Quote of the day

November 27, 2017

 All travel is, after all, a journey in time & in mind…. physical landscapes are a mirror of, or perhaps a key into, our inner landscape. ―  John McCarthy who celebrates his 59th birthday today.

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Word of the day

November 26, 2017

Rimi – a strip, stripe of bar of light most often that seen above the horizon at down or dusk.


Rural round-up

November 24, 2017

NZ food shortages in 5 years – report – Pam Tipa:

New Zealand has no food security policy and will be short of some foods within five years, says a Horticulture NZ report on domestic vegetable production.

“We complacently believe we will always be able to sustainably grow enough food to feed ourselves and contribute to the country’s economic wellbeing,” the report says.

“However with prime production land being lost, climate change, competition for water resources, extreme weather events and the constant threat of pests and disease we must turn our minds to food security issues for the future of NZ’s domestic production.” . . 

Young Farmers search for talent – Tim Fulton:

Young Farmers is re-inventing itself as an agency for talent attraction from schools, helping farming to compete for staff in towns and cities.

The organisation was pitching for funding from industry groups and corporates to inject more farming-based curriculum into the education system.

The project would cost $1.5m, chief executive Terry Copeland said.

Once in place Young Farmers staff would manage the relationship with schools and commercial backers of the project like a sales account, he said. . .

Sweet success in manuka honey – Peter Burke:

Manuka honey could long term earn more money for a central North Island Maori trust than its sheep and beef farming operation.

Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, whose large land holdings range from the central North Island to the Whanganui River, is planting manuka on steep country largely unsuitable, or less productive, for sheep and beef.

Chief executive Andrew Beijeman says they are also letting land, which is naturally reverting back to manuka. . .

Possums sorted – look out Omaui rats – Kate Guthrie:

A few years back, John Collins of Omaui got sick of shooting possums every night. He decided more needed to be done.

Omaui is a small village of about 30 houses in Southland, located right at the mouth of the Oreti River estuary, opposite Oreti Beach.

“I’ve always been environment-minded,” says John, who is now Chairman of the Omaui Landcare Group, “But until I came to Omaui I’d never settled in a place where that feeling for the environment came out. . .

IrrigationNZ back to help improve irrigation management:

IrrigationNZ will be back on farms this summer testing irrigation systems and helping farmers improve the efficiency of their irrigation.

Last summer, IrrigationNZ in partnership with Environment Canterbury, developed a new testing programme which saw 131 Ashburton farms have their irrigation systems tested to see how they were performing.

Over the next three months, IrrigationNZ will be testing irrigation systems in Selwyn district. As part of the testing process, farmers and farm staff are also interviewed to find out how they manage their irrigation systems. . . 

Can we sustainably meet the growing demand for meat in developing countries?—Yes, says Louise Fresco – Susan MacMillan:

The following argument for continuing to use livestock to use the planet’s full ecological potential is made by Louise Fresco, a Dutch writer and food and agricultural scientist specializing in sustainable tropical agriculture. President of the executive board of Wageningen University and Research, Fresco is a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors and holds many other distinguished appointments and honours.

Fresco says that the short answer to the question of whether livestock production can meet the growing demand for meat in developing countries is ‘yes’.

‘Livestock production cannot only meet the growing demand for animal proteins, but we absolutely need livestock to use the planet in a sustainable and healthy way. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 21, 2017

Wool gains ‘dream come true’ – Sally Rae:

Watching the volume of wool growing for Lanaco’s healthcare products and seeing lambs being born from specifically bred genetics is a ‘‘dream come true’’ for Nick Davenport.

Mr Davenport is chief executive and founder of the Auckland-based company, previously known as Texus  Fibre, which specialises in fibre innovation and developing functional materials derived from wool.

Wool from sheep developed by Wanaka man Andy Ramsden, from the Dohne, Cheviot and Finn breeds, and trademarked as the Astino breed, is used in healthcare products. . . 

Family’s top two places a show first – Sally Rae:

‘‘Not a bad show’’ is how Will Gibson dryly describes his family’s record-setting feats at last week’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch.The Gibson family, from Middlemarch, won the prestigious Senior Meat and Wool Cup with their yearling supreme champion Hereford bull and were runners-up with their 2-year-old Santa Gertrudis cow with calf at foot.

It was the first time in the show’s history the same exhibitor has won the top two placings and it was well-deserved recognition for a family who work hard, are passionate about their livestock and also about exhibiting at A&P shows.

The yearling bull Foulden Hill Mustang was unbeaten in his classes over the two days, both in the Hereford and all-breeds classes, and he also won the Junior Meat and Wool Cup. . . 

Alternative proteins – on the verge of  mainstream:

Alternative proteins are on the verge of becoming mainstream and ‘stealing’ growth from traditional meat products as they play a growing role in meeting consumer needs and preferences, according to a recently-released global research paper.

The report, Watch out…or they will steal your growth by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, examines why alternative proteins – including plant-based meat substitutes, emerging insect or algae-based products and lab-grown meat products – are starting to successfully compete for the “centre of the plate”.

Report author, Rabobank global sector strategist for Animal Protein Justin Sherrard, says it is the ‘growth’ – rather than the current market size – of alternative proteins that is of greatest significance. . . 

Predator Free farm award:

Farmers will be recognised for their part in the nationwide movement of Predator Free New Zealand when a new Predator Free Farm Award will be presented next year as part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Sponsored by Predator Free NZ Trust and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the new award will acknowledge the efforts of farmers who have put in place systems to effectively manage and monitor predators including possums, rats, feral cats, ferrets, weasels and stoats.

The award will be given to farmers who have been successful in controlling predators and are likely to have wider native biodiversity and habitat enhancement programmes in place.

Chair of Predator Free NZ Trust, Sir Rob Fenwick, said “farmers manage a significant proportion of the New Zealand landscape so they are vital in the drive to make New Zealand predator free.” . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand extends its support of B+LNZ Genetics:

After four years of operation and a series of successful milestones, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has extended its support of wholly-owned subsidiary B+LNZ Genetics beyond its initial five-year funding programme.

B+LNZ Genetics was established in 2013 to consolidate farmer investment in New Zealand’s sheep and beef genetics research and innovation into a single entity. Its programme was forecast to generate $742m of benefits over 10 years, but that figure has since been reviewed upwards, to $947m, or $7,890 per annum per sheep and beef farm. With rising costs this helps keep farmers competitive. . . 

Butter at record $5.67 a block :

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017.

Butter prices led the way again – up 62 percent from the same time last year. Milk and cheese prices also increased (up 7.5 and 12 percent respectively) and had large contributions to the increase in food prices seen in the year to October 2017.

“Dairy products are very widely used inputs in a number of food items,” consumers price index manager Matthew Haigh said. “The effects of price rises flow on to products such as takeaway biscuits, buns, cakes and coffee, and eating out for lunch and dinner, all of which saw increases in the year to October 2017.” . . 

Global Dairy Platform announces new chairman:

Global Dairy Platform (GDP) has appointed Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Theo Spierings, as GDP chairman, effective November 16, 2017.

Mr. Spierings says he is pleased to be taking on the role and playing a part in maximizing the contribution dairy can make to the world.

“More than ever, people are turning to dairy for nutritional security and sustainable food and every day we see the good that dairy can do. . . 

 


National Ag Day needed here too

November 21, 2017

It’s National Agriculture Day in Australia where the rural urban divide is widening:

The traditional divide between city slickers and their country cousins has turned into a yawning chasm, with 83 per cent of Australians convinced agriculture and farming have no or little relevance to their lives.

A new survey commissioned for the first National Agriculture Day tomorrow also found only 4 per cent of Australians correctly identified agriculture as the fastest-growing sector of the Australian economy, while fewer than half had met or talked to a farmer in the past year.

The National Farmers Federation, which commissioned the survey, believes it proves an urgent need for agriculture to promoted nationally as an exciting, hi-tech industry vital to Australia’s economic future, to reverse the misperception it is a dull, outdated sector of the past.

NFF president Fiona Simson said few Australians are aware that the nation’s once-quiet agricultural sector is now producing more than $64 billion of food and fibre products annually, provides 1.6 million Australians with jobs, grew at a phenomenal rate of 23 per cent last year and single-handedly prevented the economy from reversing into recession over the previous two quarters.

“This is an industry that is powering ahead and which was the largest contributor to national economic (GDP) growth in the last two quarters, but no one in the cities knows that any more,” Ms Simson lamented yesterday.

“In the old days, everyone knew a farmer and understood what farmers did and where their food came from, but city people are now so geographically distant and disconnected from the broader agriculture and food industries, that all that understanding and interest has been lost.”

It doesn’t help that increasing urbanisation means fewer people in the media understand farming and wider rural issues, nor that this has allowed the radical green movement to dominate the debate with arguments based on emotion rather than science.

The 2016 census revealed that 49 per cent of Australians today were either born overseas or have foreign-born parents, while 70 per cent live in the eight capital cities.

The number of farmers has also shrunk from 320,000 to fewer than 90,000 in the past 35 years according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the country-to-city population drift and the nation’s urbanisation has continued unabated. . . 

Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said there was no more important industry than agriculture, and National Agriculture Day was a time for all Australians to acknowledge and thank generations of farming families.

“Our nation’s farmers, and agricultural and food sector workers and businesses, do so much more than simply keeping us fed; they are international leaders, stewards of Australia’s landscape and environment and produce some of the best food on the planet that feeds 60 million people around the world,” Senator Ruston said.

“The Aussie farmer has made Australia the lucky country.”

The importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy is very unusual in a developed country but the contribution is often undervalued.

Is it time we had a National Agriculture Day too?


Hamish Walker’s maiden speech

November 15, 2017

Hamish Walker, Clutha Southland MP delivered his maiden speech yesterday.

Mr Speaker, it is the greatest privilege to be standing before you today as a Member of Parliament, elected by the people of Clutha-Southland, to represent their views, hopes and dreams for their region and for New Zealand.

People in Clutha-Southland are pioneering, hard-working and community-focused.

The rest of New Zealand can learn a lot from Clutha-Southlanders.

It’s a place where people still look out for each other, people still know each other, and most importantly people still talk to each other whether it be across the fence or in the supermarket aisle.

It’s where I regularly see carefree kids riding their bikes around their neighbourhood, and where local people still rally together to support a good cause.

I intend to be a strong voice in Parliament for Clutha-Southland.

I believe in the core National Party values of strong families, caring communities, personal responsibility, individual freedom and choice.

These values form the basis of my own philosophy.

I was motivated to stand for Parliament by a desire to uphold these values.

I believe the government’s role is to get out of the way and let our people get ahead, and be rewarded for effort.

My experience in life has shown me that it is attitude and hard work that is the key to succeeding.

The Clutha-Southland electorate and previous forms has an extremely proud history of leadership and contribution to New Zealand over the years.

It has included:

The Honourable Adam Hamilton
The Right Honourable Peter Gordon
Sir Brian Talboys
Sir Robin Gray
and of course our Leader and former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Bill English
I want to take this opportunity to thank Bill for his leadership, and to congratulate him on the policy development that he has led throughout his years in Parliament.

His social investment approach to complex social problems and its long term dividends for New Zealand makes him the most gutsy politician of his generation.

I’d also like to acknowledge current Mayors in my region – Jim Boult, Bryan Cadogan, Tracy Hicks, and Gary Tong.

These individuals stitch together the fabric of our Clutha-Southland communities and provide excellent leadership.

I look forward to working with them to progress the interests of our people.

Clutha-Southland doesn’t just produce some great people.

It is one of the most productive regions in New Zealand.

It is the largest general electorate in the country, it runs from just south of Dunedin to the north of Invercargill, and spans from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea.

I have learned that many people in Clutha-Southland are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

You cannot pull the wool over the eyes of a Clutha-Southlander, even if it was grown and shorn there.

It is an honour to represent an area that is part of my heritage and identity.

I am proud of my established family history in Clutha-Southland.

My great, great, great grandfather, John Barr, was a Balclutha businessman who leased the Government ferry across the Clutha river, and built the first store and bakery in the township.

Today, I have family members throughout Clutha-Southland.

My late grandfather, Ronald Walker, often spoke of how it is ultimately up to the individual to determine the path they take in life.

The seeds of working hard and taking personal responsibility for oneself were sown early in my childhood by my grandfather.

He helped put hundreds of Southlanders through university running the Otago University extension program for a number of years and also helped establish the Young Nats in Southland in the 1940s.

And I better not forget to say hello to my nana Ngaire who is watching from Invercargill today.

My urban-raised father Alan, and rural-raised mother Barbara taught me that everyone deserved a chance, and that we all should contribute back to our community.

I’d like to thank my father, who continues to dedicate his life to helping others.

Thank you, Dad.

I’d also like to thank my mother who has sacrificed so much to raise me and my siblings.

Thank you for all that you do Mum.

If you were a taxi driver, you would be a millionaire by now given the fetching and carrying that you have done over the years.

I’m sure you would have done almost as many kilometres in your car 20 years ago as the Clutha-Southland MP at the time.

I respect my urban heritage.

This will hold me accountable to the needs and concerns of the urban areas within the electorate.

Encouraging growth in small towns and responding to the challenges of growth in larger towns will be one of many issues that I face.

I also have an obligation to my rural heritage which will hold me accountable to the needs and concerns of the farming communities within the electorate.

I have many fond memories working on my grandparents farm during my teenage years

Coming from a family with four siblings, I learned early to listen to those around me and to respect their views.

I also learned that working with others achieves more than working independently, a lesson that I have put into practice throughout my life.

I was born and raised in Dunedin and attended Māori Hill Primary School and John McGlashan College.

Like many young people, I wasn’t too interested in learning.

To complicate things, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 14.

Going from leading a normal life to half a dozen injections a day was tough.

I eventually left school early and got a job.

I understand first-hand that some people may not achieve on a typical educational timeline, but they still can succeed in education and contribute to their community.

My early education and health experiences have made me passionate about these areas, especially in regard to our youth.

I didn’t experience typical school success for many reasons.

Perhaps an alternative learning environment may have suited my learning style.

That’s why charter schools are vitally important, and yet another achievement of our previous National-led government.

I was the kid who some might argue, ‘slipped through the cracks’.

But I still managed to experience success, and I want to help ensure youth have meaningful education options with relevance to the real world.

My first role after leaving school was as a commercial fisherman.

I look back on my time as a fisherman with pride.

It was my first real experience of what hard work is all about.

Long hours on the boat were challenging.

I also learned the importance of the primary sector to New Zealand.

It’s important we give these producers every possible chance of success.

In addition to my fishing days, I have worked as a voluntary community patrol member, and later as a Police jailor.

I always had a desire to become a Police Officer, but was unable to apply to Police College because of my diabetes.

This was a huge disappointment for me, but it taught me that when one door closes, another opens and you need to be willing to move on and learn from life’s lessons.

After a few other jobs I decided to study for a degree in accounting.

Instead of incurring a significant amount of debt by taking out a student loan, I decided to work in the mines of Western Australia to save some money.

Six months of hard work allowed me to save enough to pay the fees.

It was during this time I also took up refereeing rugby.

A few years later I made my first class debut which is achieved by less than one per cent of rugby referees.

Rugby refereeing is a lot like life.

To learn, you need to listen.

To succeed, you need to simplify your processes and focus on just one or two key issues that have the greatest effect.

In business, you also need to focus on the one or two things that matter.

Rugby refereeing was the perfect training ground for politics.

Graduating with an accounting degree was also a huge confidence builder for me.

I had come a long way from dropping out of school.

Looking back, I know I wouldn’t have gained the skills I have now if I had gone straight to university from school.

I needed those years to mature.

Since then I have set up, franchised and sold my own business, worked at a big 4 accounting firm and have been a business adviser to others and served on the Boards of the Otago Rugby Union and the local Lotteries Distribution Committee.

As someone who has benefited from our public health system, I am a firm believer in primary care being easily accessible, close to where people live.

Travel times can impact on primary care in rural areas.

Failure to gain early treatment or intervention from primary care providers can add huge costs for the New Zealand taxpayer.

I will fight hard to maintain services in the electorate, and fight for fair funding of rural health.

I first joined the National Party several years ago after advice from John Key to stand in a red seat, cut my teeth and learn.

I have always been inspired by others to do something significant, to make a difference – because life is short.

I was fortunate to have known Jonathan Keogh, who was tragically killed by a repeat drunk driver.

Jono’s legacy inspires me to make a difference and his name will never be forgotten.

I commend Jono’s sister Megan MacPherson and his family for directly helping to change drink-driving laws.

I, like many others, miss Jono and he is often in my thoughts.

There are multiple challenges ahead.

Right now in Clutha-Southland, we should not be cutting off the hands that literally feed us, from farmers in Gore, to hospitality workers in Queenstown.

The government must ensure immigration settings allow business owners in Queenstown and primary producers across Otago and Southland to have the workforce to process goods.

Clutha-Southland has around two per cent of the population and produces over 15 per cent of the country’s GDP.

We need to keep our workers to produce the goods from the region, and to keep the people flowing through our small towns like Lumsden, Lawrence, and Nightcaps.

Our immigrant workforce contributes to our diversity and keeps our towns afloat.

I recently visited a rest home in Tapanui, and asked a 96-year-old gentlemen and Returned Serviceman for advice.

He told me to continue to learn.

Learning indeed is for life, and is life-long.

My biggest hope is to make Clutha-Southland proud of the contributions I can make to our country.

I hope that by taking this gentleman’s advice, I can achieve this.

I promise to listen to my constituents, and I thank them for the advice they have given me to date.

There are many people I’d like to pay tribute to for being in my life, and although I cannot name them all, you know who you are.

I want to thank the people who have enabled me to stand here before you today.

To the more than 1000 Clutha-Southland National Party members, thank you for placing trust and confidence in me.

To Bridgette Smith, Margo Hishon, Rachel Bird, Tim Shiels, Richard Soper and the rest of the executive and campaign team, your dedication to the party is energizing and the sheer distances you have to drive for meetings is remarkable. The electorate is in safe hands in your care.

To Mark Patterson, great to see you here as a List MP.

To Kate Hazlett, Andrew Hunt, Roger Bridge, Alastair Bell, president Peter Goodfellow and the rest of the regional executive and National Party board, thank you for your hard work.

To the Young Nats for the weekend campaigning in Queenstown, you all rock. I learnt a good lesson… not to start days that involve the Young Nats in Queenstown before 11am.

Grant McCullum for the phone calls offering advice, thank you.

Michelle Boag, your wise words are really appreciated.

Eric Roy, thank you for the good solid advice in a Southland way.

National’s strong result is a tribute to you all.

To the ladies who run my offices …. And life…. Rebecca, Paula and Alison thank you for keeping me going.

Sarah Dowie, Mike Woodhouse and Jacqui Dean, Team Southern let’s go!

To Donna & David, thank you for being here today.

Penny, you’re an inspiration to me and words cannot express how much your support for me throughout the selection process, campaign and since being elected has meant. I wouldn’t be able to do this without your support.

I admire the contribution you make to society in your role as a clinical psychologist and yes, you often remind me you did beat me to Parliament as you were Eric Roy’s Youth MP.

Mr Speaker, the privilege of serving in this Parliament is one that comes to very few.

I didn’t come here to eat my lunch, nor to “be” a Member of Parliament.

I came here to DO things as a Member of Parliament, to help make change that benefits all New Zealanders, and to help to enhance the lives of the people of Clutha Southland.

I will probably make mistakes in this House – I have made many already in my short life – but my respect for the Institution, my loyalty and my commitment are solid; my philosophy is honest and true, and my compassion is infinite.

I hope that everything I do in this Parliament, and in my time as a Member of this Parliament, is a tribute to those who have gone before me, those who have helped me and to those whom I love, and who love me.

Thank you Mr Speaker.


Quote of the day

November 2, 2017

Look. Art knows no prejudice, art knows no boundaries, art doesn’t really have judgement in it’s purest form. So just go, just go. K.D. Lang who celebrates her 56th birthday today.


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