Word of the day


Rashomon  – relating to differing accounts or subjective interpretations of an event;  an instance when the same event is described in significantly different (often contradictory) ways by different people who were involved.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Beef, dairy must unite to tackle calf crisis– Gerald Piddock:

Rearers ‘have to become a sustainable part of the supply chain’.

The dairy and meat industries will need to work more closely if a permanent solution is to be found to ensure calf-rearers have a more viable future.

Such a solution may mean compromises and concessions from both industries but will be necessary if rearers are to survive. They are locked into a boom-bust cycle that is simply not sustainable, Silver Fern Farms chief supply chain officer Dan Boulton said.

They need to be protected and become a sustainable part of the supply chain. The meat company is exploring ways to reduce the risks rearers face. . . 

Gary Taylor: this whole notion of large scale permanent exotic forests is something that we need to nip in the bud – Angus Kebbell:

Another week goes by and another farm in this country sells to permanent forestry and taking advantage of the current ETS settings. In just a matter of weeks more than 7,000 ha alone have been sold to international companies for the sole purpose of farming carbon. One is the parent company of Ikea and a Swiss company is another. You have to ask yourself the question, are the current ETS settings and in particular the unlimited offsetting opportunities is in the best interest of New Zealand’s future?

This week Gary Taylor from the Environmental Defence Society joins me to give his views on this all-important challenge we face. The Environmental Defence Society or EDS, was founded 51 years ago, with an aim of bringing together the disciplines of law and science.

The Government is about to release a review of the national environmental standards for plantation forestry, so I asked Taylor what can we expect from it’s release. “I’m expecting there to be a shift towards more requirements for resource consents, for forests rather than having permitted activity status, you know, everywhere. And I’m also expecting in conjunction with the with the National Policy Statement on freshwater management a tightening of controls around erosion and sediment and in slash, my position is that I think that forests or the forest sector as a whole has had a bit of a free ride up until now in terms of its environmental performance.”

Taylor also pointed out that the expansion of permanent exotic carbon forests poses a threat to to small rural communities because they’re essentially plant and walk away forests, “So I think that this whole notion of large scale permanent exotic forests is something that we need to nip in the bud.” . . .

Growing farming’s future :

A programme providing school leavers with a viable career option in agriculture has seen student numbers soar in recent years. T

he number of students joining the Growing Future Farmers programme has seven fold in the last two years. The organisation is now recruiting a new general manager to support its growth. GFF’s current general manager Cyn Smith has been instrumental in the programme’s success, supported by a team of 10 regional liaison managers.

The original GFF pilot programme started in 2020 in the Wairarapa and Gisborne involving just 10 students and 10 sheep, beef and deer farms.

This year, more than 60 first year students started with the programme. Next year, 80 students are expected to take up placements on 80 farms in 12 regions across the country.  . .

Make savings now before you have to – Paul Bird

Rising costs are a concern for households and businesses across New Zealand, and dairy farmers are also feeling the impact of high inflation. 

Many farms have had cost increases in their budgets of about $1 per kg of milksolids (equivalent to around a 19% lift from 2020-21 average operating expenses). 

Higher fertiliser, feed, wages and fuel costs are some of the key drivers of these increasing costs. 

Managing your budget in times of high inflation isn’t easy. Any savings you can make in the current season will continue into future seasons, so it’s worthwhile being proactive now, before a fall in milk prices requires action.  . . 

‘Regular crop failures’ if livestock farms convert to arable, study warns

Converting farms from livestock to arable would lead to regular crop failures, according to analysis of one the UK’s largest beef and sheep rearing regions.

The study focused on the southwest of England in response to questions over what could happen to UK livestock farming if society shifts toward more plant-based diets.

It found that the chances of successfully growing winter wheat on fields once used to raise livestock could be as little as 28% in future, as increased rainfall will make sowing the crop impossible in some years.

Forecasts show that in the absence of climate change, yields could be greater than 14 tonnes per hectare – but when the near certain impact of increased future rainfall on sowing and harvest dates were included, it fell in some situations to less than 3t per hectare. . . 

Bee populations facing multiple challenges as Varroa mite and La Niña make for difficult spring – Rachael Lucas:

As spring flowers begin to blossom and temperatures warm up, vulnerable bee populations are beginning to emerge for what will be their busiest time of the year. La Niña

But the forecast wet La Niña conditions may present a challenge for bees foraging for pollen among limited flowering plants, in their efforts to support healthy hives and nourish hungry swarms.

Gippsland beekeeping enthusiast and educator Bill Ringin said swarming was a common occurrence in spring.

“Swarming is the natural process of bees where principally if the colony gets too crowded, the old queen and about half of the bees will decide that they’re going to make another hive,” the Trafalgar East man said. . . 


North Otago Legends – Bruce Albiston


Bruce Albiston is another North Otago Legend:

There are not too many in North Otago that know as much about our history as Bruce Albiston. Bruce’s passion for Historic buildings and local history is contagious. From owning Burnside Homestead to planning the ‘Scott Centenary’ Bruce has left his mark for future generations to come. 

Second chance


Sam Uffindell has been given a second chance:

The National Party caucus met today and reinstated Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell, following an independent investigation which found that Mr Uffindell did not engage in the serious behaviour alleged in the media, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

Mr Uffindell was stood down from the caucus on August 9 after a woman made allegations about Mr Uffindell when they shared a student flat with four others in Otago in 2003. Mr Uffindell strongly denied the incident that his flatmate described.

The National Party appointed King’s Counsel Maria Dew to conduct an independent investigation into the woman’s claim, which followed Mr Uffindell’s admission of bullying at high school.

The investigation also provided a safe and confidential environment for anyone else to come forward with information or further allegations.

Fourteen people were interviewed during the investigation, and a number of written statements were provided.

Mr Luxon says he and National Party President Sylvia Wood received Ms Dew’s report late on Thursday night.

“On behalf of the Party, I want to thank Ms Dew for her diligent, professional and impartial work, and also thank all those who participated as complainants, witnesses and referees. Consistent with confidentiality undertakings given, the report will not be made public.”

To summarise:

  • Ms Dew’s thorough investigation did not substantiate any allegations of bullying outside Mr Uffindell’s time at King’s College.
  • Regarding the alleged Otago University flat incident, there are differing accounts of what occurred and Ms Dew concluded the event was not as it was described in the media. Despite this conclusion, it is clear that the complainant’s experience in a deteriorating flat relationship caused her harm.
  • Aside from his time at King’s College, and interactions with his flatmate at university, no one else came forward who considered themselves a victim of Mr Uffindell behaviour.

“The investigation has found there are differing accounts of an incident that happened 20 years ago in the context of a student flat that was breaking up. Mr Uffindell has acknowledged that things were said that he now realises his flatmate overheard, which he regrets,” says Mr Luxon.

“Mr Uffindell has also publicly acknowledged that he was a bully at King’s College and that this behaviour harmed a number of people, for which he has apologised.

“With the known matters having now been independently considered, and with Mr Uffindell’s own acknowledgement that he is a different person now to the person he once was, we are now able to move forward.

“Mr Uffindell is looking forward to working hard for the people of Tauranga. I am confident he can and will do that.”

Uffindell was right to disclose the bullying before he was selected.

He should have disclosed it to the voting delegates and the public and that should have been a condition of his passing pre-selection.

That he didn’t and it wasn’t let down the voting delegates, Tauranga voters and the party.

All other pre-selection committees, and the board, will have learned from this. It must not happen again.

Uffindell says he will seek reselection. Delegates, and Tauranga voters if he is selected again, will be able to decide if  his past misdeeds matter and if he continues as MP.

In the mean time he’s been given a second chance as anyone who is truly remorseful and has changed, should be.

Interestingly, Labour couldn’t criticise the decision so criticised the timing of the announcement.

Those who wonder about media bias might note that several outlets led with that without noting the hypocrisy:

“Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson admonishing the National Party for the cynical timing of an announcement is the h-bomb of hypocrisy,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Last week Labour did the exact same thing on a far larger scale. They dropped all Covid policies on the day Her Majesty passed away. Two years of policy disposed of at a time when the country is in mourning.

“If we go back a month then how about announcing Trevor Mallard’s cushy diplomatic posting to Ireland 15 minutes before the 6pm news bulletin.

“Or earlier this year dumping announcements concerning major constitutional reform like Three Waters and He Puapua on Friday afternoons.

“Or if we cast our minds back to the 1pm updates from the podium of truth, we can recall the time the Government didn’t announce that someone had escaped MIQ until after the Prime Minister had given her update and she was safely away from questioning media.

“Labour once claimed it was “the most open and transparent Government ever.” Labour’s now so transparent we can see right through them.

“If Grant Robertson thinks National are “disrespectful and cynical”, I’d hate to know what he thinks of his own government.”

Could it be he thinks there’s nothing to criticise National for about this decision but it’s worth trying a distraction by criticising the timing?

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