemarch, Taieri and Tokomairiro ploughing matches in Strath Taieri.

“That’s really exciting,” Carter said.

She got podium finishes in the conventional class on all three days — the Tokomairiro match in Sutton on August 26 and the Taieri and Middlemarch matches in Middlemarch on August 27 and 28 respectively. . . 

North Otago Legends – Ele Ludemann


Sharing previous podcasts of North Otago Legends hasn’t needed any second thoughts.

They’ve featured interesting people talking about interesting lives.

I hesitated about this one though.

What persuaded me to share it was the knowledge that every time I’ve talked about the short lives and early deaths of my sons, and my daughter’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer, it’s helped someone.

So here it is:

The highs and the lows have never stopped Ele Ludemann but the tough times have defined her and made her stronger. Ele is open and honest with Gary and me on the podcast and also shares her involvement within the community. Chatting with Ele today was good for the soul and helps you appreciate the many blessings we take for granted.

Democracy worked


The sky didn’t fall:

The principal of a Christchurch school where a convicted white supremacist failed to be elected to its board believes the outcome underlines what the school is about.

Philip Arps put his name forward as a candidate for one of the five parent representatives at Linwood’s Te Aratai College.

The election results were published earlier today, with Arps the lowest polling candidate.

Arps was jailed for 21 months after sharing footage of the 15 March Christchurch mosque attacks. . .

Arps’ nomination caused widespread alarm and questions over whether his nomination could be stopped.

But Mike Hosking pointed out, democracy worked:

Right, panic over, democracy wins. Philip Arps is not going to be on the school board in my old hood of Linwood in Christchurch.

Hopefully for all those getting exercised about the fringe players in the upcoming local bodies can sit back a bit and realise democracy, by and large, works.

Not perfectly, and not to our satisfaction a lot of the time, but it’s a hell of a lot better than most of the alternatives.

The danger these days is we don’t seem to like democracy anymore. In America the right thinks the election was stolen. They don’t trust voting or voters.

In a place like New Zealand the left get all upset when they see someone who is a bit weird on Facebook. The campaigns that have been launched here are the height of arrogance. They smack of “we know best.”

They say “Of course we like democracy, vote for any one you like. Unless, of course, it’s one of those people we’ve decided you shouldn’t vote for.” . . 

In spite of their claim to be liberal, it is more often people on the left, rather than centre or right,  who get exercised by some people’s political aspirations and want to stop them by other means than democracy.

How often do we see people who want to stop those on the the far right, being concerned by candidates and activists on the far left?

Have you ever seen or heard the term far left, or even left being attached to, for example, Greenpeace and its members?

Has anyone tried to change the rules to stop people with views at the opposite extreme of Arps’ seeking election?

There are very good reasons to be concerned about Arps or anyone else with his views being elected to a school board, council or parliament.

There are equally good reasons to be concerned  about people with extreme views at the other end of the political spectrum.

But the answer to the problem of extremists isn’t panicked attempts to stop some people standing. It’s trusting democracy to work, as it did with this school board elections.


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