Do the bullies drink milk, eat ice cream?

May 24, 2017

The increasingly strident anti-dairy campaigns are hitting dairy farmers’ children:

Children of dairy farmers are being bullied at school, just because of the work their parents do.

This was revealed by DairyNZ director Ben Allomes, speaking at a dairy farmers’ forum in Manawatu recently.

Allomes says such behaviour is terrible, and it seems the campaign against dairying is being ramped up as the September election draws near.

Dairy farmers are becoming very sensitive to criticism and feel ‘got at’ by the mainstream media, he says.

“When we start hearing more of the negative media stories it impacts more on us and we are more critical of ourselves and more aware of the impact.

“When you read and hear nothing but negative media stories it brings you down and you are more sensitive to it.

“Farmers get out of bed to do their best for their family and the rest of their country but then get cut to pieces. It isn’t pleasant… especially for kids at school being bullied.” . . 

Do the children bullying dairy farmers’ children drink milk, eat cheese, ice cream or yoghurt?

Do the adults who swallow the anti-dairying messages eat dairy products and do they realise how much poorer the country would be and how much less there would be to spend on social services and infrastructure if it wasn’t for the billions of dollars in foreign exchange which dairying earns?

The economic contribution doesn’t excuse poor environmental practices.

But contrary to too much of the media coverage, most farmers are not environmental vandals and are working very hard to ensure are farming sustainably and, especially, that they are looking after water ways.


Good result for good man

May 10, 2017

Whanganui MP, Chester Burrows has been found not guilty of careless driving.

The case related to an incident in which two women were injured during an anti-Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) protest in Whanganui in March last year. . . 

In her decision, Judge Stephanie Edwards said there was no contention about whether or not Mr Borrows’ vehicle had come into contact with the women involved but the onus was on the Crown to prove he had been careless in doing so.

She said it was clear from the video evidence that the car never came to a complete halt but she accepted the MP’s evidence that he was aware of the people in front of him.

“He was prepared to stop if the police directed him to do so and he would’ve stopped if he had thought the safety of the protesters was at risk.” . . 

“What I knew at the time [was that] there had been threats made and … there was a protest going on outside and blocking our passageway.”

He said, at the time of the protest, he had perceived the threats to include a woman with a baton-sized wooden flagstaff.

There had also been a prior run-in with protesters and one of them climbed on his car, he said.

“I’m not a delicate wee flower and I don’t take offence easily and I wasn’t panicking, I knew exactly what I was doing and what my role and responsibility was.” . . .

He is a former police officer and that training influenced his actions:

. . . He said he feathered the brakes and was ready to stop at any point if he felt he needed to.

The driving was similar to what he did at similar incidents during his 24-year police career, he said. . .

The not guilty verdict is a good result for a good man.

He was driving slowly and carefully in the face of threats, real or perceived, from protesters who, from what I’ve seen in video footage, appeared to put their protest before their own safety.

In New Zealand, unlike most other countries, people have very ready access to MPs. That shouldn’t  extend to using protest to impede their movements.

People have a right to protest but not in a way that infringes the rights of other people, politicians or not, to go about their business, nor in a way that endangers themselves or others.


Plus ça change

May 8, 2017

Yesterday’s history post included a reference to anti-Chinese hysteria in Dunedin in 1888:

A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants. . . 

As work on the goldfields became harder to find, anti-Chinese prejudice resurfaced. Some spoke of a conspiracy to overrun the colony with ‘Coolie-slaves’ who were ‘ignorant, slavish, and treacherous’. Canada and Australia had imposed entry taxes on Chinese immigrants and New Zealand followed suit via the Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881. A poll tax of £10 (equivalent to $1650 today) was introduced and ships arriving in New Zealand were restricted to one Chinese passenger per 10 tons of cargo. . . 

Fast forward 109 years. Immigrants in general and Chinese in particular are once more being used as political scapegoats by vote-hungry desperates.


Quote of the day

May 6, 2017

But the difference between a good film and real life is that in real life there’s the next day, the next year, the next lifetime to contemplate the ruinous consequences of easy applause.Tony Blair who celebrates his 64th birthday today.


Can’t run party, can’t run country

May 2, 2017

The release of a party list ought to be a well managed positive PR opportunity.

Labour’s was not.

The seeds of trouble were planted months ago with rumbling’s over leader Andrew Little’s promise of a winnable list position for Willie Jackson.

Another trouble sprouted a few days ago when sitting list MP Sue Maroney announced she would stand down at the election because she wouldn’t have a winnable list position.

This confirms my contention that Labour’s anti-employer sentiments are based on its own mishandling of its people.

On the heels of Maroney’s announcement, the release of the list was delayed because Jackson had a tantrum.

This raises more questions about Little’s judgement and leadership.

Ironically Jackson’s chances of winning will increase if Labour’s sitting MPs in Maori Electorates, who chose not to be on the list, lose their seats to the Maori or Mana Parties.

 Barry Soper sums it up:

 . . .The first public fallout from the current Labour list preparation was the paid parental leave campaigner, 12 year veteran MP Sue Moroney who was a Cunliffe supporter, who said she’d lost the support of the party’s ruling council who’d given her an unelectable position so she’s quitting.

One would have thought before Labour made public when it’d be announcing its list, it would have ironed out those who could have been disgruntled with it. Yet again they’re spilling their guts in public, being forced to delay their announcement until this morning to give them time to either placate Jackson or to send him up the political creek without his waka. . .

The list release debacle reflects poorly on Little and shows Labour still can’t run itself.

If it can’t be trusted to do that it can’t be trusted to run the county.


Schools can’t teach everything

April 20, 2017

Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata is right – schools can’t teach everything:

Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata says a push for schools to cover all civic and social responsibilities needs to be resisted – saying families and society must step up.

Parata highlighted the issue during an exit interview with the Herald before she steps down from the role on May 1, with Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye expected to take over.

“We should demand a lot from our education system because we have a quality one. But we shouldn’t demand everything,” Parata said.

“Financial literacy, sex education, bullying – any number of issues – whenever they emerge in the public domain the first response is, ‘This should be taught by schools’. I think there needs to be a much fairer shared responsibility here between parents, family, whanau.

“Schools are there to deliver an education. They are not there to take over all the roles and responsibilities of families or society. The more there is balance in those expectations the more the schools can have the space to be the best that it can be.” . . 

A lot of what is called educational failure is parental and societal failure.

Teachers can’t be held responsible for children who don’t have the foundation skills for learning when they start school.

Children who don’t have the language and behaviour skills and other basic requirements for learning by age five are at a significant disadvantage which the best of teachers will struggle to overcome.

Giving children the love, attention and helping them master the skills they need before they start school is the responsibility of parents.

Not all parents have the ability and/or will to nurture their children, to teach them all they need to ensure they’re school-ready, and to support and supplement their education once they’re at school.

That is a failure of both parenting and society, not schools.


Loo lessons

April 11, 2017

“There’s a lot of lessons in cleaning toilets, more guys should do it. “

This is part of Prime Minister Bill English’s answer to one of 12 questions posed by Jennifer Dann.

The question was on how do he and his wife Mary juggle their work and family life.

That they do, and do it so well, is a tribute to both of them. Although being public about it doesn’t come naturally to either of them.

Modern politics and media force politicians to reveal more about themselves than was expected in the past, which isn’t easy for someone like the PM who admits to being shy.

I’m quite a shy person. I guess it’s part of that rural, big family, Catholic culture that I’m from which tends to dampen excessive self-awareness. It’s just, “Be humble. Don’t go out there telling everyone how great you are. Someone else is probably doing it better anyway.” But I’m enjoying it more than I expected.

But showing more of the person engages people who aren’t interested in politics.

Answers like this, to the question of what he’s learned from his Samoan and Italian parents-in-law helps us understand what informs his politics.

They’re a remarkable example of the promise of coming to New Zealand being realised. They raised 13 children on one income and own their own home. They had a very strong focus on their kids getting educated and maintaining their health which is a challenge in a large family on a low income.

I have enormous respect for their effort and I’m so pleased I’ve had exposure to different cultures which I wouldn’t have had as a Pakeha farmer from Southland.

His upbringing is also an important part of who he is.

He says growing up in a family of 12 children on a Southland farm was:

A mixture of discipline, hard work and adventure. We were expected to contribute to the farm and the household to the maximum of our ability at whatever age. When I was 10 I was sent out to plough our paddock on the tractor with very little instruction. At age 12 I cooked breakfast for 20 people when the shearers came up for breakfast. It was pretty basic, eggs cooked fast in hot fat. The sibling rivalry was constant. I was part of a mob of five boys at the tail end. As long as you stayed in your place it was trouble-free. I did better at school than some of them but it wasn’t like you were allowed to stay home and read books. It was a household where other skills were highly valued. You might get the best grades but were you the fastest shearer or the best fencer? My father said we were more nuggety than talented.

Family is a big part of who our PM is, so is his faith:

My faith is a significant part of who I am so it can’t help but affect my personal decision-making. It’s part of your conscience. I go to church most Sundays. I like sitting down the back as just another congregation member. You hear ideas around humility, forgiveness and mercy which are not part of the general political round. I find it very balancing.

Humility, forgiveness and mercy aren’t values often attributed to politicians and most Prime Ministers don’t clean the loos at night. But he’s a better man, and PM, for all of that.


%d bloggers like this: