Rural round-up

March 12, 2015

Extra controls on 1080:

The Government has introduced tighter controls on high purity forms of 1080 in response to the criminal threat to use 1080 to contaminate infant and other formula, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“I am satisfied that the controls for 1080 in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act are robust, but with this criminal threat we are putting in place extra controls,” Dr Smith says.

High purity 1080 is highly toxic. It is mainly used for the manufacture of pest control baits, but small quantities are also used for research.

“The current regulations have an exemption for research laboratory use, as is the case for dozens of similarly toxic substances. This threat justifies putting in place additional controls that will require tighter security of high purity 1080 in laboratories, tracking of the quantity of the poison stored and used, and requiring Environmental Protection Authority certification of importers of high purity 1080 into New Zealand,” Dr Smith says. . .

Fears for 1080 milk scare repercussions

There are real fears about the knock-on effect to our dairy industry as the story about the 1080 milk powder threat makes news around the world.

Financial news service Bloomberg reported New Zealand’s clean, safe reputation is at risk, while the New York Times wrote our market has shuddered at the threat.

Reuters and the BBC also pointed to the potential economic fallout.

China remains our biggest market for milk powder, buying one-third of our dairy exports, but the news hasn’t made their front page headlines yet. . .

Game Animal Condemns 1080 Threat

“The Game Animal Council condemns attempts to blackmail New Zealand into stopping the use of 1080 poison” said Don Hammond, Chairman of the New Zealand Game Animal Council.

The use of 1080 poison has been controversial throughout its history with many groups and individuals being opposed to its use. There has been a significant increase in its use over the last year largely due to the Battle for our Birds programme. . .

Maori orchard success story:

Maori Trustee Te Tumu Paeroa says the success of a kiwifruit orchard on the East Coast is an example of how small blocks of Maori-owned land can be utilised to provide jobs and make a profit.

The Hamama Orchard, owned by Te Kaha 14B2 Trustees, recently won the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award for commitment to people, community and passion for sustainable practice.

The Maori Trustee oversees the governance and management of the orchard. . .

Emphatic Winners in Northland Dairy Awards:

The 2015 Northland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Brad and Lesley Roberts, were emphatic winners – claiming the title along with six of nine merit awards on offer.

“I don’t think anyone was surprised when they were named the winners at the end of the night, as the merit awards proved they are very strong across all areas of their farm business,” Northland regional managers Ian Douglas and Rowena Butterworth-Boord said.

Brad and Lesley Roberts won $8500 in prizes at the 2015 Northland Dairy Industry Awards held at Toll Stadium in Whangarei last night . The other big winners were Karla Frost, who won the 2015 Northland Farm Manager of the Year contest, and Mike Jensen, the region’s 2015 Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Alps to Ocean cycleway put to test – Hamish Clark:

My ankle is sore, thighs are still burning and bumasaraus. Did I think the Alps 2 Ocean cycle ride would be easy? Yes. Was it easy? Yes and no. The hills got me every time.

I did it – me and seven other mad mates.

Five days – 301km – from Mt Cook to Oamaru – the destination was always to get to the sea, but it was the journey along the way that was the real highlight.

The Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail goes from New Zealand’s highest Mountain – Aoraki Mt Cook – past great lakes and rivers and down to the ocean. . .

 Big Fat Hen Marmalade Making Company produce great tasting home grown marmalade:

Formed in 2015, Heather’s Big Fat Hen Marmalade Making Company is New Zealand newest high quality marmalade company.

The knowledgeable and friendly team behind Heathers Big Fat Hen Marmalade Making Company, have a tradition of supplying the best quality jams and marmalades to the top hotels in New Zealand since last century.

These high-profile hotels include the Langham, Stamford, Millbrook and international flights out of New Zealand. . .

 

 


Things to do in Oamaru – A20 cycle trail

December 30, 2014

The Alps to Ocean cycle way is New Zealand’s longest – 301 kilometres from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru harbour.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is New Zealand in all its colour and beauty – from our highest mountain, past great lakes and rivers, and down to the ocean. Suitable for all ages, the 8 section bike trail is an easy to intermediate grade, offering a pleasing mix of on and off-road terrain which links the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.

Most people would need 4 -6 days to do the whole trail but you can do day trips or shorter rides.

Highlights include:

  • Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Elephant Rocks
  • Snow-capped Mountains
  • Clay Cliffs
  • Golden Landscapes
  • Maori Rock Art
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Blue Penguins
  • Limestone Cliffs
  • Boutique Shops
  • Lakes: Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau, Benmore, Aviemore
  • Vineyards
  • Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct
  • Hydro Canals

Neighbours have been running homestays in an historic home for years and their business is booming now the cycle trail has opened.

I’s still in its infancy but has already been numbered among four of the best cycle trails in New Zealand.

 


Pedal power generating economic boost

January 31, 2014

New cycle trails are already generating an economic boost.

Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Evaluation Report shows that visitors using the NZCT are staying one to three nights and spending between $131 and $176 a day per person.

The evaluation report was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows that although the trails are still very new, they are making good progress in terms of job creation and contribution to the local economy.

Interviews with trail managers, surveys of business owners and trail users, and four cycle trail case studies were undertaken for the evaluation. The case studies looked at a range of cycle trails, including remote trails and popular day-trip and urban destinations – the Mountains to Sea Trail in Manawatu, the Hauraki trail in Waikato, the Motu Trail on the East Coast and the Queenstown Trail.

Overall about one-quarter of businesses surveyed believed the trails had been good for their business, and about half believed it would be in the future. An impressive 98 per cent of users said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their cycle trail experience and 97 per cent of trail users said they were likely to recommend the trail to others.

The Chair of NZCT Inc. Richard Leggat says the trails have been busy this summer with visitors and cycling enthusiasts alike.

“While it is still early days for the cycle trails, they are making great progress towards achieving their goals of creating a high quality tourism asset for New Zealand. It’s gratifying to get such excellent feedback from trail users,” says Mr Leggat.

The trails have already received international recognition for their quality, receiving the honourable mention award at the International Trails Symposium in April last year. . .

The Alps to Ocean (A2O) Cycle Trail passes near our home on its way from Mt Cook to Oamaru Harbour.

It’s not finished yet – several sections are still on roads – but it’s already proving popular with cyclists.

It’s bringing people to a part of New Zealand they might not otherwise visit and providing opportunities for existing and new businesses servicing and selling to cyclists.


Alps to Ocean cycle trail’s a goer

July 6, 2010

The Alps to Ocean cycle trail from Mount Cook to Oamaru harbour is one of eight new cycleway projects approved for funding under the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

In a media rlease, acting Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman said the $18.85 million investment in the eight new trails will provide a significant economic boost to the communities involved.

“These trails will showcase the very best that New Zealand has to offer in terms of our landscapes, culture and communities. They will be a key draw-card for both international and domestic visitors, and add a further dimension to our vibrant tourism sector,” Dr Coleman said.

“I am delighted that construction will be underway on these trails this summer, and I look forward to them becoming part of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.”

The other trails are in Opotiki/Gisborne, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson/Tasman, Westport, Queenstown and Clutha.

All had to complete extensive feasibility studies before applying for funding.

This announcement follows the evaluation of feasibility studies submitted to the Ministry of Tourism in May. Due to the diligent work of the applicants, funding for these trails has been confirmed four months ahead of schedule enabling construction to begin as soon as possible.

The Ocean to Alps trail will take cyclists 314 kilometres, descending 780 metres with a prevailing tail wind.

The trail starts near Mount Cook, passes Lakes Pukaki, Ruataniwha, Ohau, Benmore and Aviemore and the towns of Twizel, Omarama, Otematata, Kurow and Duntroon.

  It then goes south east following the Fossil Trail through the Waiarreka Valley into Oamaru and the port.

The latter part of the trail goes through an area few people visit now and will introduce cyclists to the beauty of North Otago’s downlands.


Good trails take time

June 2, 2010

Much ado is being made of the discovery that the cycle trail initiative has progressed more slowly than some would like.

However, as John Key explained, it’s the planning and consenting process which is taking time.

That’s certainly the case with the Alps to the Ocean cycle trail, the last kilometre of which the PM opened when he was in Oamaru last weekend.

But that was the easy kilometre because it was on public land. Much of the remaining 313 kilometres are on private land and getting permission for it to pass through properties takes time.

Almost all affected land owners are happy with the idea in principle. They realise the economic benefits it could bring to the district, that the trail would be an asset for locals too and some see potential business opportunities in feeding, accommodating and entertaining cyclists.

But there are issues of property rights to work through.

The minimum width of land required is 1.5 metres, which isn’t a lot, even when multiplied by the distance which the track will pass through most properties.

But landowners are being asked to surrender part of their properties and lose privacy with – at least at this stage – no compensation.

I haven’t heard of anyone asking that the trail buys the land it will need but there are suggestions that a little rates relief might be in order.

This isn’t a major obstacle, there’s plenty of goodwill on both sides and almost everyone is supportive of the trail. But sorting through the issues and gaining the necessary permission from each property owner can’t be done quickly.

I am confident the trail will go ahead and that the promise of economic development from it will be realised, but good trails take time to get from the drawing board to completion.


Conference reflections part 2

May 25, 2010

The Mainland Ministers’ Q&A session at the weekend’s National Party conference covered issues from the exchange rate, transaction tax, labour laws and the ETS  to the likelihood of the All Blacks winning next year’s World Cup.

Smiths Grain Store in the historic precinct had been decorated with Donna Demente’s art work for the Prime Minister’s and President’s cocktail party.  John Key  showed his wittier side before handing over to Jim Hopkins who auctioned a couple of bottles of wine and a $1 cheque.

The latter had been signed by John and framed under conservation glass. Even so, I don’t think we should let Dr Bollard know how much it went for in case it causes concerns about inflation.

Conference reconvened on Sunday with a report from party president Peter Goodfellow then Daniel Fielding, Young Nats president outlined the activities of the under 30s. He included the Young Nats’ views on alcohol which set the scene for a remit on the issue of problem drinking.

The Prime Minister opened his speech with praise for Kurow Village pinot noir which had been served at Saturday’s dinner. He then paid tribute to his mainland caucus colleagues and, as is usual for conference speeches, he also thanked  the president, board and the conference co-chairs –  Canterbury Westland chair, board member, Roger Bridge, and me.  In doing the latter he  mentioned not having seen me without a smile.  A friend was sitting beside my farmer and later reported that he’d responded with unflattering haste by whispering to her, “I have”!

John’s speech was similar to the one he delivered to other regional conferences with updates in the wake of the Budget and regional references which included irrigation.

When he finished speaking, representatives from Summit Woolspinners, one of Oamaru’s biggest employers, came forward to thank him for the nine-day fortnight initiative which was introduced as one of the measures to take the edge off the recession. It enabled the company to tread water over a few tough months and without it they may well have sunk. Now orders have started flowing in again they’re back to floating under their own steam.

The final conference session was a panel on campaign strategies then the last word went to West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auchivole. He was signed up to the party by then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, who told him that one day he too might be in parliament.

Like any other conference, there’s value not just in the formal sessions but in the informal interaction with other delegates. There’s also value for the host town – Neat Feet, a shoe shop opposite the Opera House, opened specially  on Sunday and did a roaring trade.

The conference coincided with the opening of the last stage of the proposed Alps to Ocean cycle way which, it is hoped will run from Mount Cook to Friendly Bay and the PM was invited to cut the ribbon with giant scissors made specially for the occasion by Gillies Metaltech.

He took a short journey by steam train and alighted to an honour guard provided by Alfs Imperial Army.  The opening was covered by the ODT, Timaru Herald and Oamaru Mail – which has a photo of the PM on a penny farthing.


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