Word of the day


Neurasthenia  – a condition characterised by a persistent and distressing complaint of increased fatigue after mental effort, or persistent and distressing complaints of bodily weakness and exhaustion after minimal effort; an ill-defined medical condition characterised by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Farming leader pleads with PM for more time – Peter Burke :

A dairy industry leader is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take the pressure off farmers and give them more time to properly understand and digest the huge raft of changes that the Government is trying to push through before next year’s election.

Ben Allomes told Dairy News that the Government has a number of things they want to achieve before the next election and he says most of these seem to be aimed at the primary sector.

These include greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, animal welfare and labour.

Allomes says this is on top of farmers trying to deal with the uncertainties around Covid, such as disrupted supply chains and increasing costs, all of which are creating an uncertain business environment. . .

The seven significant setbacks to He Waka Eke Noa recommendations – Jim van der Poel:

 DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel outlines why his organisation is not prepared to accept the He Waka Eke Noa proposal in its current form and why it’s a poor option for the sector and New Zealand as a whole.

When the primary sector took on the challenge of an emissions pricing alternative, there was a clear goal – to secure the best possible system for farmers and the climate.

In 2019 the Government legislated to put agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). We believed that was a poor option for the primary sector and for New Zealand.

We approached the Government to have the option to come up with a better proposal that was fairer, more practicable for farmers and would deliver better outcomes. . . 

Kiwifruit growers fear ‘zero income’ next year after severe frost :

Some Waikato kiwifruit growers will have no income next year and others will have crops that will not cover the cost of production, following a heavy frost in October.

Waikato is a smaller growing region with about 500 hectares of fruit; an additional 100 hectares was planted this winter.

A grower with 22 hectares, Richard Glen, said it had taken until now to get his head around the full impact of the October frost event.

Glen said it was the worst frost he had seen in his 40 years of growing. . . 

Hi-tech traps on trial in fruit fly surveillance programme :

Biosecurity New Zealand’s National Fruit Fly Surveillance programme is trialling 60 state-of-the-art traps, with the aim to bolster the detection of exotic fruit fly.

“We have a world-class biosecurity system, but the growth in global trade and travel increases the opportunity for fruit flies to enter the country,” says Biosecurity New Zealand Director Diagnostic & Surveillance Services Veronica Herrera.

“Exotic fruit fly incursions could significantly impact New Zealand’s horticulture industry, so early detection is critical.”

The fruit fly surveillance programme runs from September to July each year to coincide with the heightened risk of fruit flies entering New Zealand. More than 7,800 traps are currently stationed across the country. . . 

Zespri rolls out SAP technology to support its people, processes and growers :

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that Zespri, the world’s biggest marketer of kiwifruit, has gone live with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition. The move will support Zespri’s ability to deliver the highest quality fruit to market and sustain strong returns to growers.

The go-live of this new technology, which took place on 1 November 2022, is the first phase in Zespri’s ambitious, multi-year Horizon transformation programme. The aim of the programme is to standardise and automate Zespri’s processes, increase its operational efficiency, and provide a platform for growth and innovation.

As a result of the implementation, Zespri hopes to deliver kiwifruit to customers more effectively. Ultimately a more robust, transparent and reliable process will support its entire product delivery system, from the receipt of a sales order, to payments for product, through to distribution. Zespri’s quality management solutions will include proof that the product has been grown and handled in accordance with regulatory, customer specifications and consumer expectations.

With a focus on creating global consistency, almost 1,000 full-time employees and contractors across offices in 17 countries will benefit from the implementation, with Zespri also undertaking its biggest-ever training programme. . . 

The fake meat scam -Dr Joseph Mercola:

  • Ultra-processed foods typically have five or more ingredients, many of which are not commonly used in home kitchens. This aptly describes the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, including fake blood processed from genetically engineered yeast to mimic the taste and texture of real beef.
  • Although the soy-like hemoglobin used in the Impossible Burger is classified as generally recognized as safe, no tests have been done by independent labs on the product’s safety. However, tests on lab rats altered the animals’ blood chemistry; the company did not follow up on the results.
  • The parent companies for Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger commissioned studies to assess the environmental impact of production against typical concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) beef production. Not surprisingly, they found their product had a lower impact. But it’s not nearly as low as the beef production at White Oaks Pastures, which uses regenerative farming practices to produce natural beef products.
  • If a plant-based, genetically engineered (GE) meat alternative is not enough of a science fiction adventure, consider the “meat” scientists are growing from stem cell cultures in the lab. Some see these alternatives as the lesser of two evils, but when holistic herd management improves the environment, your best choice is to seek food from natural sources.

Look over there


Inflation is stealing the real value of earnings and savings; there’s a health crisis, the education system is failing children . . .

These and several other problems are the government’s responsibility but what is the Prime Minister talking about? Paying the Black Ferns the same as the All Blacks.

That is a matter for the Rugby Union Board, sponsors and the players and its a commercial decision not a political one.

So why is she talking about it?

It’s look-over-there politics designed to take attention away from the many very real problems which she and her government are failing to address.

Just like her criticism of fuel companies, supermarkets and more recently banks, what the Black Ferns get paid is not something over which she has any influence or control.

And there’s added hypocrisy when nurses in care homes and general practice are getting nowhere with their plea to have pay parity with hospital nurses and the PPTA has just rejected the government’s pay offer.

Her talking about the Black Ferns’ pay might temporarily deflect attention from matters which are her business.

However, it will do nothing for the players and, when the justified excitement many are feeling about the World Cup win fades, we’ll still be facing inflation, a health crisis, education failures and all the other problems which are making life so difficult for so many.


All principals equal?


A principal, who stood for Labour in an election, isn’t happy at the idea not all principals are equally good:

A school principal has slammed National Party leader Christopher Luxon for blaming “mixed standards of leadership” across schools for low attendance levels. 

It comes after Newshub revealed last week that just 40 percent of Kiwi kids are attending school regularly, according to fresh figures out from the Ministry of Education.

Figures obtained by Newshub show the breakdown of students who’ve been unenrolled for more than a year by region. Of the nearly 1000 Kiwi kids not attending school for 13 months or more, 527 are in Auckland, 122 are in Waikato and 71 are in the Bay of Plenty. They make up 74 percent of the total.

Luxon told AM on Wednesday the level of kids not attending school is “really incredibly sobering” and there is a “mixed standard of leadership” across New Zealand’s schools.

“So the first thing is we’ve got to make sure the Government is actually putting resources into truancy officers, getting kids to school. We need to make sure we’ve actually got leadership in schools that are actually very much focussed on getting kids into school,” Luxon told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

Putting resources into truancy officers and getting kids to school shouldn’t be controversial, nor should the view that not all schools have good leadership. Principals, like any other group have a range of abilities and competence.

Bridge questioned Luxon, saying there are no school leaders in New Zealand who aren’t focused on getting kids into school, but the National Party leader disagreed. 

“There is a mixed standard of leadership across our schools and across our principles which actually means they are not focussing as strongly only on getting kids to school as they can,” Luxon said. 

Hora Hora School principal and Tai Tokerau Principal Association president Pat Newman hit back at Luxon’s remarks, saying his comments point more to a “mixed bag of leadership within politicians”.

There is a mixed bag of leadership within politicians, just as there is in any organisation, including schools.

Luxon said New Zealand doesn’t need to accept “abysmal results” when there are pockets of excellence like Manurewa Intermediate School.

When pressed by Bridge about what school leaders are accepting “abysmal results”, Luxon said there is a mixed standard across the country.

“What I’m talking about is we have standards of excellence where you can get a decile one school delivering high levels of attendance and yet across the whole country, we can’t [deliver high rates of attendance], and it requires a systemic response to say we’re not going to make any more excuses,” Luxon said.

“You can’t run a country and have a future when you have 40 percent of your kids attending school, that’s just not going to cut it. It’s a moral failure.  It’s a social failure. It’s an economic crisis. So we have to all, Government schools and parents, be really accountable for getting our kids to school. That’s what matters most in our education system.”  . . 

Failing children at school is failing their futures and the future of the country.

The reasons for the failures are many, some are complex and start long before children get to school, but school leadership is one of them.

Children know the difference between good, mediocre and poor principals as do parents, and teachers.

North Otago has recent examples where one principal left the school doing very well, the next dragged it down and his replacement has had to work very hard to bring it up again.

If a principal, and union head, doesn’t recognise that not all principals are equally good, he’s part of the problem.

And given the issue is political, shouldn’t the fact that he was a Labour Party candidate be mentioned?

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