Word of the day


Rantum-scantum – careless; chaotic; disorderly; reckless.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Ag sector not impressed – David Anderson :

NZ’s farming sector has been left disappointed and stunned over the Government’s proposal to price agricultural emissions.

Federated Farmers argues the plans would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand, putting trees where farms used to be”. It accuses the Government of throwing out the years of work the sector put into finding a solution and said it was “deeply unimpressed” with the Government’s take on what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward.

Modelling done by Ministry for Primary Industries shows that without representation – and assuming farmers paid the levies at the farm gate – using the price proposed by HWEN of 11c a kilo of methane, by 2030 production of milksolids would be down by up to 5.9%, lamb down 21.4%, beef down 36.7% and wool down 21.1%.

The same modelling showed that 2.7% of dairy land would go out of dairy production while 17.7% of sheep and cattle country would cease running livestock, presumably to be converted to forestry. . .

Emissions plan will sound death knell for farmer s – Mayor – Peter Burke :

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the Government proposal to charge the ag sector for emissions will be the death knell for East Coast farmers.

He says farmers like himself were already being treated like second class citizens and this proposal reinforces that.

“It takes away all hope,” he told Rural News.

Little says farmers are now talking about selling up and going to Australia where he says agriculture is booming. . . 

BLNZ calls out HWEN changes – Annette Scott:

More than two years of cross-sector collaboration with uncomfortable conversations and robust debate on pricing emissions has not been recognised and “I am gutted”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Nicky Hyslop says.

“I am gutted as a sheep and beef farmer and as a BLNZ director with the government decision to make significant changes to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), which now have an unacceptable impact on a sheep and beef farmer,” Hyslop told farmers at the central South Island farmer council annual meeting.

“We get the current farmer anger and frustration but let’s channel that into strong messages that will resonate with the public, build pressure on the government and get constructive changes to make this whole thing workable.

“The bottom line is we are not going to agree to anything that threatens the viability of our industry and of our family farms. . . 

Call for more support for rural communities’ fight against climate change :

Government support for rural communities is vital to realising the potential in mitigating climate change says Rural Women New Zealand.

“Our members care for our land, our people and rural communities and we acknowledge the need to adapt, however, we would like to see more work on empowering rural communities through the provision of resources to effect positive change,” says National President Gill Naylor.

“There is no doubt that the solutions proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Change Partnership and the Government’s discussion document on pricing agricultural emissions, will have an impact on rural communities.

“Rural communities include the towns and regional centres which service them – the adverse impact of, and the opportunities afforded by, emissions pricing stretch further than the farm gate. . . 

Trust takes Ahuwhenua Trophy for top farm :

The Wi Pere Trust, a large sheep and beef farming operation at Te Karaka near Gisborne, was awarded the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. 

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor made the announcement at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards dinner in Hawke’s Bay. He said Māori account for 25% of the production of sheep beef and wool in New Zealand, and have brought a highly professional approach to their farming operations. 

He encouraged everyone to go along to Ahuwhenua Trophy field days to better understand the complexity of the farms and passion of the farmers.

Trudy Meredith of Wi Pere Trust said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was absolutely amazing – especially given this was the first time they had entered the competition.  . . 

NZ Rural Land diversifies into forestry – Hugh Stringleman :

New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) is moving into forestry land ownership at a cost of $63 million for five properties in the Manawatū/Whanganui region.

The listed landlord has entered an agreement with private company NZ Forest Leasing to acquire the forest estate of approximately 2400ha and lease it all back to NZFL for a period of 20 years.

The settlement date for the acquisition is April 15, 2023 and the first year’s lease payment will be $4.98m.

Thereafter annual lease payments are subject to CPI-linked adjustments. . . 

Sign of the times


This sign is on a pole between a footpath and a road.

When I first saw it I wondered why it was needed.

There was no noticeable difference in the width of the path in front or behind the sign.

On my return trip I noticed that there was an identical sign on the other side of the pole.

That doesn’t make sense.

If the path narrows on one side how can it also narrow on the other?

Even if one side was narrower than the other, why does it need a sign?

If the change in width was significant surely anyone using the path would notice. If it wasn’t significant there would be no need of a sign.

Perhaps it’s a trick to confuse or bemuse, or maybe it’s a sign of the times when we can’t be trusted to use our own powers of observation.

Will she stay or will she go?


Bryce Edwards writes on the increasing speculation about Jacinda Ardern quitting before next year’s election:

Tomorrow it will be five years since Ardern was sworn in as Prime Minister. At that time she was incredibly popular, and her support kept rising, hitting its heights in 2020.

That tide has certainly turned in recent months, and there are signs that Ardern is headed for a very difficult time as Prime Minister in the near future. Economic and social factors may get much worse. And the prospect of Labour’s popularity declining further is possible, especially as difficult reforms throw up problems. Re-election in 2023 has never seemed more in doubt.

Unsurprisingly, there has been an upswing in speculation about how long Ardern will stay on as leader and prime minister. The idea of her stepping down before the next election is gaining traction, despite there being no obvious candidate in the Labour Party who could do a better job than her. . . 

That there’s no obvious successor who could do better is not a ringing endorsement of the incumbent.

Ardern will always have her critics. For example, no one will have been surprised that the business community have become deeply disillusioned in Ardern. The latest Herald Mood of the Boardroom survey ranked Ardern as only the 12th best performer in Cabinet. Rating her out of five, the CEOs gave her 2.3. This was down from nearly 4/5 in 2020 – the business community were previously very supportive of her leadership, especially during the Covid period.

However, most crucially, support on the political left for Ardern has also been on the decline. Progressive sectors of society that were highly enthusiastic about Ardern’s leadership early on, seem to have lost faith that she will fulfill her promises about child poverty or climate change.

The narrative of non-delivery hurts Labour and Ardern. Those who might normally tend to be supporters have had to face up to the fact that the Government is very good at talking, but less effective at delivering what has been promised. . . 

Until Covid struck National was ahead or only slightly behind Labour in the polls in spite of the former’s then-leader being far less popular than the latter’s.

There were good grounds for that. Labour was unprepared for government in 2017 and mistook aspiration for effective action.

It’s still making that mistake and the consequences of that are worsening as inflation bites harder, making us all poorer and life much, much harder for many.

The sort of policies and progress that might have enthused and mobilised Labour’s own natural support base simply haven’t happened. The failure to make advances on economic inequality, housing – remember Kiwibuild, or the state housing wait list – together with slow or ineffective progress on climate change, means that those on the political left are sometimes the biggest critics of Ardern. . .

They’re joining a growing crowd further to the right incensed by policies that are failing the country economically, environmentally and socially; aggravated by increasing racial divisions.

The Labour Party annual conference takes place next month, and will be a chance for Ardern and her colleagues to show that the party has some new ideas and momentum. There are so many problems building up steam at the moment, and yet Labour and Ardern look like they have run out of steam and ideas themselves. When this happens, it’s normally a good idea to consider the political exit door earlier than waiting to be pushed out. 

Will she stay or will she go?

That the question is being asked so often leads credence to the belief that the chances of her sticking around will continue to diminish as the chances of her winning a third term also worsen.

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