Rural round-up

July 5, 2017

Rangitikei dairy farmer Stu Taylor changes the way he employs dairy farm staff –    Jill Galloway:

The social lives of workers are changing and dairy farmers must change the way they employ dairy staff, says a Rangitikei dairy farmer.

Dairy farm owner near Santoft Stu Taylor said he aimed for a roster of five day on and two day off for the 30 staff employed at his farm.

At the DairyNZ ‘People Expo’ in Palmerston North, he said he was committed to a better way of working for dairy farming. . . 

Rural women ‘in crisis’: Letter reveals dark side of farm life – Ruby Nyika:

Rural women struggling with mental illness have been neglected for too long, a Waikato woman says.

In a pleading letter sent to Rural Women NZ, Mary Anne Murphy calls for more mental health support and funding specifically for rural women.

Murphy, who no longer lives rurally, felt compelled to act after government ministries announced at Fieldays that $500,000 would be committed to Rural Mental Wellness, targeting struggling farmers. . .

New father Richard Morrison wonders what is ahead in farming for his young son:

Thirteen weeks ago I entered into a new venture: fatherhood. I try and imagine what the future may have in store for little Henry but that task is challenging and a little daunting.

I think about the change we have seen the last 35 years, since my childhood, and even the last 17 since I entered the workforce. The world is a bigger place and it moves a lot faster: I was able to attain a university degree without using a computer – now some toddlers seem to be attached to them.

The prospects for one little person is hard to foresee in this big, fast moving world but there is one thing I do know. Growing up in New Zealand on a farm, in a tight knit rural community, with access to quality local schools prepares you incredibly well for life. This is as true today as it has been for the last 100 years. . . .

Kiwi farmer wins Australasian business management award:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmer Jonny Elder has taken out the 2017 Rabobank Business Development Prize, a trans-Tasman business management award for up-and-coming farmers.

Selected from a group of New Zealand and Australia’s most progressive young farmers, graduates of the 2016 Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP), Mr Elder, from Northern Southland, was recognised for his management project – which demonstrated how he had utilised the learnings from the program to create and implement a business plan to maximise the potential of his farm. Designed for emerging farmers, the FMP focusses on the development of business management skills, with an emphasis on strategic planning, leadership and self-awareness. . .

Dairy farmers moving to ‘good returns’ from beef calves – Andrew McRae:

Demand for beef calves is driving down the number of bobby calves being processed and providing a lucrative side business for dairy farmers.

On dairy farms, where 70 percent of all calves are born, those not needed as dairy replacements have traditionally been sent for slaughter.

But that’s now changing, according to Doug Lineham, from Beef and Lamb’s Dairy Beef Integration Project. . . .

Pacific Alliance FTA negotiations hailed:

Federated Farmers says it’s excellent news that New Zealand is underway with free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The announcement by trade minister Todd McClay that the five nations will strive to improve market access and level the playing field is an important step in the New Zealand Trade Agenda 2030 strategy. It also represents the ongoing commitment from four members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to improving the trade environment in the Pacific region. . .


Anything not everything

June 19, 2017

Mine was probably the last generation of girls who grew up thinking we’d get married and have children – and in that order.

We were encourage to have jobs or even careers, but the expectation for most of us was that, sooner rather than later, family would come first.

Younger women have grown up with different expectations, many based on the exhortation that girls can do anything.

The trouble with that line is that it’s taken to mean they can do, and have,  everything – career, relationship, family . . .

But as Deborah Coddington says in commenting on Holly Walker’s Memoir The Whole Intimate Mess:

Walker admits she saw it as a chance to show women could have it all. Isn’t it about time someone, somewhere, blazed across the sky: if you choose to do one thing you are, ipso facto, forgoing something else? . . 

Coddington has been criticised on Twitter for her view, but she’s right.

Anyone might be able to do anything, but that is very different from being able to do everything, or at the very least being able to do it all at once:

Undoubtedly changes could be made to the system in the behemoth, but raising a baby is one of the most important things a mum or dad can do. Should it be slotted between points of order, supplementary questions, constituency meetings, select committees? Certainly not when a woman ends up badly mentally and physically hurt, no matter who is inflicting the abuse.

Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned. I had my first child five days after I turned 22, 42 years ago, and I loved raising babies. But at the same time I watched with envy as my journalism colleagues soared up the career ladder while I felt abandoned in Wairarapa teaching a little one to talk, garden and cook playdough. But when my four children were at school I could claw my way back up to the top in journalism, full time, then look at those same colleagues, now in their late 30s, early 40s, struggle with IVF, difficult pregnancies and exhaustion as they juggled early childcare and jobs.

My point is you actually can have everything; but maybe not at the same time.

Definitely not at the same time, and not always when you want it.

By the time young couples have completed their education, travel, and are well on their way up the career ladder, conception might not come easily, if at all.

As a friend commented during a discussion on infertility,  Our parents worried we’d have babies too soon, our generation worries our children are leaving it too late.

A point Amanda Gillies made on the AM Show:

“I say to girls, particularly young girls, have your children early if you can. I waited, I shouldn’t have, and so I say to them: Career you can always come back to it – children you can’t,” Gillies said.

“So do it early, it’s so much easier. I’m now 40, it’s probably not a happening thing and it’s a heartbreaking thing because as a woman you do feel like a failure.” . . 

If these busy career people do manage to have children, the idea that life can go on as it did pre-parenthood seriously underestimates the demands even the healthiest and happiest of babies make, ignores the almost certainty that no baby is 100% happy and healthy, and shows little if any appreciation of the time, energy and commitment it takes to bring up children.

In most young families today, men play a much more active parenting role than their fathers did and women are much more likely to be in paid work than their mothers were.

Parents sharing the caregiving and wage-earning can be better for them and their children.

But the message that girls – and boys – can do anything needs to be tempered with the caution that if they try to do everything at once something will give and if having children comes later on the to-do list, they might find it’s too late.

 


H&S no excuse for stupidity

June 18, 2017

When our daughter was young I would very, very occasionally say it’s a matter of safety.

She knew that meant I wouldn’t be budged and because I used it so rarely, she accepted it.

Unfortunately safety, or more often health and safety has now become an excuse for stupidity like this:

Emily Broadmore wanted her two young twins Hugo and Connie left buckled in their pram on the train from Wellington to Masteron, but was told she couldn’t because of health and safety reasons.

“When I inquired where I could put the pram… I was yelled at and told that you shouldn’t even be travelling with two babies,” she said. . .
She had been told she could put her pram in the designated wheelchair space if it was available, but train staff refused citing health and safety.

Hugo and Connie were seated and the pram was stored away.

“I turned momentarily to Connie and he just dived about a metre and a half.”

Transdev Wellington, the company who run the service apologised to Ms Broadmore, but the Multiple Birth Association say it should not have come to this. . .

Of course it shouldn’t have come to this and, because of this incident, the company has clarified with staff what they expect so it shouldn’t come to that again.

But it will, not necessarily with this company, on a train, nor with a parent of twins.

But somewhere there’s someone with more authority than common sense, compassion or care who will trot out health and safety, whether or not his or her directive, as it did in this case, actually endangers health and safety rather than promoting it.


No need to censor happy thoughts

June 16, 2017

This excerpt from Holly Walker’s memoir is a very sad reflection on the madness of modern life:

One Friday morning, about three months after my return to work, I held a drop-in clinic for constituents in Petone. Parliament was not sitting. When the clinic was over, I met Dave and Esther, fed her, and took her for a walk around our local park while she slept. It was a beautiful day, and I felt a rare sense of ease and wellbeing, so I took a picture and tweeted it, saying something like “What a perfect Petone day.”

A few days later, one of the Green Party’s press secretaries rang me up. A press gallery journalist, herself a working mother with young children, had seen my tweet and thoughtfully passed on that, to parents with children in daycare who would like nothing more than to be out walking with them on a sunny Friday afternoon, an MP posting a tweet like this was not a good look. The press secretary gently suggested that I might like to be sensitive to this. I took the feedback meekly, thanking her and agreeing to be more judicious in future. I could see how a mother with her own kids in daycare could look askance at that. . . 

When did it become wrong to share a little moment of joy?

There are times when your own troubles make it difficult to appreciate another’s simple pleasures.

There are times when it would be insensitive to share your happy times with someone directly.

But those are times when you’re speaking or writing to someone personally.

Tweets go to the world, with a maximum of 140 characters which provide only a snapshot. They aren’t personal communications and should not be taken personally.

Parenthood is tough. Throwing work – paid or voluntary – into the mix makes it tougher. But if someone is so ground down they can’t  let someone they don’t know delight in the good times with their baby, it is they, not the sharer who has the problem.

If anyone, public figure or not, has to censor their happy thoughts, then the world really has gone mad.

 


When you’re lying you’re losing

May 30, 2017

Labour was blindsided by the support other Opposition Parties – the Greens and New Zealand First – have given to national’s Budget.

That is no excuse for lying about the details Andrew Little said:

“National’s Single Child Tax will see a family with one child lose as much as $830 a year in Working For Families payments.

“Whenever you’re putting these packages together, there’s always a complexity about it. But I’d be surprised if they understood there’s 20,000 odd single-child families that will now be worse off – but that’s the reality. ” 

No it’s not.

Getting something more, even if it is less than someone else is not losing.

[Finance Minister Steven] Joyce said those families still saw an overall gain, and Labour was failing to see the bigger picture. 

“The abatement changes mean they don’t get as much from the Working for Families part of the package, but they gain more from other parts of the package, in particular the tax changes. They may also in some cases gain from the Accommodation Supplement Changes.

“It’s important to note that these people are already receiving Working for Families so currently get more than couples with no children who don’t get anything from Working for Families. They continue to get more until the Working For Families is fully abated,” he said. 

“One of the aims of the Family Incomes package is to focus Working for Families on lower income families and that middle income families are less dependent on Working for Families and keep more of what they earn through the tax system. This is an example of that occurring.” . . 

It is better and more efficient to allow people to keep more of what they earn than take more in tax, churn it through a bureaucracy and give some back.

Over at Kiwiblog, David Farrar points out that Labour is also lying about health expenditure:

. . . Now let’s look at what at what Vote Health has done between 2008 and Budget 2017.

  • Nominal Vote Health – increased by $4.85 billion a year from $11.92 billion to $16.77 billion – a 40.7% increase
  • Real Vote Health – increased by $3.00 billion a year from $13.77 billion to $16.77 billion – a 21.8% increase
  • Real Vote Health per capita – increased by $341 a year from $3,233 to $3,574 – a 10.5% increase

You can claim it is not enough. You can claim more is needed. You can claim growing elderly population needs more funding. But you cannot claim it has been cut. That is a lie. . . 

When you’re lying, you’re losing and Labour is.

If it can’t convince other Opposition parties to stay with it against the government, how will it convince voters to let it run the country?

 

 


Rad Dad PM without politics

May 20, 2017

Rad Dads’s opens its series on fathers talking about fatherhood with Prime Minister Bill English:

Will Fleming and Greg Buckley kick into the first RadDads episode to talk with Prime Minister Bill English not about politics, but about being a dad.

The politician reveals he is a pro with a cloth nappy and a safety pin, having changed nappies for about 15 years. “I am really good at it.”

In the days before disposables were as widely used as they are now, folding nappies and changing them without sticking the pin into the baby were an art.

Separating politics and family is important for English. “I’ve always gone home for tea from The Beehive, I’ve never eaten at The Beehive… I don’t do much of the cocktail stuff…. but I want to be home.”

At home he leaves politics at the door “When I’m at home it’s not about me it’s about this household and what I can do to support then and help fulfil my role.

“Cleaning up, getting the dishes done, getting the kids to bed… I enjoyed the work of being busy in a family.”

As a father of six children he says his best piece of advice to new dads is savour the moment of the baby’s birth.

“Keep that moment. You get to hold the baby and the mother is there and it’s an experience you can’t prepare for. There’s going to be so many times when this looks hard and it is, so keep that moment.”

The video on the link above has more.

 


Whole World

May 14, 2017

 whole world StoryPeople print by Brian Andreas

Mums come in all shapes & sizes, but they’re pretty easy to recognize because they’re the ones who teach you stuff all the time about how to be in the world & sometimes that sounds a lot like: chew with your mouth closed, sit still. stand up straight, be polite, Look them in the eye. & sometimes it seems like that sort of thing doesn’t add up to a whole lot. Until the day you feel the soft ache of love in your heart that makes you take care with a friend who hurts or when you look in a stranger’s tired eyes & you stop & smile. Or when you listen to the ABC song for the thousandth time & you laugh & say ‘again’ & suddenly you understand that is the real thing mums do & it adds up to the whole world. – Whole World  © 2014 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can buy books, posters, cards, ornaments and more and sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by email at Story People.


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