Word of the day


Coequitate – to ride with someone; to ride together.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


More frustration as southern farmers meet on HWEN – Neal Wallace :

Farmers remain far from convinced of the merits of the government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) agricultural emissions charging document.

A second meeting of southern farmers within a week was dominated by anger, exasperation, accusations that levy bodies are not fighting hard enough and claims political ideology is trumping common sense – all underpinned by contempt for the government policy.

About 50 people attended the Beef + Lamb NZ Southern South Island Farmer Council meeting in South Otago on Monday following a BLNZ meeting in Gore on Friday at which about 100 farmers expressed similar sentiments.

Discussion on Monday rapidly switched to the impact of the government’s proposal to cost agricultural emissions. . .

The pile-on effect gets worse – Peter Burke :

Farmers in many parts of the North Island are now facing a looming feed crisis.

The rain has been relentless during winter and spring and the ground is saturated in a way not seen before. This applies not only to dairy farmers but also horticulturalists and anyone who works the land for a living. Not only has there been heavy rain, stifling pasture growth, the lack of sunshine hours has meant that whatever grass that has managed to grow is ‘gutless’ and lacking in nutrition for animals.

Anyone travelling around the North Island in recent months would know: there is simply not enough grass available to animals compared to the norm for this time of the year. Travelling between Horowhenua to Napier over the weekend, I saw just two farms that had or were in the process of making grass silage and the cuts from those two were sparse to say the least.

Farm consultants are worried because dairy farmers are having to use their reserves of supplement to keep cows in condition for mating and the word is that many cows will not be mated on the first cycle due to their condition. . .

World dairy prices tumble further as farmers face the prospect of being charged for livestock emissions – Point of Order :

As debate rages in New Zealand’s farming industries over the Ardern  government’s  plan  for  charges  on  agricultural emissions, prices at Fonterra’s  Global  Dairy  Trade fortnightly auction  have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The average price at the sale fell 3.9%  to US$3537 (NZD$6054) a tonne, after falling 4.6% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March, and are now at their lowest level since January last year.

Whole milk powder fell 3.4%  to US$3279 a  tonne and  skim milk  powder 8.5% to US$2972  a  tonne, while  butter  was  marginally  up at US$4868  a  tonne  (though  a  long way  down  from  its peak  in  March  above  US$7000 a  tonne)  and cheddar 0.9% to US$4802 a tonne. . . 

NZ Battery Project has air of déjà vu – Jill Herron:

The prospect of Roxburgh having a second go-around as the host town of a major hydro project is starting to feel more real for residents as the government’s Lake Onslow scheme inches ahead

Massive disruption will be on the cards for residents of Central Otago’s Teviot Valley and a “treasure” lost if the government proceeds with the Lake Onslow pumped-hydro scheme, a community leader says.

Compensation should reflect that, says 78-year-old Pat Garden, and it should be structured to create benefits from the scheme that outlive the “boom and bust” of the build.

“The community needs to be recognised as a stakeholder and expects a shared benefit to compensate for the negative impacts,” he says. . . 

Full disclosure: I work to reduce the footprint of animal agriculture – Frank Mitloehner:

My response to The New York Times and Greenpeace articles on CLEAR Center Funding

There’s a shocking revelation out there, and I am at the heart of it. Are you prepared for this?

Animal scientists work with animal agriculture. That’s it. That’s the exposé, the conspiracy that so many activists and journalist want to share with you.

Oh, if you want more, try this on for size: Agriculturists work together to be more sustainable.

If you work in agriculture, these statements probably aren’t surprising. In fact, it would likely be concerning if that were not the case. Sustainability issues are too big to be tackled in in silos – metaphorically speaking, of course. One way the sector has come together to further sustainability is through the CLEAR Center. . .

A more sustainable approach to farming looks better together :

With a future focused on sustainable farming and growing, increasing demand for food products and an increasing regulatory environment, two companies have come together to aid the agricultural and horticultural industries.

Tokoroa based Blue Pacific Minerals Limited (BPM), has joined with AgriFert (NZ) Limited (AgriFert), in what Executive Chairman, Jamie Mikkelson, says “is part of our ongoing strategy to be ready for the future with innovative and science-led solutions. This partnering will benefit the future of farming and growing here in New Zealand. Like our agricultural community, we too are adapting to new trends and finding innovative ways, all while standing true in what we believe in, being clever by nature.”

“The future is exciting for farmers and growers with advances in science and technology. New Zealand farmers and growers are global leaders in efficiency and innovation. We have a part to play driving the sustainable farming and growing solutions” says Mikkelson. . . 

A guide to spending other people’s money


Over at The Common Room, Jordan Williams gives a long and lamentable list of the government’s disregard for value when spending of other people’s money :

Right now, the Government’s spending makes up 42% of the whole New Zealand economy. But are the funders of all that spending getting a good return?

Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss made the mistake of attempting to cut taxes without cutting spending.

With so much wasteful spending here, it shouldn’t be hard for a National-led government to cut enough waste to enable some tax cuts, at least a change in thresholds so increased earnings aren’t immediately negated by a move into a higher tax bracket.


Labour redefining gerrymandering


Labour is attempting to undermine democracy again:

National says it is “disappointed” the Government has ignored its concerns around a bill to allow Māori to change electoral rolls right up to election day, especially given it needs their support to pass.

Currently, Māori can only switch between the Māori and general electoral rolls once every five to six years during a four-month slot after the census, despite elections occurring every three years.

The last Māori Electoral Option was in 2018 and the next is due in 2024.

Proponents have labelled the process “racist” and contributing to low voter turnout, as if Māori are on the wrong roll it can take years to correct.

That’s a bit rich when the seats are based on race.

The Māori Electoral Options bill as introduced would allow Māori to change rolls at any time, up to and including on polling day.

After going through submissions and the select committee process, MPs have recommended an exception be included around the timing of byelections to prevent “tactical” roll switching.

That’s a very important exception.

Without it people could swap from the Maori roll or general, change the outcome of a by-election, then swap back for the next general election.

However, the Justice Committee – with a majority Labour MPs – did not go further in recommending an exception be included close to a general election, as proposed by National and Act.

The Bill will make the Māori Electoral Option a “continuous option”, and is aimed to come into force in March 2023 in time for the 2023 General Election.

However, as it requires changes to the calculation of the Māori electoral population it also requires changes to the Electoral Act, which requires a 75 per cent majority or a referendum, meaning it would need the support of National to pass.

National’s justice spokesman Paul Goldsmith said it was “disappointing” the Government had not addressed its concerns, especially given it would need their support to pass the bill.

Goldsmith said their main concern was about “tactical” vote switching.

Their submission suggested where the outcome of a person’s Māori electorate might be a foregone conclusion, the General electorate in which they live might be highly marginal, or vice versa.

It’s about maintaining confidence in the system and that everybody has an equal approach. We don’t want one group to be able to pick and choose which vote will have the most impact,” Goldsmith said.

The party was “disappointed” the Government made “no effort” to address their concerns, given the “desirability of bipartisan support for electoral law changes”.

As is, the National Party said it supported the “status quo”, allowing a rolls switch within a four-month period following each census.

Electorate boundaries are set by dividing the South Island population by 16 give or take five percent.

That’s done so that all electorates have more or less the same population. Migration in and out of electorates does alter the population between censuses but that’s very different from changes that could happen if people could swap between the general and Maori rolls at anytime.

Allowing people to swap between the rolls like that could substantially change the population in an electorate and the outcome of an election.

Gerrymandering is manipulating electorate boundaries to advantage one party.

This law change is a redefinition of gerrymandering.

It doesn’t redraw boundaries but it does redraw the rules in a way that could advantage it and its supporters.

National has the opportunity to defeat the move by voting against it, stopping the 75% majority required for legislation to pass, and should do so.

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