Word of the day


Apopemptic – a farewell address; valedictory; pertaining to leave-taking or departing.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Genetic modification in New Zealand – scientists call for 20-year rethink – Jamie Morton:

Twenty years after the Corngate scandal turned genetic modification into a political hot potato, leading science figures hope a new review will bring changes. Jamie Morton reports.

It’s called ciltacabtagene autoleucel.

Its trading name, Carvykti, doesn’t roll off the tongue any easier.

But it marks a major milestone in one of our most complex, contentious and enduring debates: genetic modification. . .

Fonterra’s competitors challenges its capital restructuring plan but the co-op has the backing of our agriculture minister – Point of Order:

New Zealand’s   big  dairy  company, Fonterra,  has  come  under  pressure   from  two  directions  this  week.  First,  its  fortnightly GDT auction registered  another   fall  in  prices. Second,  it  faced  fire   from   four  of  its  competitors which  lobbied  the  government against  its  capital  restructuring  plan.

On  the  first issue, the latest  sale  has  taken  the GDT index  to  the  lowest level  since  January  last  year, although  what  may  soften that particular  blow  is  the  devaluation  of  the  local  currency. The  NZ dollar is  now  trading well  down against  the  greenback at US56c ,  from where  it  was  then,  around US70c.

The average price at the  auction fell 4.6% to US$3723 a tonne, after falling 3.5% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March. . .

Sharing story sustainability – Sally Rae:

As Becks Smith prepares to record her podcast The Whole Story, she puts a port-a-cot mattress on the headboard of her bed to help with sound quality.

Her bedroom doubled as a studio, given many of the rooms of the Maniototo farmhouse she shares with husband Jason and their three young children, were too echoey.

Occasionally, their working dogs could be heard barking in the background of the podcast, while rural connectivity issues sometimes also had to be worked through.

But it summed her up; rather than having a slick studio somewhere, it was authentic and real, based on a 700ha sheep, beef and deer property in the heart of rural Otago.

“To resonate with farmers, you don’t need polished and shiny,” she said. . .

Lambs to slaughter  – Clive Bibby :

Any farmer trying to get space for lambs that need to be killed before they cut their teeth will identify with this very apt description which could also be applied to a wider difficulty that is affecting the whole country.

Unfortunately the problem in all its forms is a direct result of the government’s obsession with an ideological target that is being increasingly seen as a misplaced interpretation of world climatic events – particularly in how we in New Zealand should react in mitigation to the perceived threat of global warming.

Most intelligent observers, especially those of us charged with rescuing the nation from the avoidable mistakes made during Covid, will be appalled, if not frightened by the government’s determination to pursue the disastrous path on which we have all been committed. 

As one approaching the twilight years of my life and a keen admirer of the farmers who have time and again over the years come to the rescue of the dangerous halfwits we have mistakenly elected to the highest office in the land, I am worried that this time, our collective effort may not be enough. . .

Southern Pastures measuring dairy for good :

Ethical investor Southern Pastures, the country’s largest institutional dairy investment fund, has been judged to be a Responsible Investment Leader for the seventh year running.

It remains the only organization from New Zealand’s agriculture and food sectors to ever be included in the annual benchmark report released by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

Southern Pastures owns 19 dairy farms in Waikato and Canterbury and is the owner of premium dairy brand Lewis Road Creamery and wholesale business NZ Grass Fed Products LP.

“So often the pastoral industry is judged by outputs such as emissions, but we’re not nearly as rigorously measured or assessed for the positive services that some of us provide,” says Prem Maan, Southern Pastures’ Executive Chairman. . . 

New Zealand’s top sausages announced :

New World Te Rapa in Hamilton and Zaroa Meats in Auckland have been announced as the Supreme Award joint winners in the 2022 Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. The judges couldn’t split New World Te Rapa’s Pork sausage and Zaroa Meats’ Aoraki Salami, instead crowning them joint winners of the Supreme Award.

The successful sausages were announced at a special Sausage Mixer event this evening where butchers from across the nation gathered to find out who had taken out the top spot. It’s not the first time there has been a tie, but judges were unanimous that both sausages had all the qualities they were looking for to beat out over 530 other entries.

Porsche Davis, of New World Te Rapa says “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I wasn’t expecting to win gold to start with let alone this” When asked the secret to their Supreme sausage, Porsche Davis was giving nothing away “We did recently update our pork sausage recipe, it’s made from New Zealand pork but I can’t reveal any trade secrets, you have to try it to understand!”

Marc Zabern of Zaroa Meats says “my father is the mastermind behind the supreme salami, he’s been designing the most incredible sausages for years now and when he created this Wagyu and Venison Salami we knew it was special. It’s a taste sensation.” . . 

Refreshing approach to roading


Auckland mayor Wayne Brown wants a new approach from Auckland Transport:

I have been elected as Mayor with a mandate for change. It will not surprise you that in over 300 campaign events, by far the most consistent and strongest message I heard from the people of Auckland was the need to lead a change in approach at AT and fix our transport network. I promised to do so. I have heard the same messages from members of the new Governing Body and the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Much work lies ahead for the council family to gain the trust and confidence of Aucklanders when it comes to transport policy and services, and the management of upgrades and major projects. . . 

I seek a complete change in approach at AT. You appear to have been focussed on changing how Aucklanders live, using transport policy and services as a tool.  Instead, AT must seek to deeply understand how Aucklanders actually live now, how they want to live in the future, and deliver transport services that support those aspirations.

AT needs to exercise better judgement, as well as listen to and follow the wishes of local communities. That includes understanding that AT’s decisions impact the lives of people every day.  AT must understand the families who are struggling to move around the region: pick-up their children, do the groceries, get home safely after-dark, and juggle other commitments. You must understand the local businesses who rely on transport connections and their needs now and in the future. And you must recognise that the transport network materially impacts Aucklanders’ safety – especially at night, for women, for young people, the elderly and for shift workers. 

Aucklanders do not always have the choice of using an e-bike, a bus or even a train but rely on the roading and carparking networks to make their life functional.

By focussing on truly understanding how all Aucklanders want to live and the transport services they want to support those aspirations – not just those who participate in formal consultation processes – and then exercising good judgment, AT can make Aucklanders’ lives better and easier. Through decisions that do not reflect the wishes of local communities, you have been making them worse. . . 

Auckland is not the only place this needs to happen.

Dunedin’s last mayor and too many of his councillors, also showed a complete lack of understanding of the purpose of roads and need for parking.

He wanted to change the one-way system, which allows residents and through traffic to get through the city efficiently, to two-way streets.

Work is already under way pedestrianising George street with no understanding of how that with the loss of parks will negatively impact shops.

The new council won’t be able to undo what’s already been done but I hope it will see sense on retaining the one-way system.

Just as in Auckland the green cart has been put in front of the practical horses inconveniencing people and threatening businesses.

In the immediate term, I request that the Council and AT work together on the following priorities: 

a) Demonstrate to me, the new Governing Body, the Independent Māori Statutory Board and the public that AT accepts the need to far more deeply understand how Aucklanders live now and how they want to live in the future, and that your role is to deliver transport services today and in the future to support those aspirations.

b) Clean up Auckland’s roads, by getting rid of unnecessary road cones and lane closures. I expect AT to take full account of the social and economic disruption of its traffic management approach, which should be risk-based and proportionate. . . 

There is a plague of road cones and speed restrictions throughout the country, so many in places where there is no apparent need for them that it is encouraging drivers to ignore them with the consequent danger of them not slowing down when for safety’s sake they need to.

Traffic management requirements for road works used to be in a notebook that fitted in a top pocket. Now there’s a couple of manuals and people employed specially to sort and supervise them.

Everything that makes getting around adds time and costs and  increase frustration.

It’s based on anti-car ideology and is often impractical.

How refreshing to have a mayor who understands that.

Funding programmes that work


National plans to fund a programme that delivers positive social change:

Social investment will be the organising framework for the next National Government’s approach to the funding and delivery of social services, said National’s Social Investment Spokesperson Nicola Willis in a Guest Lecture hosted by Victoria University today.

“Kids ram-raiding shopping malls, thousands of families living in motel rooms and cars, soaring truancy rates, and a growing list of social problems are of great concern to New Zealanders.

“Despite the increasing billions spent on well-intended programmes, endless Government strategies and thousands more people employed to help, traditional public systems and services are still failing many New Zealanders in most need of community support.

Labour mistakes throwing money at problems, and a growing bureaucracy to address them, for solving them.

“I’m determined that the next National Government will bring the Social Investment approach back to life. The basic idea underpinning Social Investment is that if Government intervenes earlier and more effectively for our most disadvantaged citizens then their lives could be so much better. 

“National’s Social Investment approach will identify, fund and scale up the actions that will have the most positive impact on people in the long run. It will make use of sophisticated data and evaluation approaches to identify what works and, crucially, what doesn’t.

This is very different from Labour’s approach which, in spite of it trumpeting a Wellbeing Budget, is overseeing a deterioration in every wellbeing measure.

“This bold new approach to delivering social services will be supported by a new Social Investment Fund. The Social Investment Fund will invest in programmes that promise to change the lives of New Zealanders with the greatest needs. It will start small and scale up over time.

“Initial funding would be provided by Government through the Budget process, and would be topped-up each year, including by redeploying funding from any Government initiatives that may have received disappointing social impact evaluations.

“I can imagine, for example, a National Government might deploy the Social Investment Fund to tackle the task of delivering secure, sustainable housing for people currently living for extended periods in emergency housing. 

“My hope is that the Social Investment Fund would become so effective at delivering results that ultimately New Zealanders seeking positive social change for the disadvantaged might choose to invest their funds with it. 

“There could be huge power in combining the forces of Government social investment experience with the capital and expertise of the philanthropic and charitable sector.

“I want results. If private capital can be better deployed to help change the lives of more New Zealanders, then I will not be afraid to use it. The next National Government will be focused on doing what works.” 

Results. That will be a welcome change from announcements and announcements of announcements and promises with no targets and an inability to deliver.

It is also refreshing that this policy will help people on need.

Bill English introduced social investment which was resulting in positive changes to people’s lives under the last National government.

It is to Labour’s shame that it abandoned the policy for purely political reasons for which we’re all paying the price.

A change of government will bring a welcome and much-needed change of focus, using earlier intervention and targeting assistance at those who need it most.

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