Vandalism, activism or personal?

January 16, 2017

Is this vandalism environmental activism or someone with a personal grudge?

“Committed” offenders  would have been drenched as they slashed the tyres on three pivot irrigators, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage,  police said.

Senior Constable Craig Bennett, of Kurow,  believes the attack on the irrigators  occurred early on Saturday near State Highway 8 and Broken Hut Rd, just outside Omarama. Snr Const Bennett said it was too early to say if the vandalism was caused by an individual or several people, but the irrigators were not easily spotted from the road and fences would have been navigated by someone with  intent.

Forty-four tyres, valued at up to $800 each, were slashed, he said.

Omarama farmer and pivot irrigator owner Richard Subtil was upset  about the damage and urged people to come forward with information about the attack.

He believed the vandal or vandals  either had a problem with him or an issue with irrigation and decided to attack his equipment.

“I really hope it’s the latter. I’m trying to understand what motivated someone to do it. If it’s a personal vendetta I’m unsure what it’s about.

The Subtils won the 2015 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on March 26, the Subtils also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award.

They are innovative farmers who have been recognised for their careful management of their farm and the environment. Entrants in the BEFA are also judged on their contribution to their community.

That doesn’t rule out a personal vendetta but this couple is very highly regarded which makes it less likely.

The damage could be an act of vandalism.  But irrigation in this area has attracted vehement opposition so it could be the work of one or more environmental activists who object to the greening of what was an arid landscape.

 

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Rural round-up

December 23, 2016

Probe of shot-calf incident  – Shannon Gillies:

Police are investigating the brutal death of a bobby calf near Waimate at the weekend.

The calf was found at the side of a road on Sunday morning, apparently shot five times and struck by a vehicle.

Dan Studholme, on whose property near Waimate the calf had been grazing, said it was apparent the calf did not die instantly from its wounds.

Mr Studholme was called by a forestry worker who discovered the calf. Then a vet and the police were called.

Rifle round casings were found lying near the dead animal, which had been shot in the leg, stomach and jaw. . .

New tools needed to ensure pollination – Maureen Bishop:

Breeding flies to act as pollinators, fitting queen bumblebees with radio transmitters, and preloading honeybees with pollen. These are all methods being trialled to increase the range of crop pollinators.
New Zealand crop industries need a box of new tools to ensure sufficient pollination into the future, a pollination scientist told the audience at the Foundation for Arable Research’s field day at Chertsey on December 7.

Dr David Pattemore, of Plant & Food Research, said scientists were seeking new methods of crop pollination for industries such as avocado, kiwifruit and other agricultural crops. . . 

Kakanui River finds new support group :

North Otago’s Kakanui River, the subject of a three-year community programme that finished in October, has a new champion.

The North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (NOSLaM) has taken over from the Kakanui Community Catchment Project to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and increase biodiversity. The project was funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s  and the New Zealand Landcare Trust, with support from the North Otago Irrigation Company, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Ravensdown.

NOSLaM chairman Peter Mitchell said the group had held meetings and made funding applications so it could continue the progress already made. . . 

Support for Gisborne conservation work:

Four ambitious conservation projects in Gisborne have received $78,000 in support from the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner have announced.

The projects range from weed eradication on Gisborne’s Titirangi Maunga to protecting wild kiwi in Maungataniwha and represent the best of community conservation, the Ministers say.

“Each of the groups is helping wage the War on Weeds and protect native species from introduced predators and invasive plants,” Ms Barry says. . . 

Kaikōura Cheese keeps going after quake – Max Towle:

Immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes, Daniel and Sarah Jenkins decided to pack up everything they own and move from Christchurch to Kaikōura.

A year later they fulfilled their dream and were cheese making, and eventually opened a shop, Kaikōura Cheese, on the main street.

Last month, when the shaking started again, they were hit with a severe case of deja vu and are only now starting to get their business rolling again. . . 

Fridge stoush over, copyright claim continues: Lewis Road claims partial victory over Fonterra – Ellen Read:

Boutique dairy producer Lewis Road Creamery is claiming a partial victory in its battle with dairy giant Fonterra and is praising social media for the outcome.

The two have been at odds for several weeks over the similarity of labelling on Fonterra’s new Kapiti premium milk range to Lewis Road bottles, as well as who has access to what shelf space in Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak ‘n Save supermarket fridges.

Co-founder Peter Cullinane said on Thursday that his lawyers received a letter from Fonterra lawyers late on Wednesday that showed Fonterra had updated plans it had been making to take up to 97.5 per cent of the supermarket shelf space meaning it was “business as usual” for all suppliers now. . . 

Will the Prime Minister accept Sir David’s challenge?

The challenges for a new Prime Minister are many and varied.

Over the last two weeks Bill English has negotiated a successful leadership campaign to succeed former Prime Minister John Key and a cabinet reshuffle, but now he faces a challenge of a unique kind.

Speaking with Jamie Mackay on NZME’s The Country radio farming show yesterday, Sir David Fagan, the world’s most decorated shearer and a member of the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships’ Organising Committee, laid an invitation at the new Prime Minister’s feet.

“Our new Prime Minister, I know he can shear. I’ve seen him shear at Lumsden many, many years ago at the Full wool Champs. Now there is a challenge for you Jamie, to get our new Prime Minister to shear a sheep down there.” Sir David said. But he didn’t stop there. . . 

Soils, climate, proximity key to new Marlborough vineyard development as sheep farm sold – Mike Watson:

A long-established Marlborough sheep farm has become the latest pastoral property in the region to be sold for vineyard development.

Vendor Mostyn Wadsworth has been a mainstay on the Northbank of the Wairau Valley for the past 33 years.

The Wadsworth family has farmed in the area for nearly a century. . . 


Rural round-up

December 9, 2016

Farmers urged to report all crime:

 

A Federated Farmers survey shows the rural sector is plagued by thieves, rustlers and poachers but not enough farmers are reporting their losses.

Farmers need to get smarter about security, and work more closely with police to deter and catch offenders, Federated Farmers rural crime portfolio leader Rick Powdrell says.

More than 1,000 farmers from all over New Zealand responded to the on-line survey, with 26 per cent saying stock had been stolen from them in the last five years. More than 3% had been hit by stock thieves five times or more since 2011. . . 

Police investigating theft of 70 hay bales from farm near Wanaka – Rhys Chamberlain:

Otago Lakes Central police are on the hunt for thieves who made off with 70 bales of hay worth about $350 in total.

A police media spokeswoman said the theft occurred on the corner of Partridge Rd and St Ninians Way near Hawea Flat between 8pm Sunday and 7am on Monday.

There was no indication of the method used to take the bales and there appeared to be no witnesses, she said.

“The victim has no idea how they [hay bales] were taken.” . . 

Blue Sky Meats urges shareholders to wait for more information on Binxi takeover – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats has recommended shareholders wait for more information from the board on the future prospects of the meat processor before deciding on a takeover offer from China-based Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co, which is at the top of an independent valuation range.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, a subsidiary of the Chinese company referred to as Binxi Cattle Group, is offering $2.20 per share for the 86.5 percent of Blue Sky that it doesn’t already own. Independent adviser Campbell MacPherson values Blue Sky’s shares between $1.93 and $2.21 apiece, according to a report sent to shareholders yesterday. . . 

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust is seeking a tenant for its dairy farm:

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust seeks a tenant for the 80 hectare dairying operation in McLeans Island Road, Harewood – directly opposite Harewood Golf Course. The lease marketing campaign is being undertaken by Bayleys Canterbury, with tenders closing on December 14.

The dairy operation is part of the revenue activities of the Trust, which administers an expansive 1100 hectare flora and fauna sanctuary adjacent to Christchurch International Airport.

The Trust is a well renown not-for-profit wildlife organisation and is currently the only facility in the world breeding orange-fronted parakeets in captivity, and the only facility outside of the Department of Conservation to breed the rare black stilt and New Zealand shore plover bird species. It runs one of New Zealand’s most expert incubation and hatchery for rare breed chicks. . . 

  Anchor launches new range of premium products in China:

At its Annual General Meeting today Fonterra announced the launch of a new range of premium Anchor products in China, in response to the ongoing growth in demand for safe, high-quality dairy nutrition.

The new ‘Upline’ range features two new UHT milk products. LiveUp is a high-protein milk with 50 per cent more protein than standard UHT (at 5.7 grams of protein per 100ml), while NaturalUp is made from certified fresh organic New Zealand milk that meets Chinese and New Zealand organic standards.

Fonterra Greater China President, Christina Zhu, said the new products . . 

Mixed results for wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Ltd’s CEO Mr John Dawson reports that the North Island auction comprising 9400 bales, which was 2000 bales above anticipated roster, saw a 93 percent clearance with a continuation of targeted buying. With price levels at lowest levels for several seasons, buying activity from some sectors has been stimulated for specific types, resulting in price lifts for target wools, however there were further reductions for out of favour types.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 1.03 percent up on last week, having minimal impact locally.

Mr Dawson advises compared to last North Island selection on 1st December; . . 

British wool a thriving industry thanks to running the last marketing board in the country Julia Bradshaw:

Every sheep is different, so every fleece is different, you open one up and never know what you’re going to get,” says Ian Brooksbank, a senior head grader for the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) – the country’s last surviving agricultural commodities co-operative.

Brooksbank works at its North of England depot, a massive warehouse on the outskirts of Bradford, next to the headquarters of the marketing board. There, he and a team of workers grade and package fleeces from the surrounding counties. Grading takes huge skill, and Brooksbank has years of experience. “I started here in 1990 when I was 16, just pushing the skeps,” he says as he touches the fleece in front of him, pulling out and inspecting the fibres to see how strong and uniform they are.


White Ribbon aim not good enough

November 25, 2016

Today is White Ribbon Day which is part of a campaign to end men’s violence towards women, and encourage males to lead by example.

That’s a good aim but it’s not good enough.

Men’s violence to women is a big  problem but it isn’t the only problem. Men are violent to men, women and children. Women are violent to men, women  and children. And children are violent to other children and adults.

It doesn’t matter who does it to whom.

The age and gender of the perpetrator and victim are irrelevant.

No violence, by anyone, to anyone, is acceptable.

The aim should be to end violence by anyone to anyone and to encourage everyone – man, woman, and child – to lead by example.

Ending violence by men to women is a good aim but ending all violence is a better one.


What does a gang do with 210-litre drum of pure milk fat?

September 23, 2016

A drum of milk fat was among stolen items recovered when police searched a house occupied by gang members:

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small revealed that one of the stolen items was a 210-litre drum of pure milk fat.

Among the other items seized were a Holden engine, iPads, laptops, building equipment and power tools. A pair of trailers, scaffolding and tarpaulins made up the rest of the items seized by police. . . 

What does a gang do with a 210 litre drum of pure milk fat?


Not guilty not necessarily innocent

August 2, 2016

Justice Minister Amy Adams has confirmed that David Bain’s application for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment has been concluded:

“This case has been one of the most complex, unique and high profile cases New Zealand has ever known,” says Ms Adams.

Ian Callinan QC, a former Justice of Australia’s highest court, was appointed by Ms Adams on 19 March 2015 to provide advice on Mr Bain’s claim. Mr Callinan’s report was received by the Minister on 27 January 2016.

“Mr Callinan’s report found that Mr Bain has not established his innocence on the balance of probabilities. As such, no statement of innocence or compensation payment will be made to Mr Bain.

“However, the Crown recognises that the compensation application process has lasted nearly six and a half years and that this has been an incredibly difficult and complicated case for all involved. Reaching this point has taken longer than anyone would have wanted it to.

“In addition, since receiving Mr Callinan’s final report it has become evident that Mr Bain and his advisors didn’t accept Mr Callinan’s findings. They made it absolutely clear that they intended to legally challenge that report, leading to considerable further cost and delay in this matter.

“While the Crown is confident in the strength of its position in any such review, it’s clearly desirable to bring finality to this case and avoid the cost and uncertainty of further proceedings.

“In my view, no one benefits from this matter continuing to drag on. In light of that, the Crown has agreed to make an ex gratia payment of $925,000 in recognition of the time involved and expenses incurred by Mr Bain during the compensation process, and the desirability of avoiding further litigation.”

Mr Bain has accepted this payment in full and final settlement of all matters.

“This resolution is a pragmatic one that recognises the unique circumstances of this case and a desire on all sides to bring this matter to a close,” says Ms Adams.

“While many New Zealanders hold strong views on the case, the complexities of the evidence and the opinions that evidence has given rise to, are such that those views are likely to continue to be firmly held without clear resolution.”

“While the issue has divided opinion in New Zealand, I am satisfied that the matter has at least now been concluded.”

The Minister is quite clear the payment is an ex gratia one and not compensation but that won’t stop others using it as a precedent.

The two Callinan reports are  here and here.

From part way down page 114 in the first one, Mr Callinan lists objective or otherwise incontestable facts.

From page 118 he lists contestable facts.

From page 138 he gives his conclusion and the reasons for it.

New Zealand juries are required to find people guilty or not guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If the jury has reasonable doubt as to the accused’s guilt it has to opt for not guilty.

Being found not guilty beyond reasonable doubt doesn’t mean the accused has been proven to be innocent.

Unlike in a court, Bain and his supporters had to provide enough evidence to find him innocent and Mr Callinan found they were unable to do so.


Rural round-up

May 5, 2016

Cheese-maker happy with the blues – Shannon Gillies:

Pursuing her goal of becoming a businesswoman in the highly competitive world of cheese-making has led Frenchwoman Pauline Treillard to Oamaru.

Originally trained as a sommelier, Ms Treillard (25) left that job to pursue her interest in cheese and became a cheese-maker in her home province of Bordeaux.

After years of trying to get further in the male-dominated industry, she decided to take a chance on the southern hemisphere and left France in 2013.

She arrived in Oamaru in March 2016, after her visa application to stay in Australia with her partner was declined. . . 

China Links paying dividends – Hugh Stringleman:

A week-long trip to China with Prime Minister John Key’s recent government and business delegation enabled Fonterra chairman John Wilson to view first-hand his co-operative’s engagement with its biggest and most-important market. Hugh Stringleman got a debriefing.

Vertical integration of Fonterra’s activities in China position it well for dynamic markets, regulatory changes and government approval, Fonterra chairman John Wilson says.

President Xi Jinping commented on Fonterra’s $1 billion-plus investment in China and the creation of 1600 jobs, Prime Minister John Key had reported. . .

Hard times swell Gypsy Day moves – Hugh Stringleman:

Sharemilkers and other dairy farm staff will be moving in greater numbers this Gypsy Day because of tough times in the industry.

Federated Farmers sharemilkers’ section leaders said more of the annual end-of-season moves would be from necessity and were not improvements in jobs.

“Higher-order sharemilkers will be moving for financial and structural reasons while the lower-orders and contract milkers may be taking a step backwards, unfortunately,” section chairman Neil Filer of Dannevirke said. . . 

Genetics could help combat FE – Sudesh Kissun:

An outbreak of facial eczema (FE) on the West Coast is driving home the need for FE-tolerant genetics, according to a farmer.

Andrew Bruning and Tracey Herrick are first year dairy farming in Karamea, where the whole district has been hit hard with FE — unusual for the area, Bruning says.

They milk 180 cows, mainly Friesian with some crossbred; a quarter of the herd have clinical symptoms of FE. Bruning believes the rest of the herd is suffering with sub-clinical symptoms. . . 

 ‘Gutless’ thieves butcher cow in field – Liz Wylie:

Kaitoke farmer Tony Skews said thieves who shot and butchered his prize cow on Monday night are “gutless pieces of junk”.

Mr Skews, who keeps just 15 cows on his property near Lake Wiritoa, said the animal had been shot with a .22 rifle and badly butchered by “amateurs”.

“They have taken the back steak and four legs and just left the rest,” he said.

“She was the fattest cattle beast on the property and this loss has cost me about $1500.” . . 

 

John Key's photo.

I back our farmers, our manufacturers, our ICT companies and in fact all our export industries to succeed.

If we can get an equal crack at world markets, we’re up there with the best in the world. John Key.

John Key's photo.

This deal matters to individual businesses and workers ine very region of the country.

The orchardist in Hawkes Bay, the windegrower in Marlborough, the dairy farmer in Waikto, and the IT provider in Auckland all stand to benefit. – John Key.


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