Word of the Day

29/09/2022

Curfuggle – a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views;  a total mess; state of utter disarray; confusion or disorder.


Sowell says

29/09/2022


Rural round-up

29/09/2022

We don’t want farmers to break the law :

The Government’s winter grazing regime is becoming increasingly confusing for farmers as D-Day looms to have consents in place, warns Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and DairyNZ

The Government has been slow to implement freshwater farm plans, forcing farmers into an expensive consent process, while councils nationwide are struggling with the consenting burden.

This has left farmers at risk of breaking the law as planting for winter crops needs to take place in late spring, says Federated Farmers National Board spokesperson, Water and Environment, Colin Hurst. 

“We’ve been told by the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Primary Industries and various regional councils that ‘it’s ok’ and nothing will happen if farmers get planting, even though they’d be at risk of breaking the law.” . . 

Have your say on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructure) Amendment Bill:

The Primary Production Committee is seeking public submissions on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill. This bill would enable Fonterra to implement a new capital structure.

The bill would amend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 to allow Fonterra’s unit fund to be partially and permanently delinked. Fonterra’s ability to limit the size of the unit fund would be specifically excluded from conduct that could be considered illegal.

The bill also seeks to improve the transparency, and strengthens the Commerce Commission’s oversight of Fonterra’s base milk price-setting arrangements. It would also support liquidity in trade of Fonterra shares. . . 

Non-food corps are eating our food – Deepak K Ray:

The world’s farmers grow crops for food as well as other uses. Those other uses are threatening to crowd out our chance to feed the world’s hungry, writes Deepak K Ray.

It’s sometimes bandied about that enough food is grown globally to feed everyone now and into the future. Undernourishment is ‘just a distribution challenge’. And it’s mostly true: enough kilojoules do and will be harvested in just the top 10 global crops, which account for more than 80 percent of all calories. We will grow an extra 14,000 trillion kilocalories (around 59,000 trillion kilojoules) by 2030.

But while distribution is certainly one challenge, under the hood things are not so simple; all harvested crops are not for direct food consumption.

Crops are often consumed with little to no processing, such as apples from the tree and tortillas made from the flour of a wheat or maize crop. But there are another six reasons crops are grown: animal feed (for dairy, eggs and meat production); the food processing industry (think high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil and modified starch); exports (to countries that can pay); industrial use (think ethanol, bio-diesel, bagasse, bio-plastics, and pharmaceuticals); seeds; and then there are crop losses. These last two categories are relatively small, though in the 2010s crop losses were still relatively high in Africa. . . 

The fragile magic of highly productive land – Emile Donovan:

Not all land is created equal.

Some – which we call ‘highly productive land’ – is, as it says on the tin, highly productive.

That means it’s much more flexible than other types of land: you can grow many different types of fruit or vegetables on it; you can adapt it for other types of farming, all with minimal input from farmers.

Aotearoa puts its highly productive land to good use: in breadbaskets, like Pukekohe, we grow food that feeds New Zealanders, and is exported around the world.  . . 

More seasonal workers welcome :

BusinessNZ welcomes the Government’s announcement of another 3000 places for seasonal workers to help ease workforce pressure, and would like to see the same done for more sectors.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says this afternoon’s announcement is a good start.

“Hopefully by recognising the urgent need for more workers in the horticultural sector, the Government is also open to considering the shortages New Zealand is currently facing across all sectors and at all levels of employment.

“The global war for talent has resulted in a very competitive international environment and New Zealand businesses are looking to source skills from the New Zealand labour market where that is possible. . . 

Increased RSE cap will help wine industry meet seasonal work peaks :

New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes the announcement today that the Government has increased the RSE cap to 19,000, providing 3000 additional places.

“The availability of skilled seasonal workers continues to be a critical concern for many growers and wineries. The announcement today will help the New Zealand wine industry to plan with more certainty to meet seasonal work peaks, and ensure we can continue to make premium quality wine. This decision will benefit Pacific workers, their families, and our wine regions,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“There are very clear requirements for all accredited employers regarding accommodation, and pastoral care. As an industry we expect these are upheld, as a minimum. It is a privilege to have this scheme, to enable our industry to meet our seasonal work peaks, and RSE employees must be provided with fair and ethical working conditions – anything less is unacceptable.”

“This increase recognises the Government’s confidence in the scheme, and the confidence they have in the primary industries to get this right, and give RSE workers the experience they deserve. This is a responsibility that will not be taken lightly.” . . 


Beautifying the blogosphere

29/09/2022


Three Waters gets worse

29/09/2022

Loss of local control, increased bureaucracy and higher costs are all good reasons to oppose the government’s Three Waters plans.

Thomas Cranmer has found another:

Deep within the Water Services Entities Bill is a mechanism that will have significant influence at the operating level of the structure – it is a mechanism that is only available to mana whenua. . . 

That mechanism is Te Mana o te Wai aspirations which the government has failed to explain clearly.

In truth, the Government cannot fully provide this explanation because to do so would call into question their assurances around co-governance and would highlight an inherent contradiction in the legislation. . .

Appropriately, given their controversial nature, the Te Mana o te Wai mechanism lies deep in the Water Services Entities Bill —in Subpart 3 of Part 4 of the Bill to be precise. Section 140 of the Bill simply states that “mana whenua whose rohe or takiwā includes a freshwater body in the service area of a water services entity may provide the entity with a Te Mana o te Wai statement for water services”. They can be provided by one or more iwi and can be reviewed and replaced by those iwi at any time. Once received, the board of the relevant water services entity has an obligation to engage with mana whenua and prepare a plan that sets out how it intends to give effect to that Te Mana o te Wai statement. And that is where it ends. The Bill is silent on what can (and cannot) be included in the statements and provides no guidance as to the outcomes that the statements are intended to achieve. In short, there are no limits to the scope of Te Mana o te Wai statements.

That sounds awfully like Treaty principals which are often used in spite of being difficult, if not impossible , to define.

The relevant water entity board must simply give effect to those statements “to the extent that it applies to the entity’s duties, functions, and powers”.

Their importance in the governance structure of Three Waters cannot be overstated. . . 

Moreover, the Bill sets out 6 objectives for the water services entities in section 11 and a further 7 ‘operating principles’ in section 13 – one of which is “to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai”. The principles are not set out in any order of priority and there is no mechanism for determining how to resolve any conflict that will inevitably arise between those principles. Requiring the boards of the water service entities to undertake a massive nationwide infrastructure upgrade whilst also satisfying the requirements of Te Mana o te Wai statements alongside their other statutory obligations seems to be an impossible task. However these reforms are so ideological in nature that issues of practicality cannot be allowed to dilute their potency.

Indeed Mahuta acknowledged the same in her June 2021 Cabinet paper:

“The tensions have been difficult to navigate … Notwithstanding the complexity, I consider that my reforms of the three waters system provide the opportunity for a step change in the way iwi/Maori rights and interests are recognised throughout the system.”

Few others outside Government or leadership of Maoridom have recognised the significance of the Te Mana o te Wai mechanism. One of the first to do so was the Mayor of Kaipara, Dr Jason Smith who has issued a number of warnings – all of which have been roundly ignored by the media. It’s no coincidence that Dr Smith was a member of the Government’s Independent Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability of the Three Waters entities because you really need to be that close to the reforms to understand the details and nuance.

Certainly, no-one can appreciate the import of Te Mana o te Wai statements by reading the Bill alone which explains why they have failed to register on the public’s radar but they may do well to heed the warning given by Quintus Rufus Curtius in his history of Alexander the Great – altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi (the deepest rivers flow with least sound).

It’s not just people who aren’t Maori who will be excluded, Maori who don’t have an iwi or are disconnected from theirs will be too.

If you don’t think this is worrying, consider this:

A 91.75% majority vote to change Playcentre Aotearoa’s constitution has been overruled by some of the organisation’s roopu (governance bodies), Playcentre insiders have revealed.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said the nationwide vote on Saturday morning was designed to change the parent-led child care education organisation’s constitution to a “trust deed” so — among other issues —  more of the funding it received would go to local playcentres, rather than “98%” going to the administrative body, which operates a bulk-funding model.

In the vote, parents and employees at 366 of 400 playcentres voted yes in favour of change.

However, before any change could come into effect, a separate vote from  the organisation’s roopu needed to be considered.

The organisation’s six roopu are “governance bodies within Playcentre Aotearoa, consisting of whanau Maori, to give whanau Maori an equitable voice in Playcentre governance”, which require at least five of the six roopu to agree in order to achieve a consensus.

Four roopu voted in favour and two against, but  the two-thirds  majority was not enough to carry the change. . . 

If two people can contravene the will of 370 others at Playcentre, what hope is there of local control over water when co-governance and Te Mana o te Wai will be imposed on us if Three Waters becomes law?


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