Bureaucratic madness & inconsistency

21/10/2021

Why would these people have to spend an extra 14 days at sea?

The 100% Kiwi crew of the NZ based ship MMA Vision managed by Taranaki based company Kingston offshore has been denied an exemption to avoid MIQ today after having already been isolated at sea for 18 days.

The MMA Vision has been undertaking survey work of the sea floor for the new Southern cross cable. When completed the submarine cable will double New Zealand’s internet capacity.

The 18 crew members all undertook PCR tests and received negative results before boarding in Auckland over two weeks ago, they then travelled to 150km east of Lord Howe island, just past the Kermadec rise in the middle of the Tasman sea, to undertake their surveying work.

On their return trip to New Plymouth the vessel has been advised that although they have not been to another country or even sighted another island since leaving, because they left our EEZ (Economic exclusion zone) they are now required to complete a 14 day isolation period onboard the vessel in New Zealand waters before they are allowed to come ashore.

The only way this would be even more stupid would be if the seafarers were taking up scarce MIQ rooms.

Once this period of isolation has been completed it will be 32 days since the crew of the MMA Vision last stood on solid ground.

Kingston Offshore applied for an exemption and the New Plymouth DHB have conducted a risk assessment and agreed that the risk is low, and exemption should be granted, however The Ministry of Health have decided to decline the application for exemption citing safety concerns.

Safety for whom? It’s certainly not safe for the mental health of the seafarers.

However the Government did not cite any safety concerns when 23 crew from the Interisland ferry Aratere was granted a full exemption from MIQ after being in drydock in Sydney this month. Allowing the entire crew to walk off the vessel straight into Wellington after a 12 day trip.

Questions need to be asked here about rules.

For the 18 crew onboard the MMA Vision it seems there is one rule for private companies, and another for Government owned companies

The decision from the MOH gets even more absurd if you consider If the MMA Vision had not crossed an imaginary line (the EEZ) they would not have had to complete any isolation, and been free to return home to their families.

Once again New Zealand Seafarers are not being given a fair go by the New Zealand government.

How can people who have been at sea for 18 days with no contact with any other people pose a risk when those at sea for 12 days don’t?

How can these seafarers pose a greater risk than people with Covid-19 who are now permitted to self-isolate at home?

It’s rules for the sake of having rules which combine bureaucratic madness with inconsistency.


‘Anger, concern and bafflement’

21/10/2021

How on earth can this be justified?

A start-up headed by an American wedding celebrant with close to zero knowledge of New Zealand literature has been given a massive $500,000 grant from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to “help Aotearoa audiences access books”.

The grant was announced on Friday, and has stunned leading figures in the New Zealand books trade. In interviews with ReadingRoom, all expressed various states of anger, concern and bafflement – and view it as a waste of a significant amount of public money.

Anger, concern and battlement are understandable reactions and the view that this is a significant waste of public money is valid.

Recommendations site Narrative Muse presents itself as a matchmaker, a kind of Tinder app that seeks to put together people with the books they’d like to read. It’s been floating around since 2016 and is headed by US-born Brough Johnson, who has worked in New Zealand as a film editor (Power Rangers, Westside) and wedding and civil union celebrant (“As a storyteller, I love working with couples to sculpt their special tale and find the perfect rituals that suit them”). Almost no one in New Zealand writing has ever heard of Narrative Muse – a position of ignorance matched by Johnson’s knowledge of New Zealand writing. Asked yesterday to name one local book or author, she said, “Um – if I’m honest I’ve never been any good at naming any authors on the spot. So obviously there’s the obvious one, which is Auē, which is by Becky, and I’m forgetting Becky’s surname right now.”

“I’m aghast,” said author Paula Morris, at the government windfall given to Narrative Muse. Morris sits on numerous boards in New Zealand literature, such as the Māori Literature Trust and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. “I looked at the site, because I’d never heard of it, and it’s essentially what Amazon is doing already, which is if you like this you’ll like this as well. Why is half a million dollars going into that?” . . .

Amazon isn’t the only on-line book seller that does this. When I’ve bought books from Fishpond and Book Depository they also tell me if I like that book, I might like several others.

It’s a service offered by any good bookshop and I get similar advice from friends who are readers.

None of these need any public money.

The $500,000 funding is part of the Government’s $374 million Covid recovery package for the arts sector. Something called the the Cultural Sector Innovation Fund was allocated $60 million over three years “to support innovative projects that improve the sustainability and resilience of the sector”. Successful applicants needed to find “new ways to add value to the economy, particularly through digital exports”. . . 

How does funding a site which ignores New Zealand publishers and pushes readers to international booksellers rather than local ones do that?

How could anyone think this grant was the best way to help Aotearoa audiences access books and that this was acceptable use of scarce public funds?

 


Word of the day

20/10/2021

Tenter – a framework on which fabric can be held taut for drying or other treatment during manufacture; a frame or endless track with hooks or clips along two sides that is used for drying and stretching cloth; a person who stretches cloth on a tenter; to stretch cloth on a tenter; a tenterhook; a person in charge of something, especially factory machinery; one who lives in or occupies a tent.


Rural round-up

20/10/2021

NZ primary sector best performer in global emissions survey :

The New Zealand agriculture, land use and forestry sector has been ranked No 1 of 32 nations for the way it is getting to grips with climate change issues.

“With environmental NGOs and commentators regularly pointing the finger of blame at our farmers it’s pleasing to see an independent and in-depth assessment tell a very different story,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said.

For its just-published Net Zero Readiness Index (NZRI), global consultancy KPMG examined 103 indicators of commitment and performance on decarbonizing in 32 countries, which together are responsible for around three-quarters of global emissions.

It ranked our overall national performance at No 9, with Norway, the UK and Sweden taking out the top three places. . . .

 Rising costs eat into dairy payout – Tim Cronshaw:

Rising costs are taking some of the fun out of a high payout forecast for Mid Canterbury farmers.

Farmers still recovering from June floods are facing on-farm inflation that is pushing out the break-even point.

Fonterra’s unchanged forecast for a milk price range is $7.25 to $8.75, with a mid-point of $8.

Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Nick Giera said most farmers would end up with five years of strong payouts if this held up. . . 

Young Farmers launch new club on West Coast :

Networking, events, working bees, and socialising are back on the calendar for Young Farmers on the West Coast.

The brand-new Westland Young Farmers’ Club has been launched for anyone from rural communities in the district aged 15 to 31-years-old to join.

Tasman Regional Chair Cheyenne Wilson said the decision was made to form a new Club to service the West Coast, based in Greymouth, after a number of people expressed interest about getting involved.

“This is really exciting for all young people on the West Coast because you don’t have to work on a farm to join as a member, you could work in any part of a rural community or just want to sign up to make new friends,” she said. . . 

Independently assessed candidates for Fonterra’s Board of Directors election announced:

Incumbent Directors Peter McBride, John Nicholls and Leonie Guiney have been announced as the Independently Assessed Candidates for the 2021 Fonterra Directors’ election. This year there are three Board positions up for election.

The three incumbent Directors are seeking re-election and chose to participate in the Independent Assessment Process. The Panel’s assessment of Peter, John and Leonie will be included in the voting pack and as re-standing Directors they automatically go through to the ballot. No other candidates put themselves forward for the Independent Assessment Process. . . 

T&G Global lowers full year profit expectations :

Persistent labour shortages and rising shipping costs has forced produce grower and exporter T&G Global to lower its full-year profit expectations.

The company is now forecasting earnings of between $4 million and $10m, compared with $16.6m a year ago.

It said the disappointing outlook reflected updated forecasts in the results of a number of T&G business units.

They include apples, due to shipping challenges and associated impacts on pricing and costs, particularly in the northern hemisphere. . .

Organic Dairy Hub announces New Zealand’s first free organic dairy farming ambassador:

Organic Dairy Hub (ODH), the only farmer-owned organic co-operative in Aotearoa, has announced Te Aroha farmer Gavin Fisher will be joining the team as its official Farmer Ambassador.

Fisher has been a key figure in creating a shift towards organic farming in the dairy industry, paving the way for other organic dairy farmers after becoming one of the first farmers to supply Fonterra with organic milk, explains Clay Fulcher, ODH Chief Executive.

“With over 20 years of organic farming experience, Gavin is an absolute expert in organic and regenerative farming, and his role as ambassador gives us the opportunity to educate and advise our other farmers on best practices in these areas – with no cost to them. We expect that our farmers will see a vast difference through the rest of this farming season,” says Fulcher. . . 


Thatcher thinks

20/10/2021


What rights do employers have?

20/10/2021

It’s taken far too long but at last we know that people who aren’t vaccinated won’t be as free as those who are:

If you are not vaccinated, there will be everyday things you will miss out on, the prime minister says. . .

“It will become very clear to people that if you are not vaccinated there will be things that you miss out on, everyday things that you will miss out on,” Ardern told Morning Report.

Exactly what those things are has yet to be specified.

“It’s about both rewarding people who have gone out and done the right thing but also keeping away people who are less safe.” . . 

Ardern said the government is drawing some distinctions though, they don’t want an environment where people can’t access necessary goods and services to maintain their lives.

“We can’t say someone can’t get health services, medical needs, pharmacies, food.” . . 

If the government is going to be this tough, will it allow people who can’t, or don’t want to, have the Pfizer vaccine to have an alternative?

And will they give employers much needed advice on what their legal rights and responsibilities over vaccinated and unvaccinated staff are?

Some businesses are already notifying clients that they won’t allow their staff to work in premises where there are unvaccinated people.

There is no legal problem with that.

But what if employers have staff who won’t be vaccinated?

The government has declared that all education and health staff must be vaccinated. The court ruled that Customs had the right to sack a border worker who wouldn’t get vaccinated.

Which, if any, other employers have the legal right to require their staff to be vaccinated?

If the government knows it’s not telling. Unless and until it does make a ruling employers are lost in a legal minefield.


Word of the day

19/10/2021

Doggery-baw – pish, twaddle;  stuff and nonsense.


Sowell says

19/10/2021


Thatcher thinks

19/10/2021


Inflation steals from us all

19/10/2021

The last election took us back more than 25 years to a First Past the Post result and the government that gave us is giving us an increase in inflation from the same era:

The consumers price index rose 2.2 percent in the September 2021 quarter, the biggest quarterly movement since a 2.3 percent rise in the December 2010 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

Excluding quarters impacted by increases to GST rates, the September quarter movement was the highest since the June 1987 quarter, which saw a 3.3 percent rise.

Annual inflation was 4.9 percent in the September 2021 quarter when compared with the September 2020 quarter. This was the biggest annual movement since inflation reached 5.3 percent between the June 2010 and June 2011 quarters.

Excluding periods impacted by changes to GST rates, the September 2021 annual inflation was the highest since it reached 5.1 percent in the September 2008 year. . .

The Prime Minister who promised to address child poverty is leading a government that is fueling a sharp increase in the cost of living:

The Government needs to urgently recognise soaring inflation as the biggest medium-term threat to the New Zealand economy and halt its wasteful spending, says National’s Finance spokesperson Michael Woodhouse.

“Today, StatsNZ has confirmed what Kiwis all across New Zealand already know – the cost of living is rising fast under the Labour Government.

“In the past 12 months, the cost of living has increased by almost 5 per cent, meaning prices are now rising faster than they have at any time in the past 10 years.

“Grant Robertson has increased the size of government spending by more than 40 per cent in just four years. It is no surprise New Zealanders are now seeing costs increase all throughout the economy.

“Labour’s big spending is hurting the very people Labour claims to represent. The cost of renting a house has now increased 7.8% since just September last year, the biggest increase since records began.

“Prices of fresh fruit and vegetables have increased 9.3 per cent in the past 12 months.

“The increase in prices in just the last three months is the highest three-monthly increase since the 1980s, excluding the one-off increase in GST in 2010.

“The next big cost increase is unfortunately likely to now be mortgage costs as the Reserve Bank is forced to painfully increase interest rates as Kiwis and businesses try to recover from the current Covid outbreak.

“Grant Robertson needs to hit pause on any and all of his so-called Covid stimulus spending that is not fully committed. It makes no sense for the Government to be spraying cash at pet projects like the Green School when the biggest problems now facing the economy are inflation, labour shortages and Covid closures.

“The Covid Fund needs to be used to support businesses impacted by lockdowns and to ramp up the health response to Covid, not as Grant Robertson’s personal slush fund.”

The only winner from soaring inflation is the government that will collect more tax as pay increases push people into higher tax thresholds:

Responding to the revelation of 4.9% inflation for the last year, Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says:

“Skyrocketing prices are an indictment on the Government’s print, borrow, and spend economic strategy. In general, Government spending is more inflationary than leaving money in taxpayers’ pockets, and Grant Robertson needs to shoulder some of the blame for today’s numbers.”

“The need to adjust income tax brackets has now become desperate. Inflation pushes our wages up into higher tax brackets even when we’re no better off in real terms. Grant Robertson might be pleased to get his hands on all this inflation-driven tax revenue, but during a pandemic this tax grab is unconscionable.”

 

 

It steals from us all, devaluing the real value of wages and savings by making everything more expensive.

It creates a vicious circle. When people know things will cost more in the future they are much more likely to buy more today. That feeds inflation which encourages people to buy more . . .

It will almost certainly force an increase in interest rates which will make mortgages unmanageable for the highly indebted and add to the costs of doing business which will in turn push up prices and that will feed into higher inflation and all of this will hit the poorest hardest.


Word of the day

18/10/2021

Eschatology – the part of theology concerned with death, judgement, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind; a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind; belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment; the doctrine of the last thing.


Sowell says

18/10/2021


Rural round-up

18/10/2021

Sector mulls staff vaccination options – Neal Wallace:

The meat industry wants mandatory vaccination of processing staff against covid-19, but says it requires Government help to make that happen.

Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says the industry is high-risk and the Government should extend the same protection to it as the recently announced mandatory vaccination for health and education sector employees.

“At present, our industry is unable to make vaccination a mandatory requirement for employees,” Karapeeva said.

“Although processors could look at making vaccination a health and safety requirement at plants, this is a difficult and complex process and would require companies to undertake an assessment of the different risks of vaccinated people versus unvaccinated people.”  . . 

This sister-run business aims to show people a more sustainable way to eat meat – Carly Thomas:

For the Macdonald sisters, the wild hills of their childhood provided the perfect launching pad for their business, Middlehurst Delivered. These days, working out of a converted garage in Rangiora, Sophie and Lucy are busy showing just how successful a family business can be with a bit of creative thinking.

When Lucy and Sophie Macdonald were kids, Tuesdays were town days. Growing up on Middlehurst Station meant their childhood playground spanned the mighty Kaikōura Ranges – snow-capped in winter, wide and sparse in summer, always changing beneath the big skies and rolling clouds.

Getting to head into town, with all its hustle and bustle, was a real treat. “I remember begging Mum and Dad to move us to town,” says Sophie, 28, laughing.

“It’s only when you get older that you realise what you had. This place is incredible, and I appreciate it now.” . .

Piritaha. Side By Side – Jacqui GIbson:

Twenty-two years ago, Emily Crofoot, 66, and her husband, Anders, moved their family from a 300 acre farm near New York to 7,400 acre Castlepoint Station in coastal Wairarapa. Her goal? To live in a country where farming really mattered. Today, her daughter, Sarah, 30,  has picked up the farming baton, while carving out a vision of her own.

Emily: Was I new to New Zealand when my husband, Anders, and our two children, David and Sarah, moved to Castlepoint in 1998? Not at all. My grandparents and parents had travelled here in the sixties, and my first visit was with my family in 1973, when I was eighteen. I just fell in love with New Zealand. I could see that farmers here were truly valued and were hugely innovative. 

That Kiwi spirit of innovation really appealed to me. In New York State, where I grew up, farming was more traditional and urban sprawl was encroaching on the area. Our farm had been in the family since 1809, but things were tough going because of predators and the extremes in weather.  

As I became more and more interested in farming, New Zealand was the place I looked to for inspiration. In my twenties, I returned here to help out on different sheep and beef farms. I came again a few years later to complete a shearing course in Tolaga Bay. I even applied to study agriculture at Lincoln College – now Lincoln University – but this was in the days before they accepted international students, so I didn’t get in.  . .

Small feet stay warm thanks to Amuri Basin entrepreneur – Country Life:

Tracey Topp started making merino socks for children 16 years ago. Now her Cosy Toes brand has expanded to adult socks and woollen clothing that has buyers all around the world.

Sixteen years ago North Canterbury entrepreneur Tracey Topp had a lightbulb moment. She’d been out shopping for her two young boys.

“I couldn’t find any woollen baby socks, there were no wool socks in any of the shops. All I could find were little acrylic or cotton socks imported from China!” she says.

Tracey found a small knitting mill with a sock making machine suitable for merino yarn. . .

Medicinal herb project gets underway in Taranaki – Catherine Groenestein:

Growers and gardeners around Taranaki are taking part in a project that could spawn a new industry – medicinal herb production.

Shonagh Hopkirk, who is president of the Stratford Herb Society and North Island vice president of the New Zealand Herb Federation, is collecting information on medicinal herbs that could be grown commercially.

“The majority of organic herbs used in quantity in New Zealand are imported, and there is a need for high quality, organic New Zealand-grown herbs,” she said.

“I think it would be fantastic if we could develop our own medicinal herb industry in Taranaki.” . .

 

Farmer is an artist first and foremost – Stephen Burns:

“I’m an artist first before I became a farmer,” Michelle Chibnall replied when asked about her career procession; although she did admit, with the ewes lambing at the time of interview in September, to being a farmer before having time to apply her talent to the paper.

She was sitting in her studio in a back room of the house sited on the small farm west of Narrandera and running alongside the Yanco Creek, where various unframed paintings and sketches adorn the walls and easel.

Naturally, the rooms and hallways of her home are also adorned with finished portraits of family and beloved animals.

Michelle shares the farm with her husband Peter, a truck driver, and a flock of Australian White ewes share equal billing with the Quarter Horses among the river red gums. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

18/10/2021


Which is more important?

18/10/2021

Health Minister Andrew LIttle’s big fees are costing ICU beds:

The $1.4 million spent by Minister of Health Andrew Little on consultants working on his ill-conceived restructure of the health system over just two months could have paid for two new, fully-resourced ICU beds, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“In July and August alone, Andrew Little paid Ernst & Young consultants enough money to add a new ICU bed for each month.

“The running tally of consultancy fees alone for the Minister’s vanity project so far now stands more than $7.2 million – a staggering figure when we consider the dire shortage of funding for ICU beds and other facilities vital to the Covid response.

There’s also a dire shortage of funding for other healths services in hospitals and the community, from ante-natal right through to end of life care.

“District health boards with low ICU capacity, such as Lakes, Tairāwhiti and Northland, would have a much greater safety net for the Covid response if they had just a few extra ICU beds.

“But, even now, it’s all a bit too late for a Minister who built no new ICU beds in Auckland in 15 months, failed to fast-track new nursing staff and brought in a pay freeze that actually drove ICU nurses to Australia.

“Andrew Little may argue the toss on the numbers but he can’t deny that he declined a request from Auckland DHB to use $6 million in leftover funding to build negative pressure rooms and then ended up building them in the middle of a pandemic.

“At the end of the day, Andrew Little’s consultants can’t put up a drip or run a ventilator, and that is what New Zealanders need right now.”

Prioritising funding for consultants rather than urgently needed ICU beds is even worse whenintensive care unit occupancy rates in district health board areas with large Māori populations were at capacity even before Covid and the current Delta outbreak.

Which is more important – consultants working on restructuring or health services which were over-stretched and under-resourced before Covid-19 hit?

If there is ever a good time to radically restructure a health system it’s not in the middle of a pandemic when the focus and the funds are so desperately needed on the front line of health services and the people who provide them.


Word of the day

17/10/2021

Unch  – a unit of measurement, roughly 0.5 of an inch, approximately the length of 3 barleycorns.


Milne muses

17/10/2021


Rural round-up

17/10/2021

‘Reality hasn’t hit’: Concern at low vaccine rate in rural Southland – Matthew Rosenberg:

As vaccine data rolls in for the backblocks of rural Southland, Jo Sanford says she feels concerned.

The Tūātapere Medical Centre practice manager is entrusted with trying to get as much of her community vaccinated as possible, but numbers remain low for much of rural Southland.

A lot of people have already made up their mind, she says, and despite her practice going the extra mile by calling patients, many won’t be moved.

Her concerns are pieces of a familiar mosaic: there is a growing divide between vaccination rates in urban and rural areas. And in Southland, a district that sprawls out into some of the most remote sections of the country, the theme holds true. . . 

Follow the leader – Rural News:

For a small milk processor, Tatua has been punching above its weight for many years.

Every year, towards the end of September the co-operative comes out with its annual results.

And every year it receives applause for showing the rest of New Zealand processors, including the world’s sixth largest milk dairy company Fonterra, a clean pair of heels when it comes to the final milk price for the previous season.

This year has been no exception. On September 30th, the Tatua board met to finalise its accounts for 2020-21 season. And, as is the tradition, Tatua chair Steve Allen and his board members then rang each shareholder to relay the good news. . . 

Avocado prices tumble, everyone’s going to run at a loss this year – Maja Burry:

Avocado growers are having a tough run this season, with large volumes of fruit coupled with weaker than usual demand pushing down returns.

The industry group New Zealand Avocado said less product was being exported to Australia because of an oversupply there of locally grown avocados, while in New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown restrictions had dented sales to restaurants and cafes.

Bay of Plenty grower Hugh Moore described the situation as a “perfect storm”. Another challenge for exporters was Covid-19 related freight delays and higher shipping costs, which made reaching markets in Asia harder than usual, he said. . .

Commission releases draft report on Fonterra’s 2021-22 milk price manual:

Today, the Commerce Commission invited submissions on the draft report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Base Milk Price Manual for the 2021/22 dairy season. The Manual describes the methodology used by Fonterra to calculate its base milk price – the amount farmers receive from Fonterra for each kilogram of milk solids in a dairy season.

Our preliminary conclusion is that the Manual is consistent with both the efficiency and contestability dimensions of the purpose of the base milk price monitoring regime, with the exception of the rule for the asset beta. We now consider that a number of issues from previous years have been resolved and there is more transparency overall as a result of changes by Fonterra. . .

 

Sam Neill puts acclaimed Gibbston vineyard up for sale:

Renowned Kiwi actor Sam Neill is selling his Gibbston vineyard as he looks to grow his acclaimed Two Paddocks winery, presenting an outstanding lifestyle and income opportunity for a new owner.

Nestled in the heart of the celebrated Gibbston winegrowing district, The First Paddock is a certified organic vineyard in a stunning rural Otago setting, only 25 minutes from Queenstown.

The 8.33ha property boasts 4.6ha of pinot noir vines, plus 3.2ha of additional land that could be planted or developed to provide an idyllic Gibbston lifestyle. . .

Melrose Station offers fantastic finishing country :

The rare opportunity to purchase quality finishing country in Hawke’s Bay has presented itself, with Melrose Station’s subdivision opening up 390ha of quality land that lends itself well to intensive livestock farming.

Bayleys Hawke’s Bay salesperson Tony Rasmussen says with the back portion of Melrose already sold and committed to forestry, the station’s easier front country represents the best of what the district can offer. Its free draining productive soils have been accentuated by the property’s careful fertiliser plan across well farmed, easy country lending itself well to cultivation.

In the four years the present owners have had the property they have capitalised on some good seasons’ income, investing significantly back into the property. . . 

 


Maya muses

17/10/2021


Sunday soapbox

17/10/2021

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse but not to abuse.

Liberty means responsibility, that’s why most men dread it. – George Bernard Shaw


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