Word of the day


Gilpy – a lively frolicsome boy or girl; a boisterous or roguish child.

Sowell says


Sir Murray Halberg 7.7.33 – 30.11.22


Phil GIfford pays tribute to Sir Murray Halberg:

Sir Murray Halberg is in the callroom at the Olympic Stadium in Rome with the other finalists in the 1960 Games 5000 metres.

“I looked around,” he’d say many years later, “and I realised I was with 11 frightened men. I knew then I could win.”

Halberg’s generosity led to him setting up the Halberg Foundation, which for almost 60 years has benefitted physically disabled Kiwis by allowing them to get involved in sport.

The kindness and empathy expressed through the foundation provided a lovely counterpoint to one of the most fiercely competitive sportspeople New Zealand has ever produced.

His sporting career could have been over when he was just 17. Playing rugby for Avondale College he was smashed in a tackle. His left shoulder was dislocated, blood clots formed, and the nerves in the arm would never recover. . . 

By 1956 Halberg was at the Melbourne Olympics, making the final of the 1500 metres. In 1958 in Cardiff he won gold in the three miles.

But the pinnacle of his career would be at the Rome Olympics. He and Lydiard had an audacious plan. Halberg would sprint with three laps left in the 5000 metres final.

“I knew what the other runners would be thinking, ‘He’s mad.’ But it was my destiny to win, not to quit,” said Halberg of his all or nothing dash. “The hours and hours I’d put my body through flashed through my mind, and the strength returned to my body.”

Film of the race shows how much effort he’d put in. Once he ran through the finishing tape he swerved to the inside of the track and, in his words, “hit the deck in a heap”. . . 




When we last spoke, in 2011, I asked, at her request, if he’d write a foreword for Valerie Adams’ book. As an official at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester he’d been very kind to a teenaged Valerie, and she’d never forgotten his thoughtfulness.

He wrote: “As a competitor she presents a real game face to the world, but out of competition she is a big hearted, warm and kind natured person.” The same description perfectly fitted Sir Murray Halberg.

The high esteem in which some sports people are held is due only to their sporting achievements.

Sir Murray did much more through the Halberg Foundation which

. . . aims aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders through sport and recreation. 

Our vision is for an inclusive New Zealand.

Our purpose is bringing about moments of joy.

Rural round-up


Who scuttled HWEN? – Rural News :

Around the traps, rumours are flying as to who scuttled the so-called joint agri sector response to dealing with agricultural emissions.

Two government departments, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Ministry for Environment (MfE), were both part of the partnership which came up with an agreed solution and put this to the politicians and officials. The farming industry groups trusted the departments and, when they put in their proposal, they had every reason to believe that the deal had effectively been done.

Not so. It seems that a whole new lot of officials, or maybe the same ones as well, and then the politicians started to get their grubby little hands on two years of hard work and negotiation and put their spin on the proposal.

Do such people know much about agriculture? For example, do they believe they’ll find a cryptorchid in a glasshouse? Who knows, but the honest brokers of HWEN must be wondering about the credentials of the people or political motives behind the Government response. . . .

Netherlands to close 3000 farms to comply with EU climate rules –  Paul Homewood :

The Dutch government plans to buy and close down up to 3,000 farms near environmentally sensitive areas to comply with EU nature preservation rules.

The Netherlands is attempting to cut down its nitrogen pollution and will push ahead with compulsory purchases if not enough farms take up the offer voluntarily.

Farmers will be offered a deal “well over” the worth of the farm, according to the government plan that is targeting the closure of 2,000 to 3,000 farms or other major polluting businesses.

Earlier leaked versions of the plan put the figure at 120 per cent of the farm’s value but that figure has not yet been confirmed by ministers. . . 

Moving forward with methane levies – Keith Woodford :

Split-gas breaks the link to charging methane emissions based on contentious carbon dioxide equivalence. It opens the door to a levy based on research, development, extension and education (RDE&E) needs rather than simply a tax

In my last article I asked whether, in seeking a way out of the current policy mess relating to agricultural greenhouse gases, we might agree on two overarching principles.  

The first principle is that pastoral agriculture must remain vibrant and prosperous. This is essential, not because farmers have any right to a protected future, but because New Zealand’s export-led economy is highly dependent on pastoral exports.

Pastoral exports comprise approximately 50% of merchandise exports, with primary industries in total comprising approximately 80% of merchandise exports. It is in the interest of all New Zealanders that pastoral agriculture thrives. . . 

Tough spring and production decline more than likely – Gerald Piddock :

The so-called spring flush is appearing more like a trickle across some North Island farms as the wet spring weather continues to affect pasture growth.

It’s reflected in production numbers, with Fonterra’s NI milk collection down 6.3% for September and 5.9% for the season to date.

Anecdotally, some farms are definitely down in production in both single- and double-digit numbers. It’s also starting to flow through in mating with submission rates back on last year because the tough autumn and winter have meant farmers have simply not been able to put on the right amount of condition on their herd.

The GDT has fared no better, lumbering on in October with three consecutive falls before surprising everybody by lifting 2.4% on November 15. NZX in its analyst opinion cautioned that is potentially a technical bounce before prices keep easing. . . 

17,000 flock to National Fieldays on a wet opening day – Sudesh Kissun :

A wet start to the 2022 National Fieldays saw a smaller crowd, compared to previous events pass through the gates on the opening day.

A statement from National Fieldays says nearly 17000 people attended day one of the four-day event.

“We’ve had just under 17,000 visitors through the gate, which is a bit softer than previous years, but not unexpected due to the weather across the North Island,” says Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation.

With the weather set to improve for the remainder of the event, organisers are looking forward to three more days of agricultural trade, entertainment and innovations. . .

Crop production in Brazil outpaces storage capacity – Joana Colussi, Gary Schnitkey, and Nick Paulson:

While Brazil hits successive records in grain production, Brazilian farmers face an old problem: a deficit in grain storage. The Brazilian government projects national grain output will be 313 million tons of soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, and wheat in the 2022/2023 crop season – which would be a new record. That would be 15% higher than last season, when Brazilian farmers harvested an all-time high of 271 million tons of grain (see farmdoc daily, August 29, 2022). If projections for a record Brazilian harvest occur, the storage deficit could reach more than 100 million tons in Brazil. Storage capacity growth since 2010 has not been proportional to increases in crop production in the same period. In this article, we review changes in Brazil’s grain storage capacity over time, including off-farm and on-farm capacity.

Between 1982 and 2000, Brazilian grain storage capacity was higher than grain production, according to data from the National Register System of Storage Units of the National Supply Company (Conab), the country’s food supply and statistics agency. Grain storage capacity is the total quantity of grain that can be stored at one time in physical structures such as warehouses or silos. In 2001 there was a reversal: production exceeded this capacity.

From 2010 to 2022, total grain storage capacity in Brazil increased 35%. At the same time, total grain production increased 82%. In the last crop season, when Brazilian farmers harvested an all-time high of 271 million tons of grain, the total grain storage capacity was 183 million tons, resulting in a storage deficit of almost 90 million tons. If a new record is established in the 2022-2023 season, the storage deficit could reach more than 100 million tons (see Figure 1). . . 


Lies or incompetence?


Was she lying?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended a Labour Party caucus meeting where last-minute entrenchment clause in the Government’s controversial Three Waters legislation was discussed, despite her saying on Monday it was “not necessarily something I would be aware of”.  . . .

Hmm,  not necessarily something I would be aware of does not mean she wasn’t aware of it but the inference was very clear that she didn’t know about it until the storm broke.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed, through a spokesperson, the change to the bill was discussed with the Labour caucus – a meeting of all its MPs – in advance of the House sitting.

“We knew it was novel and may not pass the constitutional threshold, but it was still worthy of consideration,” Mahuta said, in an emailed response to questions. . .

Emailed response? A Minister responsible for a debacle like this ought to be fronting interviews, not corresponding by emails.

But on Thursday, Ardern confirmed she was at the caucus meeting where the change to the bill was discussed.

“I’ve also discussed and pointed out that entrenchment is generally understood to be a threshold of 75%.

“Conversations in caucus are kept in caucus … We took a view on the principle of ensuring that a public asset like water is absolutely protected from privatisation.

“What came before Parliament was a more novel approach.” . . 

She has discussed and pointed that out and what became before Parliament could be described as a more novel approach.

It could also be described as a constitutional outrage.

But this is a word salad that evades the point – did she or did she not know that there was going to be a Supplementary Order Paper to entrench the clause on privatisation?

If she did know she’s been lying by evasion and omission, if not, was she paying attention and understanding what was being discussed and agreed?

Is it lies or simply incompetence?

How is this fair?


The so-call Fair Pay Act took affect yesterday and hospitality workers are expected to be the first to seek a so-called Fair Pay Agreement:

How on earth can it be fair to impose pay and conditions of thousands of different workplaces in different places with different requirements of their staff?

How can it be fair to treat staff in fine dining restaurants the same as those serving fast-food takeaways?

How can it be fair to treat businesses in big cities or tourists hotspots where costs including land and buildings are higher the same as businesses in small towns where costs are lower?

Friends own and run a hospitality business.

That has never been easy, the Covid lockdowns and restrictions made it harder and the past year has been a nightmare.

They can’t get enough local staff and although they are accredited to employ immigrants, getting visas for potential staff is like swimming through syrup in gumboots.

Their costs have gone up – wages, food, gas, power.

If they put up prices they will be fuelling inflation and get customer resistance. If they don’t, their business will no longer be viable.

Their story is not unique.

Staff wanted signs are in almost every café and restaurant in Wanaka.

When we ate at one recently we piled our dishes at the end of the table to help our waiter.

He thanked us and said, “you’ve passed your trial, the kitchen is through there you can start now.”

We asked how hard business was and he told us it was brutal.

The last thing these small businesses need is unfair pay agreements which can’t take into account local differences.

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