Rural round-up

November 22, 2019

Jane Smith on what urban people really think about farmers:

Although the Government may be “factose intolerant” when it comes to farming, urban people are hungry for more information says Jane Smith.

The North Otago farmer told The Country’s Jamie Mackay that she had “some really robust conversations with urbanites” in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown recently.

“I’ve in effect sort of run my own referendum of what they really think about farmers and gosh, it’s been really insightful”. . .

Farmers fear significant losses – Toni Miller:

As farmers anxiously await the outcome of the Government’s Essential Freshwater plan, Ashburton farmer David Clark has outlined the significant losses it could have on his arable farm operation.

It includes crop income losses of 92%, sheep gross income losses of 62% and an expenditure decrease of 70%, affecting businesses, contractors and services in the district used by the farm.

He questioned how any government could suggest a plan that resulted in ”such economic vandalism”.

Mr Clark, attending a public meeting in Ashburton, organised by National Party opposition agricultural spokesman Todd Muller, said it was a comparative analysis based on a report done by Environment Canterbury’s head scientist Dr Tim Davie in 2017, using similar cutbacks for the Waihora Selwyn Zone. . .

Farmers fear loss of millions as slip repair wait continues – Aaron van Delden:

Waikura Valley farmers face missing out on millions in income during one of their most lucrative seasons of the year following a road slip three months ago.

Access to about 9000 hectares of some of the country’s most isolated productive land – about four hours’ drive north of Gisborne – was completely severed for several days when a slip came down on Waikura Road about 15km from the turnoff on State Highway 35.

The slip on 22 August left 36 valley residents from 13 households stranded in a part of the country that averages up to 3m of rain a year. . .

OAD milking brings environmental, financial benefits – Yvonne O’Hara:

Milking once a day year-round has both environmental and financial benefits, Dipton dairy farmer Jim Andrew says.

Mr Andrew and his wife Sandra bought and converted the Lumsden-Dipton highway property specifically for once-a-day milking full time, about 10 years ago.

He was born and bred on a Wairarapa sheep and beef farm before moving to Southland to become a rural manager for the Bank of New Zealand.

The Andrews then bought their own farm as part of a syndicate before buying the Dipton property. . .

Apple industry changes prompt some growers to get environmentally creative with plastic waste:

Significant growth and redevelopment in the apple industry has prompted some growers to get environmentally creative with the way they dispose of kilometres of plastic irrigation pipes.

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, Bostock New Zealand, pulled out 80 kilometres of irrigation pipes during winter and has teamed up with Aotearoa New Zealand Made to recycle it into black damp-proof film for the building Industry and black rubbish bags.

Bostock New Zealand Orchard waste coordinator Lisa Arnold said the initiative is a good way to give a new meaningful life to orchard waste. . .

Promising signs for drive for milling wheat self-sufficiency:

A big drop in the amount of unsold cereal grain since July, and continuing strong demand for milling wheat, are key features of the latest Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI) survey.

It is estimated unsold stocks of cereal grain, summed over all six crops, reduced by 44% between 1 July and 10 October.  “That’s a good sign, even if deliveries hadn’t happened by the time of the October survey, that people have been meeting the market and getting product sold,” Federated Farmers Arable Vice-Chairperson Grains, Brian Leadley, said.

Total production from the 2019 harvest (wheat, barley and oats) was 799,900 tonnes, about 25,000t up on the 2018 harvest. . .


Rural round-up

November 9, 2019

Why are farmers treated differently?:

For all the protestations of affection and respect, dairy farmers seem to be in a class of their own when it comes to the non-negotiability of their environmental responsibilities.

That was made very clear once again last week when the Ministry for Primary Industries announced that it would not be prosecuting anyone over the deaths of potentially hundreds of long-finned eels, which were removed from their habitat and dumped by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council workers. The dead and dying eels were discovered by a Napier resident, encased in tonnes of mud that had been dumped on the banks of the Moteo River in February. A video that went viral on Facebook prompted the MPI to investigate, and the council downed tools while it undertook its own review.

Eight months later the MPI said it had insufficient evidence to charge anyone. . .

Zero Carbon Bill a mixed bag for farmers:

DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle is describing the Zero Carbon Bill as a ‘mixed bag’ for farmers, while urging all political parties to work together to find consensus on a pathway forward.

“The agricultural sector has engaged positively and constructively in this process over the past 18 months to help craft a piece of legislation that is both consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway and fair for farmers” Dr Mackle said.

“We support the key architecture in the Bill. This includes the establishment of an Independent Climate Change Commission, carbon budgeting and, in particular, a split gas approach that recognises methane is different to other greenhouse gasses”.

The key point of contention remains the methane reduction targets. . .

Farm moves cut gas and nitrates – Richard Rennie:

On-Farm solutions to lower nitrates and, by default, nitrous oxide gases are also a good way to ensure farming holds up to public scrutiny, farm environment consultant Alison Dewes says.

There is a strong social-licence angle in pursuing environmental efforts on water quality and greenhouse gases.

Farmers being seen to be making efforts across both areas will only aid farming’s continuing acceptability to society, regardless of the science dynamic.

“It really has to pass the front page test now,” Dewes said.  . . 

Family tradition reflected in win – Yvonne O’Hara:

Julie Skedgwell, (16), of Tuatapere, got a hug from her mum and a dinner out after becoming reserve champion in a national dairy judging competition in Hastings recently – despite being extremely nervous.

The James Hargest College pupil is a fourth generation Jersey stud breeder, with her own stud, the Mount Brook Stud.

Sister Alannah (17) also has her own Elms Lake Stud.

Julie and farm worker Lisa Bonenkamp (22) who works for Waikaka Genetics, near Gore, represented the New Zealand Royal Agricultural Society’s southern district at the New Zealand Royal A&P Show, hosted by the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society in Hastings on October 23 to 25. . .

Alex Malcolm: The 9-year-old on a mission to eradicate catfishLeah Tebbutt:

Pesky catfish have grown to record numbers in Rotorua lakes over the past two years but one 9-year-old is making a record number of catches.

Alex Malcolm has been hunting the whiskered fish since “the end of term one” and can tell you the exact number he has caught over the short space of time.

“556,” he said with a grin wider than a Cheshire Cat.

“I’m not giving it up anytime soon because it is something I can do in my own time. I like being out on the lake.” . .

“Plants good, meat bad” is too simplistic when tackling climate change – Hannah Thomas-Peter:

Last week I wrote about the environmental impact of the global meat and dairy industries. It made quite a few people cross, particularly British farmers, who felt unfairly maligned.

National Farmers’ Union Vice President Stuart Roberts asked if we could have a conversation about it all, and so that’s what we did. He made a series of illuminating points, and our exchange left me with a lot of questions about the nature of fairness and competition under the pressure of the climate crisis.

Mr Roberts started with a broad argument: “People have drawn this conclusion that meat is bad, plants are good, and therefore we should all stop eating meat. It over simplifies a tremendously complicated issue.” . . 


Ice cream does make me happy

November 8, 2019

Does ice cream make you happy?

The Free Speech Coalition says it is crazy overreach by the Advertising Standards Authority to order a take down of an ice cream sign that includes the apparently irresponsible claim that “ice cream makes you happy”. 

Free Speech Coalition spokesman Stephen Franks says, “Talk about creaming it. These clipboard zealots are surely whipping up work if this is what they need to focus on. The Advertising Standards Authority is supposed to be about protecting consumers about misleading claims – not moral pontification about issues such as ice cream waist lines and Kiwi summer quenchers.”

“These people’s head will explode when they read the byline on Red Bull ads. But with today’s nutty decision, most Kiwis would probably cheer at that.”

Rights of free speech should be no less assured just because it is ‘commercial speech’. It is reassuring that the Advertising Standards Board is presently not a government authority. But its moralising is still adding to threats to traditional freedoms.”

Streets which makes the ice cream the sign advertises said:

. . .the statement “ice cream makes you happy” was a “puffery” statement — an “exaggerated, fanciful or vague statement that no reasonable person could possibly treat seriously or find misleading”. . .

I beg to differ, it isn’t fanciful.

Ice cream was a constant of my childhood Sundays.

My mother beat the unsweetened condensed milk until it was thick and creamy, added sugar then slowly beat in gelatine before pouring the mixture into two trays and put them into the freezer before we went to church.

Bought ice cream for dessert was a very occasional treat.

Cone ice creams were almost as infrequent – bought at half time when we went to the pictures or when we stopped at Evensdale for petrol on the way to visit family in Dunedin.

My favourite was hokey pokey and I perfected licking it slowly enough to last the half hour or so to the city.

When we were children we were sometimes offered ice cream or sweets, but not both.

I suspect that is why I now favour goody gumdrops, which is ice cream with sweets.

But whatever the flavour, a cold one on a hot day; a scoop or two accompanying berries or stone fruit for summer dessert or cooling winter puddings like apple crumble and chocolate sinker; or just when I feel like a treat, ice cream hits my happy spot.

I’m not suggesting that it could treat a mental illness, nor do I agree with the complainant who said that “ice cream makes you happy” promoted an unhealthy relationship with food.

A little of what I fancy now and then does make me happy and at times what I fancy is ice cream.

So too do most others who reacted to the Stuff survey:

The grinch who complained needs to take a chill pill, or better still a a scoop or two of ice cream, preferably in a cone because it really does taste better when licked than spooned.


Thugs’ veto wins again

October 17, 2019

Massey University hasn’t learned from the Don Brash deplatforming debacle:

Massey University has advised Speak Up For Women to find an alternative venue for its Feminism 2020 event. The University has received external advice on its health, safety and wellbeing obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and its duty of care to the University community, and has made the decision on these grounds.

The legal advice we have received is that cancellation of the event, as concluded by the report, is the only way to eliminate the risk to health and safety and to ensure that the University would not be in breach of its health and safety obligations.

Massey University is committed to the values of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of expression, as values that lie at the very heart of the tradition of a university and academic inquiry. However, this event has created significant disruption to our students, staff and University operations, and we cannot accept any further risk or issues, or any risk of potential harm that may impact upon a particularly vulnerable community.

When health and safety is used as an excuse, it’s the thugs’ veto winning again.

Who’s Speak Up for Women?

Speak Up For Women is a diverse group of ordinary New Zealanders who initially came together to campaign against the sex self-ID amendment being pushed through as part of the BDMRR Bill.

We found each other on social media, at political party events, through our work, and through friends.

We began with a shared concern about the impact of transgender politics (including self-ID) on the rights of women and girls, but now realise that there is no one advocating for women across the board. Traditional women’s groups now focus heavily on gender identity and what is left is a void of services and advocates for women. . .

A lot of people will share these concerns.

Some might be threatened by this but the answer is to use logic and facts provide a counter-argument, not to use the thugs’ veto to shut down those espousing them.

A media release from Melissa Derby who was to speak at the event says:

In September, Massey said it would host the Feminism 2020 despite objections, and that it was ‘committed to free speech as a fundamental tenet of a university’. It looked like Massey had learned from the public backlash against its cancellation of last year’s event with Don Brash.”

“Yet, as of today, Massey has shut down the event, seemingly due to pressure from a vocal group of activists. Today’s announcement reveals the University’s true position is one of absolute weakness. Massey says it values free speech while its actions prove the opposite.”

“Not only has the University refused to uphold its stated commitment to free speech, it is being deliberately vague about its reasoning. Massey cites health and safety concerns, but it’s completely unclear whether this refers to threats of protest, or concern over ‘harmful’ speech. This is the most feeble use of a ‘health and safety’ excuse we’ve seen at a university yet.”

“Whoever thought we’d see the day when feminism is on the banned list at a New Zealand University? Ironically, I was going to speak at this event on the dangers of identity politics and the need for people to talk to one another.”

“If a University’s default response to ‘any risk of potential harm’ is the cancellation of speech, then it ought to shut up shop. Universities have traditionally been a space for free expression, protest, and the contest of ideas. Massey has disgraced this tradition.”

A woman who planned to speak on the need for people to talk to one another, has been deplatformed by threats from people too scared to hear what she has to say.

 

 


Country’s going to town

October 11, 2019

50 Shades of Green says rural New Zealand has had a gutsful and is calling for the country to go to Wellington:

Conservation Group 50 Shades of Green is organising a provincial get-together in Wellington.

Chair, Andy Scott said the conservation group’s message needed to be told to a larger audience.

“The blanket planting of good farmland has reached crisis proportions. Add to that the water proposals, land use changes and the consistent campaign against rural businesses, we have a problem,” Andy Scott said.

“We’ll be telling our story to a city audience by coming to Wellington. The politicians aren’t listening to us so hopefully the general voters will.

“The meeting will be at 11am on Thursday 14th of November before marching to Parliament arriving at 1pm.

It isn’t just farmers coming to town but representatives of all of provincial NZ from farmers to bankers, stock agents to rural advocacy groups and suppliers though to real estate representatives.

“We’re expecting a good turnout of people from the provinces,” Andy Scott said.

All  50 Shades is asking for is a fair go :

OUR PURPOSE: To demonstrate and communicate that we will not be ridden over roughshod by a political agenda which shows no regard for genuine community wellbeing or genuine democratic consultation. The rural sector is being excluded from critical policy making decisions at the same time that anti farming lobbyists are being ushered in. We are calling the Government out. We deserve a level playing field and a fair go.

A FAIR GO. That’s all NZ Farming communities are asking for.

We are the men and women who grow your food. We work in the rain, sun, snow and wind to take care of this land, our animals and families.

We ask for a fair go on Emissions (Net ZCB) – We own land, which is  home to hundreds of thousands, even millions of trees and yet our emissions reductions targets are unnecessarily high and ‘gross’ while other emitters have ‘net’ targets which will be met by planting what remains of our farms and communities in trees. 

We ask for a fair go on Water Regulations.  We are custodians of vast waterways, a role we have embraced over the last 20 years and into which huge investments have been  made.   We were not properly consulted on the Freshwater Reforms.  None of our elected representatives were permitted at the table to provide a voice on our behalf.  Meanwhile environmental lobby groups were ushered in to share in the spoils of an unfettered political agenda. We need local solutions to local problems, and we need to be heard.

We ask for a fair go on Land Use Changes (ETS):  The Government never originally intended to return carbon credits to foresters for carbon sequestration, the forestry industry lobbied for over 6 years to achieve this outcome.  This artificial market for sequestered units will drive escalating afforestation by international and domestic investors at an unprecedented scale should the ‘free market’ be given its head and allowed to bolt onto our hills.  Our Communities are not carbon sinks, our people matter more than that.

We ask a fair go for Mental Health.  The Farmers of New Zealand and their families are being painted as environmental vandals by their own Government. The persistent focus on farming being a ‘problem’ is perpetuating the groundswell of disgusting behaviour targeting farmers and even their children by extremist activists intent on furthering their own agendas. This campaign against rural businesses and their families can not be ignored or worse, given credibility by the Government, or rural families will ultimately pay the price.

A lot of protests alienate people through disruption. 50 Shades is aiming for a more intelligent approach:

PROTEST GENERAL RULES: We are there to elevate our voices and present our concerns.  Please remember we are representing more than ourselves, we request respectful behaviour at all times.

They also have guidelines for signs:

Be creative with your signs, here’s some tips for effective sign creation:

    1. Have a clear message
    2. Use humour and wit
    3. Keep it simple
    4. Remember that presentation matters
    5. Be passionate
    6. No personal attacks 

And they’ve provided some good examples:

Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 1 Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 2
 Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 3  Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 4
 Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 5 Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 6
Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 7  >Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 8
  Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 9  Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 10  
Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 11  Save Our Farms (Protest Walk) 12
The gathering will start in Civic Square at 11am on Thursday November 14th.

The expression going to town means doing something enthusiastically or intensely.

The depth of feeling in rural New Zealand at the moment should ensure both feelings are well illustrated.


Word of the day

October 6, 2019

Aesculapian – relating to physicians or medicine; a qualified practitioner of medicine; a physician.


Morals prompt NZ First’s president’s resignation

October 4, 2019

Morals were the reason behind the sudden resignation of NZ First president Lester Gray:

New Zealand First party president Lester Gray has quit the party, citing his refusal to sign off financial reports for ‘moral’ reasons. 

A resignation letter reveals Gray took his stand against signing the party’s 2019 reports with a claim he has been kept in the dark over party expenditure and donations, leaving him unable to put his name to them with confidence. . .

In Gray’s resignation letter, obtained by Stuff, he raises issues around communication with senior party officials and uncertainty over financial dealings.

“I refuse to sign off the 2019 Financial Reports with the information I have been provided,” he wrote.

“As President, the limited exposure I have had to Party donations and expenditure leaves me in a vulnerable position.

“This type of operation does not align with my moral and business practice values, and I am therefore not able to support the Party any longer.”

Gray also stated there was “insufficient communication and support from senior members of the Party for me to effectively function as the President“. . .

Is anyone surprised?

A friend with shares in a race horse received a letter before the last election seeking a contribution towards a generous donation to New Zealand First.

Was any donation like this, or from fishing and forestry interests which benefit from its policies, declared? No, and time after time, this party is the only one in parliament that never declares any sizable donations.

It isn’t so much a party as a principality presided over by Winston Peters whose word is law.

NZ First presents an ongoing risk to our reputation for openness, transparency and, relatively, low rates of corruption.

It is a carbuncle on the hide of democracy. Dare we hope that this news might prompt someone to lance it?


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