How old’s old enough?

August 1, 2019

Coroner Tim Scott said that a six year-old should not have been walking to and from school by herself:

Carla Neems was five weeks’ shy of her seventh birthday when she was fatally struck by a rubbish truck outside her Gisborne home on May 2, 2017.

In findings released on Wednesday, Coroner Tim Scott said it was “unacceptable” for Carla’s parents to allow her to walk to and from school with her older siblings, and children her age should be accompanied by an adult. . . 

Coroners have a job to do which includes making recommendations that might prevent future fatalities but there is no such thing as completely safe and blaming her parents for Carla’s death is heartless and wrong.

If six, nearly seven is too young, how old id old enough for children to walk a few hundred metres without an adult in tow?

This was a tragic accident which Carla’s family, their friends and the truck driver will carry for the rest of their lives but it should not be used to further curtail children’s incidental exercise and freedom.

If children can’t walk safely to school, address what makes it dangerous, don’t blame parents and provide yet more reasons for children to be mollycoddled.


Rural round-up

October 7, 2018

Quite and capable – Richard Rennie:

A farm apprenticeship course now a year old is starting to have an influence on getting more Kiwis in jobs on dairy farms.

Tirau farm apprentice Kadience Ruakere-Forbes is among the first year’s intake under the Federated Farmers’ Apprenticeship Dairy Programme, a pilot programme supported by PrimaryITO, the federation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. . . 

Dairy database rules under review – Hugh Stringleman:

The valuable core database of the New Zealand dairy industry is subject to a regulatory review by the Ministry for Primary Industries, to which organisations and people can make submissions.

Consultation will run for six weeks until November 12 and any submission becomes public information, MPI said.

The key issue is whether the regulated dataset remains well aligned with the dairy industry’s current and future animal evaluation needs. MPI said there has been some concern expressed among dairy genetics companies about the management of herd improvement data. . .

Huge costs of pasture pests – Peter BUrke:

Grass grub and porina are causing $2.3 billion of damage to New Zealand pastures annually, according to an AgResearch study.

Of the total estimated annual losses in average years, up to $1.4b occurs on dairy farms and up to $900m on sheep and beef farms.

But scientist Colin Ferguson says this figure relates only to the damage to pasture and doesn’t include the cost of replacing the pasture, destocking and restocking and the long lasting damage to affected pasture. . . 

$11m study dives into high value milk products – Peter Burke:

A five year, $11 million research project has begun, aimed at producing new high value milk products.

Led by Professor Warren McNabb, of the Riddet Institute, Palmerston North, the project will seek better mechanistic understanding of the various milks produced in New Zealand including cow, goat, sheep and deer.

A particular aim will be to develop new products for babies, very young children and elderly people in New Zealand and, especially, for export. . .

 

First failed WorkSafe prosecution:

Athenberry Holdings Ltd grows Kiwifruit near Katikati. Zespri buy the fruit, brand, market and sell the fruit. Zespri engaged Agfirst to sample and test maturity and quality of fruit.

Agfirst use a local packhouse Hume to collect the samples. AgFirst’s sample collector died during the collection of fruit when her quad bike overturned on rough ground next to Athenberry’s kiwifruit block.

She was employed by AgFirst who had contracted a local packhouse – Hume Pack-N-Cool Ltd (Hume). It appears the rider had taken the quad bike over steep and rough terrain away from the area where she was required to collect samples.

Her training and industry practices are that you stick to the offical and mown access paths. No-one was sure why she deviated. . . 

Gene edited food is coming to your plate, no regulation included – Lydia Mulvany:

For Pete Zimmerman, a Minnesota farmer, the age of gene-edited foods has arrived. While he couldn’t be happier, the soybeans he’s now harvesting are at the crux of a long-running debate about a “Frankenfood” future.

Zimmerman is among farmers in several states now harvesting 16,000 acres of DNA-altered soybeans destined to be used in salad dressings, granola bars and fry oil, and sold to consumers early next year. It’s the first commercialized crop created with a technique some say could revolutionize agriculture, and others fear could carry as-yet-unknown peril.

In March, the top U.S. regulator said no new rules or labeling are needed for gene-edited plants since foreign DNA isn’t being inserted, the way traditional genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are made. Instead, enzymes that act like scissors are used to tweak a plant’s genetic operating system to stop it from producing bad stuff — in this case, polyunsaturated fats — or enhance good stuff that’s already there. . . 


The other families

October 1, 2018

The costs of the Pike River recovery agency are high and rising:

Pike River Recovery Agency has spent $2.5 million in its first financial year, including nine staff paid more than $100,000 a year.

And its boss warns that re-entering the West Coast coal mine, the site of a 2010 explosion that cost 29 lives, might cost millions of dollars more than its original $23 million budget, as the complexities of the operation become apparent. . .

And what of the human cost, not just for the families who always feature in the news, the ones who want the mine re-entered; what of the other families who don’t?

This letter to the editor of The Listener is from one of the other mothers:

My son died in the PIke River mine accident and I couldn’t agree more with the views of Heather Levack (Letter July 28). Not all the 29 families seek recovery of any remains. I am vehemently opposed to it for many reasons, cost being one of them.

My understanding is  the $23 million budget quoted is for only for re-entering the drift and not the actual mine where it is presumed any remains are.

Millions of dollars have already been spent. Any more should go on the living – perhaps on health services in Westland and elsewhere, or on education or on low-cost housing.

I was disgusted but not surprised when Pike River was used for politically before the last election, the present situation being the outcome .

Lack of sensitivity and compassion is distressing to most who are affected by these tragedies. . .

Losing a child in tragic circumstances and living with and accepting that loss is not alleviated by the unwelcome intrusion of those who wish to ‘use’ those circumstances . . My son’s death for me is neither about political grandstanding nor entertainment – Marion Curtin. 

Michael Wright interviewed this mother for a story on bereaved  parents who want to let the past be:

When it got really bad, Marion Curtin would turn on Concert FM. Any sort of music worked, really, but Curtin was a devout Radio New Zealand listener, so the public broadcaster was her first choice. It wasn’t the music she was interested in so much, though. Over on RNZ National the words ‘Pike River’ could be uttered at any moment. On Concert FM, you only needed to avoid the news bulletins.

Curtin, from Christchurch, has spent almost eight years in quiet opposition to what the public could be forgiven for mistaking was the united front of the Pike River families. For most of that time, a group of victims’ family members have fought for accountability over the tragedy and lobbied governments to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies of the 29 who died there, including Curtin’s son, Richard Holling​.

Their efforts have commanded considerable media coverage. This month, stories have focused on the efforts of experts in reviewing options for possible re-entry into the mine drift.

It’s not hard to find stories in favour of re-entry. The Listener letter, this story, and a long ago email read on breakfast TV are the only ones I’d come across before this which give the view of the other parents, those who oppose the idea of attempting re-entry.

Curtin finds the idea abhorrent.

“I don’t understand [the pro-re-entry] view. To me it’s an irrational one. Why they think there are bodies to bring out just beggars belief as far as I’m concerned. The amount of money that’s been spent I think is disgusting. To me it’s just sacrilege. It’s like grave-robbing. It’s awful.”

Mostly, Curtin has kept her counsel on this. Occasionally she has spoken to the media, or written letters to the editor of the Press . But maintaining a public opposition to a prevailing view isn’t easy.

“It’s very hard to go against what is perceived as the majority,” she said. “Because I would much rather not be doing it. I do it to stop an inaccurate picture being painted of ‘the families’. It’s very seldom that someone speaks up and says to them ‘enough’s enough’.”

Curtin has been resolute throughout that the explosion was an accident and retribution against Pike River bosses was pointless. As soon as the re-entry question was raised, she was against that too. Though she received some “positive” feedback when she did speak publicly, she isn’t in contact with any other like-minded bereaved families. Her two daughters and wider family share her view. . .

It was some comfort after the deaths of our two sons to know that no-one was at fault.

Those grieving the loss of the men killed in Pike River don’t have that comfort and the strong wish of some of them to find answers is understandable.

But at what cost and not just in dollar terms?

The re-entry has been politicised by Labour and New Zealand First which is despicable.

Would they have done so if media coverage had made it clear that the campaign for re-entry was not supported by all the families?

Would knowing that the on-going publicity makes matters worse for some of the families have influenced public opinion? Would that in turn have stopped the politicalisation of the tragedy?

All the re-entry planning has done is prolong the agony for all the families – those wanting to let their dead be and those wanting to find answers.

But what if someone gets up the drift and finds nothing? Will the pressure then be to enter the mine itself?

What if someone dies in the attempt?

The living should never be put at risk to recover the dead.

Had there been more balanced coverage, the public support of the agitating families would have been more muted and that might, just might, have stopped the politically motivated and misguided support for a re-entry attempt.


Rural round-up

December 27, 2017

More than 100 people help farming family after tragedy – Andrew Owen:

About 40 shearers and a support crew of more than 60 helped a farming family complete one of the biggest tasks of the year, days after a tragic accident cost the lives of their son and his friend.

Craig “Yopp” Murphy, 31, and his mate Jason Payne, 34, died on December 9 when their ute rolled on a remote, privately-owned farm in Kohuratahi, in the Whangamomona Valley, about 76 kilometres inland from Stratford.

Craig Murphy’s funeral took place on Saturday, December 16, and four days later more than 100 people got to work helping his bereaved parents, Whangamomona Valley farmers Dan and Kathy Murphy, shear their 3400 sheep for free, a task that needed to be finished at the peak of the season before Christmas. . .

Hunter Downs scheme meets share target – Daniel Birchfield:

The 12,000ha Hunter Downs irrigation scheme is to go ahead, after the required number of shares were sold.

Hunter Downs Water Ltd, the company behind the proposal to use water from the Waitaki River on land towards Timaru, held its annual meeting on December 14, when it was expected a decision would be made on whether to proceed or return funds to those who had already made the commitment to take water.

After a delay of several days, Hunter Downs Water Ltd chairman Andrew Fraser announced yesterday the company had “secured sufficient farmer uptake to now enable it to proceed” and finalise the funding structure and contractual arrangements to start construction, which was likely to be early next year. . .

New trapping project already successful – Louise Scott:

A pest control operation to protect native birds in the Rees-Dart River delta is proving successful just one month in.

Glenorchy local Russell Varcoe has built and set four new trapping lines as part of the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust’s Braided River Project.

That includes 601 traps — of which 574 had been placed by last Friday.

It is hoped the project will protect five species classified by the Department of Conservation as either endangered or threatened: wrybills, black-fronted terns, banded dotterels, black-billed gulls and black stilts . .

Leading questions: Synlait Milk founder and chief executive John Penno:

Business leaders discuss the year just gone and what will affect them in 2018. Today: Synlait Milk founder and chief executive John Penno.

What is 2018 looking like for your business?

2017 was very busy – after opening a new infant formula blending and packaging facility in Auckland, and nearing capacity at our Dunsandel site, we are entering 2018 looking to build an infant formula manufacturing site somewhere in the upper North Island.

We’ll also be constructing a $125 million world-class milk packaging plant in Dunsandel to supply fresh milk and cream to South Island families through our new partnership with Foodstuffs South Island. . . 

 

 

Rain on Christmas wish-list as drought conditions become critical in outback Queensland – Eric Barker:

With less than half the average rainfall across many parts of western Queensland this year, rain is top of the Christmas wish-list for most graziers.

While widespread winter rain in 2016 lifted spirits, most of central and south-west Queensland has been officially drought declared for the past four years.

Grazier and Blackall Tambo Shire Mayor Andrew Martin said most of the area had been suffering below-average wet seasons before the drought declarations. . .


Another death at Moeraki turn-off

November 23, 2016

Another person has died at a North Otago highway black spot:

One person was killed in a three-car collision opposite the turn-off to tourist hot spot Moeraki Boulders, yesterday afternoon.

Police were called to the site about 3.30pm.

One person died at the scene and another with critical injuries was transported by rescue helicopter to Dunedin Hospital.

Two people with moderate injuries were taken to Oamaru Hospital.

Earlier this year, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) released information to the Otago Daily Times which showed eight deaths had occurred between Maheno and Moeraki since 2011.

Information provided by the agency identified 10 serious crashes in the area from 2011 to 2015. . .

 The turn-off to the Moeraki Boulders is on a straight stretch of road, which slopes moderately down-hill if you’re traveling south.

Visibility shouldn’t be a problem.

But if you aren’t used to looking right, left and right again, don’t look carefully enough, overshoot the intersection  and slow suddenly, concentrate on your GPS instead of the road and traffic . . . there are lots of opportunities for driver error to turn into tragedy.

 


What % of the drivers are tourists?

November 22, 2015

A coroner says the perception tourist drivers are causing mayhem on our roads is unfounded.

. . .Coroner Gordon Matenga released his findings into their deaths and found both accidents were caused by inexperience.

However, fewer than 6 percent of fatal and serious crashes in the past five years were caused by international visitors.

While many crashes involving foreign drivers were highlighted in the media, the reality was many more people were killed on the roads by New Zealanders, Mr Matenga said. . . 

Six percent is a small percentage of all accidents but the conclusion that tourist drivers aren’t a problem can’t be made without knowing what percentage of all drivers are tourists?

When we drive in countries where we’re driving on the opposite side of the road from New Zealand we reckon it takes both of us to drive.

Even then there’s a real danger of habit creeping in – looking right when we exit a petrol station, seeing no approaching traffic on that side of the road and forgetting it’s coming from the left; remembering to look left, look right, look left but then turning on to the left-hand side of the road . . .

Even without the complication of driving on the other side of the road, New Zealand roads have multiple hazards for those not used to them, including the temptation to marvel at the scenery instead of concentrating on driving.


Just a fire?

February 27, 2015

A van fire in an underground car park  has necessitated the evacuation of a Westfield West City complex in Henderson.

It could be the result of an accident.

It could be the result of criminal action which might or not be an act of terrorism.

The safety of fire fighters and staff, shoppers and others in the vicinity is more important than the cause at this stage.

 


What do we do about tourist drivers?

February 23, 2015

A five-year-old lost her life in a head-on collision on Saturday.

The driver of one of the vehicles has been charged with dangerous driving causing death.

He’s a Chinese tourist.

. . . The latest figures, from 2013, show overseas drivers were involved in 11 fatal accidents, 90 causing serious injury and more than 400 that caused minor injuries. In all 11 fatalities, the overseas driver was found to be at fault.

In the four years to 2013, 37 percent of crashes in Westland involved an overseas driver, 25 percent in Southland, 24 percent in Queenstown-Lakes and 17 percent in Central Otago.

Yesterday’s accidents come just days after three American citizens were killed when their car crossed the centre line and collided with a logging truck north of Tokoroa.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss told 3 News any fatal or serious accident is a tragedy and the Government, police and NZTA are trying to reduce crashes through what’s called the Visiting Drivers Signature Project.

That includes better signage on tourist routes, directional arrows on the road, the use of rumble strips, guidelines for rental vehicle companies and steering wheel safety tags in rental cars. . .

This will inevitably bring more calls for tourists to have to do a driving test before they can drive here, which the AA does not favour:

. . .  AA national manager for policy Simon Douglas told MPs that visiting drivers are not ove-represented at a national level in road accidents.

“AA does not believe that a practical test at the border for visitors is pragmatic or practical. We just don’t believe it will be able to be implemented or make a difference,” he said.

Instead Simon Douglas said the Government should prioritise the roll-out in tourist areas of rubber strips, wire-rope barriers, and arrows reminding drivers to keep left.

If tests could be implemented it would almost certainly result in reciprocal tests for New Zealanders overseas.

It might weed out a few really incompetent tourist drivers but would do nothing to counter the danger of generally competent drivers who revert to their home driving habits after a while.

When we’re in countries where we have to drive on the other side of the road my farmer and I reckon it takes both of us to make sure we don’t get complacent. The few times I’ve driven by myself on the right-hand side of the road I’ve planned the trip meticulously and constantly reminded myself to keep right and look left first.

There’s been an awful start to the road toll this year with 46 deaths from 41 fatal crashes by last Friday compared with 34 from 33 crashes at the same time last year.

Most of those weren’t caused by tourists but of course there are a lot more local drivers than visitors.

Whatever we can do to make tourist drivers safer also needs to apply to all of us.

 


Stop and pop

September 4, 2014

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where dem birdies is? . . .

Some of those birdies are starlings. They’re building nests and one of the places they choose to build those nests is under tractor bonnets.

Insurance companies know only too well how serious dry nest materials and hot engines can be which is why FMG is giving its annual reminder to stop and pop.

There’s a game at that link and a chance to win prizes.

 

 

 

 


Feds concerned by 111 coverage

March 22, 2014

Federated farmers is concerned about emergency responsiveness and 111 coverage after it took a farmer about 30 minutes to get through to an operator after she trod in a wasps’ nest.

. . . “Given the 111 service is a rural lifeline, Federated Farmers was troubled to learn Janet Kelland struggled to get through for upwards of 30 minutes,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesperson.

“Telecom/Spark’s Telecommunications Service Obligation is relevant here because it must answer 111 calls within 15 seconds. 

“Federated Farmers is calling on Telecom/Spark to make sure it meets its TSO obligations and a formal complaint from Janet would help to trigger this. 

“Cellular network performance at the time needs to be looked into as well as the mapping software being used by the ambulance call centre.  A farmer repeatedly stung by wasps could have died for want of a connection.

“After getting clear Janet rang 111 and sometimes it would ring she told us and sometimes there was silence.  While cell reception can be random in rural areas she has reception on her farm and good reception from where she tried to call from.

“Janet told Federated Farmers that it took 30-minutes before she got through to an operator.  Even then after asking for an ambulance she was cut off. 

“She did get through but when she gave her address the operator insisted it did not exist.  While Janet resorted to some agricultural language, who could blame her given she was in agony.

“Clearly there are several issues that need to be looked at.  There also seems to be a pressing need to review mapping software because Janet’s address is in the White Pages.

“We note the 2012 review said that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will be working with emergency service providers and the telecommunications sector to investigate new technology. 

“Now seems a good time to start,” Mrs Milne concluded.

Mobile coverage is variable in the country but with RAPID (Rural Address Property Identification Numbers) there should be no problem with an address.

We’ve called 111 twice.

The first time was the night our son stopped breathing.

I started CPR while my farmer called for help. In those days 111 calls went to the local hospital and the man who answered the phone used to shear for us. As soon as he knew it was my farmer he said he’d tell the ambulance how to get there and told my farmer to hang up, ring our GP.

The second time was last December towards the end of a party when one of the guests stumbled, fell and knocked himself out.

I dialled 111, got straight through, had no problem with the address and the ambulance was here in less than 30 minutes.

However, both those calls were from landlines.

Staff who’ve had to call emergency services from our farm have managed to do so without problems, but there’s an element of luck in that they happened to be where they had reasonable coverage when they needed it.

Even in the 21st century you can’t expect 100% mobile coverage but you shouldn’t have to argue about your address.


Rural round-up

February 17, 2014

Coach develops forestry safety vest:

A former rugby league coach has adapted a piece of sporting equipment for the forestry sector in an effort to save lives.

Graham Lowe has designed a GPS monitoring vest which can measure workers’ fatigue levels by gathering data on their heart beat and hydration levels, which he said is almost ready to be launched.

Last year set an unwelcome record for forestry incidents, with 10 deaths and more than 150 serious injuries. . .

From riches to dags – Tim Cronshaw:

More than anything, Christine Fernyhough will miss the sky when she closes the farm gate for the last time at Castle Hill Station.

The big, open skyline is the backdrop to craggy ridges descending down steep shingle screes to the station’s broad tussock country, limestone outcrops and productive pastures.

Live long enough at Castle Hill as Fernyhough has and the overhead vista takes centrestage. Its intensity at dusk and dawn is matched by the evening star show and during the day she never tires of its ever changing canvas.

It’s been nearly 10 years since she came to have a look at the South Island and fell in love with the sky. . .

‘Idiots’ back hunting illegally – Lard Harper:

A resident on a far-flung South Taranaki road says police are doing little to protect life and property from illegal hunters.

Tangahoe Valley Rd resident Jill Hardy says “little idiots” were still peppering farmland months after authorities said they would intervene.

But authorities say they are doing everything they can to navigate a difficult issue.

Hardy said her latest complaint, laid against a group shooting from a picnic table on to her land, had gone nowhere. . .

 

NZ milk volumes 4.2% higher for the season – Abby Brown:

New Zealand milk volumes are 4.2% higher for the season to January 31, 2014 the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council says.

The Global Dairy Trade (GDT) prices on February 4 are 40.5% higher than the last event on January 21.

It is up 50% over the same six month period last year.

The council said in its latest Global Dairy Update that milk collection across NZ for the eight months to January 31, 2014 reached 1120 million kg milksolids (MS).

This was 4.2% higher than the same period last year. 

“Rain through December and early January helped maintain milk production above last season’s level with the North Island 3.7% higher and the South Island 5.0% higher for the season to date,” the council said. . .

Wetlands provide many benefits – Julie Ross:

The area of our Kokoamo Farm near Duntroon in North Otago was a boggy, willow-infested corner at the bottom of the farm boundary, fed by a large catchment area and at the head of the spring-fed Kokoamu Stream.

We decided originally to enhance an unattractive part of the farm, while at the same time testing the filtering ability of a created wetland and providing a suitable pond for duck hunting.

Since then, the focus of our work on the wetland has changed and it is now primarily about improving water quality, reducing the environmental impact of intensive farming and providing a habitat for flora and fauna to thrive.

In 2008 we received a $5000 grant from Environment Canterbury but have funded most of the project ourselves. . .

 

Lack of social media training a barrier to farmers – Abby Brown:

Sophie Stanley says the biggest barrier to farmers and agribusinesses from using social media is a lack of training.

One of five New Zealanders awarded a Nuffield scholarship in 2013 Stanley has travelled the world to explore how the agriculture industry harnesses social media.

She said it is an issue the industry should invest in.

“If farmers are interested in networking and sharing industry knowledge Twitter has a wealth of information and a number of farmers domestically and globally that you can interact with,” she said. . .


Good firebreak

January 12, 2014

Stating the obvious:

“Obviously because it’s an island in the middle of a lake it’s got a pretty good fire break around it.” Doc DOC eastern South Island rural fire manager Tom Barr

He was commenting on a fire which got out of control and ruined an island on Lake Tekapo.

Mistakes

January 9, 2014

A new road safety advertisement has gone viral:

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse has welcomed the unprecedented response to the latest road safety advertisement from the NZTA.

“Mistakes, is a powerful new ad that helps drivers understand that no matter how careful they are, other people will always make mistakes, and if we slow down fewer people will pay for mistakes with their lives,” Mr Woodhouse says.

Mr Woodhouse says the clip has had more than 2 million views on Youtube since it was first launched just four days ago, and the message is resonating both in New Zealand and around the world.

“It’s a terrific sign of success that this message has gone viral and got people talking about road safety around the world. We have had requests to use the advert from as far afield as Brazil and Poland, and had questions and positive feedback from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Sweden.

“Educational campaigns that invoke a strong emotional response can be far more effective in changing behaviour than simply telling people to obey the rules.

“It really brings home the point that the faster you go, the less time you have to react if someone makes a mistake on the road – even if you feel in control.” . . .

Most advertisements focus on people’s own driving, this one makes you think about other people’s mistakes.

“Mistakes was developed as part of the Government’s effort to change the conversation around speed, which is a key plank of the Safer Journeys strategy.

“While the road toll has been reducing in recent years, there is no silver bullet when it comes to improving road safety, and success will ultimately be measured by a society increasingly free of death and injury on our roads.”

Mr Woodhouse acknowledges the collaborative efforts of the NZTA, Police and Clemenger BBDO in creating the advertisement. The previous record for a NZ video passing two million views was Blazed, which took nearly two weeks, and prior to that was Ghost Chips, which took over a month to hit the mark.


Rural round-up

January 4, 2014

MP: Tractor protest well worth it – Sue O’Dowd:

The retiring politician who once drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament would do it all again.

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern famously gunned the tractor called Myrtle up Parliament’s steps in a 2003 protest against the Labour Government’s proposed flatulence tax on ruminants. It was later described as the single most effective protest in scuttling what was deemed an idiotic proposal.

Today Ardern is still incensed the Government sacked eminent ruminant scientists conducting research into harnessing methane emission to improve production, even as it was proposing to tax those emissions.

“The scientists were working on something that would potentially overcome the problem, but the Labour Government sacked them because it wanted to introduce a tax on the productive sector that drives the economy of New Zealand.

“It was a lie and it still is a lie. [The proposed tax] was nothing to do with environmental problems. It was about getting extra revenue from the productive sector and it was about wealth redistribution. . .

Fonterra scare could have been prevented– Catherine Harris:

The botched Fonterra botulism scare in August last year might have been prevented if an independent food safety centre had existed, a top toxicologist says.

Professor Ian Shaw, of the University of Canterbury, is among those to welcome the idea of a $5 million food safety centre, which was recommended last month by a government inquiry into New Zealand’s food safety systems.

Shaw, who has chaired a food safety body in the UK, said the Government’s proposal was “a bloody good idea”.

If there had been a food safety centre in place when the Fonterra scare occurred, the test results might have been known more quickly and the false alarm possibly avoided, he said. . .

Sheep injures man:

A man has been airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital with serious chest injuries after being ‘‘rammed’’ by a sheep on a farm north of Hunterville.

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter pilot Lance Burns said the man did not appear to have been trampled but had obviously been headbutted relatively hard by the sheep.

It was thought he was in a pen with the sheep at the time of the incident.

He stabilised by St John paramedics on board the rescue helicopter and arrived at Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition. . .

DOC targets rats to help save struggling bats – Neil Ratley:

The Department of Conservation is going in to bat for a critically endangered mammal species in Fiordland.

A low count of long-tailed bats in the Kepler Mountains is prompting DOC to design and undertake rat control to protect the rare species.

The rat control will emulate that undertaken by DOC in the Eglington Valley, the only other known long-tailed bat habitat in Fiordland.

There was excitement surrounding the discovery of the long-tailed bat colony near the Kepler track in December 2011, with DOC staff estimating the population was close to 70. . .

The Myth About Seed Choice – Foodie Farmer:

I recently had a twitter conversation on a topic that seemed to perpetuate an urban myth – that farmers do not have a choice when it comes to planting seed or that seed companies “impose” their seeds on farmers, as if it is a dictatorship… Last time I checked, America was a pretty free country. Most people are able to make choices on what they buy at the store… So why would that be different for farmers?

As a family farm, we grow both GMO (we don’t actually use this term but for the sake of this blog, am using it for the reader for whom it may be a descriptor) and non-GMO crops and choose our seed produced from a variety of different seed companies, buying directly from our neighbors, which frankly, is the whole point of the fabric of rural America. We support one another. . .

Donkey meat contamination scare in China’s Walmart – Horsetalk:

Several Walmart outlets in China have withdrawn “five-spice donkey meat” after tests revealed the presence of fox meat.

The company is helping authorities in eastern Shandong province investigate the Chinese supplier.

Walmart confirmed it found traces of DNA from animals other than donkey after testing the product. The Shandong Food and Drug Administration had been reported as saying the product contained fox meat. . .


Sometimes your number’s up

December 27, 2013

The driver of this car was heading east.

He said he went to sleep.

The driver of a vehicle going in the opposite direction saw the car swerve into the gravel, hit a bank, fly into the air, cross the road, go over the fence without breaking a wire and come to rest on its side facing west.

If the other vehicle had been a second closer, if this car had hit a post or if the driver hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, at least one person would have been severely injured or dead.

As it is the driver had no serious injuries and no-one else was hurt.

Sometimes your number’s up, sometimes it isn’t.

car


Another potential Darwin Award

July 21, 2012

A train ran into a car which had been abandoned on the railway line in Oamaru:

 

Officers tracked down the man’s address through his car’s registration number and found him at home.

They say he told them he had been taking a shortcut home along the train tracks, as he often did, when the vehicle became stuck.

A short cut along the train tracks in a car?

Definitely a potential candidate for a Darwin Award.


How often is cannabis/alcohol a factor?

May 10, 2012

The pilot of the hot air balloon which crashed near Carterton tested positive for cannabis:

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) released the  report this morning which stated toxicology results from the body of pilot  Lance Hopping, 53, gave a positive result for cannabis. His body was tested four  days after the accident.

The Commission has not made any link between the pilot’s  cannabis use and the accident, saying it is “wrong to draw premature  conclusions” but it does say the results are “very concerning”. . .

Another report released by the TAIC yesterday into the Fox Glacier air crash  revealed two skydive instructors had cannabis in their systems. TAIC recommended  drug and alcohol testing as a result. . .

It is worth repeating both that the Commission hasn’t made any link between the cannabis use and the accident and that the results are very concerning.

Moving from these particular cases to the general – adventure tourism attracts young, adventurous people who work hard and play hard.

The playing hard often involves a lack of sleep, alcohol and possibly other drugs, all of which can affect work performance the next day.

How often are one or all of these a factor which increases the risk of accident in pursuits which require full attention and quick reactions?


%d bloggers like this: