Rural round-up


Farmers start new dairy season on an encouraging note as Fonterra signals another record milk price – Point of Order:

New  Zealand’s  dairy  industry, which is  proving  again it is  the  backbone of  the  country’s  export industries, has  been  given  fresh encouragement with the big  co-op Fonterra signalling  a  record  milk price for  the  season  that  has  just  opened.

It  comes  as the  payout  for  the  just-finished  season  stands  as  the  highest  since  the  co-op  was  formed in 2001.

So although farmers have  made  decisions for  this  season on  the  number  of  cows  they  are  milking,  they  have the  incentive  to go  hard on production  levels,  despite the  pressure  from  higher  costs  and worries  over climate changes measures, including  projected charges on emissions.

Fonterra’s buoyant  forecast contrasts with  a recent  report  by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank  which  said that despite global milk production looking set to decrease for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q2 2022, weakening global demand is expected to create a scenario that will see moderate price declines in dairy commodities during the second half of the year. . . 

How we are suckling the sheep milk industry government invests $7.97m in partnership which involves state-owned Landcorp – Point of Order:

Damien O’Connor scored twice – he issued one statement as Minister of Trade and another as Minister of Agriculture – while rookie Emergency Relief Minister Kieran McNulty broke his duck, announcing flood relief for the West Coast.

Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall put more runs on the board, too, with a statement about Government work to combat new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19.

In his trade job, O’Connor declared he was pleased with the quick progress of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill that was introduced to the House yesterday.

It would  enable New Zealand to implement its obligations under the FTA and was necessary to bring the FTA into force, he explained. . . 


Kiwifruit sector forecasts drop in profits :

The kiwifruit sector is predicting lower profits this year, as yields drop and shipping costs continue to climb.

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has sent out an update to growers which shows a decent drop in profit is expected this year.

Last year Zespri made a record $361.5 million, but this year that is expected to drop to between $227m and $247m.

Company spokesperson Carol Ward said it had been a difficult season. . . 

Have your say on the Forests Legal harvest Assurance Amendment Bill :

The Chairperson of the Primary Production Committee is now calling for public submissions on the Forests (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill.

The bill would amend the Forests Act 1949 to establish a legal harvest system. This system aims to provide assurance that timber supplied and traded has been harvested legally. The legal harvest system would:

· require that log traders, primary processors, importers, and exporters who operate above specified thresholds to be registered

· require harvest information to be supplied to others when trading, and for records of that information to be kept . . 

Groundspread NZ is the new public face for the New Zealand groundspread fetilisers association :

Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) was established in 1956 to promote and protect the interests of both individuals and companies involved in the groundspread fertiliser industry. The Association is made up of 110 voluntary members from throughout New Zealand, with each member committed to promoting best practice fertiliser placement. Precision placement of fertiliser requires skilled operators, sound spreading equipment and appropriate fertilisers.

Groundspreaders are typically the first step in ensuring on-farm productivity, by spreading nutrients accurately and evenly, using the latest technology, finely calibrated vehicles, and highly trained operators, groundspreaders help farmers and growers get the best out of their nutrient spend. The skill involved in groundspreading means that food production in New Zealand gets the best start possible.

The new name and website better share the story of how the Association’s members contribute to on-farm performance. The new name and website are initiatives driven by the Association’s new and ambitious strategic plan, committed to ensuring best practice in the groundspread industry. Farmers and growers can now visit to find a spreader in their area, learn more about how the Association supports members to operate at the high level that they do, and learn more about the Spreadmark scheme.

Spreadmark, established by Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) in 1994, was born from a commitment by the Association’s members to improve spreader performance and outcomes for their clients and the environment. Proper placement of fertiliser is of considerable agronomic benefit to farmers and growers and helps protect the environment from the undesirable side effects of poor fertiliser spreading practices. . . 

Greenfern industries attains important industry certification :

Greenfern Industries Limited (GFI:NZX) is pleased to announce it has attained its globally-recognised GACP (Good Agriculture and Collection Practice) certification for its cultivation facility based in Normanby, Taranaki.

“This is a milestone that the team has been working towards for some time since commencing cultivation and research and development in our pilot stage one facility,” said Greenfern’s managing director Dan Casey.

GACP guidelines were developed to create a single supranational framework to ensure appropriate and consistent quality in the cultivation and production of medicinal plant and herbal substances. They were developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 with the aim of improving the quality of medicinal plants being used in herbal medicines in the commercial market.

Greenfern’s certification was undertaken by Control Union Medicinal Cannabis Standards (CUMCS). Control Union Israel was one of the partners which formulated the Israeli Cannabis Standard, which is a global standard. Since then, they have been involved with the development of the Medical Cannabis Standard GAP. . . 

Missed opportunity to learn


Yet another damning report on the Covid response:

A backlog in Covid-19 PCR testing which led to the country’s systems falling over should have been predicted and prevented by health officials, an independent review has concluded.

Poor communication, data limitations and a failure to learn from international experiences instead led to complacency and meant the country’s laboratories buckled under the strain of requests.

In March, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield admitted the ministry had overestimated the number of Covid-19 PCR tests the country’s laboratories could process as the virus took off in the community.

The revelation came as Kiwis waited upwards of a week for test results and health experts warned of laboratories reaching a crisis point, while months earlier one of the Government’s own groups had raised red flags.

An independent review commissioned by the Ministry of Health and carried out by consultancy Allen and Clarke has now been released, laying bare the failures which led to the crash. . . 

With other countries having similarly faced difficulties with PCR testing in the face of Omicron, opportunities to learn from international experience were “substantial”.

“It is not apparent how these insights were incorporated into testing modelling, planning, or reporting.” . . 

The Ministry, and the Ministers, let us down again because the backlog was predictable:

A report out today shows the backlog of PCR testing was foreseeable and Ministers should take responsibility for a lack of action, National’s Covid-19 Spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“In the first quarter of this year, 9000 PCR COVID tests were sent to Australia and 32,000 samples were nearly destroyed after laboratories in New Zealand were unable to cope with the demand.

“Today’s COVID-19 PCR Testing Backlog report, which has finally been released by the Government, says the backlog in PCR testing that emerged in February 2022 ‘should have been and was to some degree predictable.’

“The Ministry of Health has been found wanting at critical times during the pandemic.

“Last year, Sir Brian Roche’s Continuous Improvement Group made repeated recommendations to improve the functionality of the Ministry, while the Testing Technical Advisory Group also made a series of recommendations around testing capacity.

That report, and others, changed nothing, and there is little if any hope that the extensive and expensive restructuring of the health system would make it any better.

“In the first quarter of this year Omicron was already prevalent in other countries and as today’s report notes, ‘opportunities to learn from international experience were substantial, particularly in relation to the speed at which positivity rates increase and the impact on pooling’.

“But Ministers failed to act, instead relying on assurances from officials that New Zealand had enough testing capacity.

“A lack of testing capacity had real consequences. As the report notes, without an accurate forecast date when PCR testing capacity would be exceeded, there was no deadline for when the RAT roll-out was required. New Zealand was slow on the uptake of RATs because it was assumed PCR testing capacity would suffice. It didn’t.

“National spent most of the latter part of 2021 calling for a quick roll-out of rapid tests. It was obvious to many that once Omicron took hold in the community, PCR testing would struggle.

“Why weren’t Ministers listening to independent experts who were saying this publicly. How much better would things have been if National’s calls for rapid tests were listened to?

“National has also argued for over a year that saliva testing capacity can and should be used. Saliva testing was outside the scope of today’s report, which says it all.

“The Government has consistently and wilfully ignored the potential of saliva testing to test for COVID-19. It beggars belief that the Government excluded saliva testing from the scope of the report; presumably on the basis that the report would be even more critical than it already is. Instead of utilising saliva testing properly the Government rammed a law through Parliament giving itself the power to confiscate the assets of saliva testing companies like Rako Science.

“Two years into the pandemic, Ministers should stop blaming officials for basic errors and start taking responsibility. The buck stops with them.”

It is difficult to understand how the Ministry couldn’t accurately estimate laboratory capacity:

Those representing the country’s medical lab workforce say the Health Ministry’s estimates of lab capacity during the Omicron peak amounted to “misinformation”.  . . 

Lab scientists knew they’d be overwhelmed as Omicron took hold at the beginning of 2022. The president of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science, Terry Taylor, said the warning signs were well canvassed. 

“It was 100 percent predictable. We’d been warning since early January about our lab capacity and the figures that were being trumpeted around just simply were not there,” he said. 

Just like the PPE shortages, people on the frontline were saying there were problems but the Ministry, and the Ministers, were at best ignoring them, or worse still not believing them.

Those figures relate to January 25 this year, when Minister Ayesha Verrall announced we were “well prepared” for Omicron. 

Testing capacity had “increased to 58,000 tests a day”, and could surge to more than 77,000, she said.   

But official information obtained by Newshub showed no one in the Minister’s office checked the accuracy of the numbers. 

The figures were repeated over, and over. At a press conference on January 25, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also hailed New Zealand’s level of preparedness when it came to testing. 

“We can do 60,000 tests a day,” she said. 

The messaging infuriated the frontline and Taylor has a message for the politicians and their advisers.  

“Have a think about your frontline health professionals before you start making ridiculous assumptions of what their capability is,” Taylor said.

The secretary of Apex, the union that represents lab workers, Dr Deborah Powell, agrees. 

“The numbers that were being put out in public – it was misinformation and lab workers knew that. They were very upset.” . . 

This is another review that tells the same old under prepared story:

“Not so well prepared” has been a phrase that has accompanied the Government’s Covid response since it started.

That doesn’t mean totally unprepared, but several independent reviews have repeatedly described the response as reactive, not proactive.

So it was again on Tuesday with the release of an independent report into the 32,000 PCR samples that gathered dust for five days in February. This followed repeated Government claims that all was fine and there was plenty of PCR capacity to deal with demand as the Omicron wave started to build.

The report is embarrassing reading for the Health Ministry. . . 

Embarrassing for the Ministry, frustrating for the frontline workers and others whose warnings weren’t listened to, including those who had solutions:

Too little, too late.

That is what Sir Ian Taylor thinks about the Ministry of Health approving the Lucira Covid-19 test kit for use in New Zealand nearly two years after it was first approached about them.

On Wednesday, the ministry published a notice, signed by director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, in the New Zealand Gazette stating the tests, which return a result in 30 minutes with standard PCR accuracy, had been granted a full exemption for
use in New Zealand.

The kits consisted of a self-administered nasal swab that goes into a tube and is processed in a battery-powered testing device.

United States-based Lucira first approached the New Zealand Government about the tests in 2020, not long after the pandemic started.

Taylor, who had been urging the Government for months to approve them, said while it was great they had been approved, it had come far too late.

The tests could have been a “game-changer” earlier this year when the Omicron variant started to spread around the country which put “massive strain” on the testing laboratories. 

It could have also been used as a tool to wind down managed isolation and quarantine earlier than it was, Taylor said.

“While they have approved it, it’s like a lot of other things, they were late with the vaccinations, they were late with the rapid antigen tests [RATs], and they are late with this.” . . 

The Ministry, and Ministers, missed the opportunities to learn from overseas again.

S much of the Covid response wasn’t hard and early as the government kept telling us, but late and lax, again and again and again at an enormous human and financial cost.

Late and lax again


The government is crowing about a trial of what could be a welcome addition to  the Covid-testing tool box.

New, more accurate Covid tests which return results in 30 minutes will be trialled at Auckland Airport.

Lamp (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) tests can be self-administered like a RAT (rapid antigen test), but are much more accurate.

They will be trialled at the airport, initially limited to 30 Air NZ staff, and could eventually be used in hospitals, aged care and other sectors, Associate Minister for Covid-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall said this morning.

“The Lucira test is shown in clinical trials to be … close to the accuracy of PCR tests, but also the convenience of being a test you can purchase and then take with you to wherever you need it,” she said at a press conference at Auckland Airport. . . 

The Lucira devices had not yet been licensed in New Zealand for broader use. But if the trial proved successful, they could one day be used by travellers.

“Potentially you could carry this test in your suitcase and … then you would know coming back into New Zealand you had the test you need,” Verrall said. 

“You wouldn’t need to run around a foreign city trying to find where you could buy a PCR test. It would be cheaper, and the airline would potentially be able to see the online verification of your test, and know your result was negative.” . . 

Faster, more accurate and able to be carried with you is good, but Sir Ian Taylor writes in a Linked in Post that Lucira could have been here much, much sooner:

OMG!!! LUCIRA. The DPMC has really gone for broke with the PR spin on the Lucira trial – if there is anyone from the media out there who would like another take on this then I am happy to chat. I’d normally write an opinion piece but right now I am focused on my day job and the staggering array of opportunities that have arisen from one, 3 day trip to the US and the NAB show in Vegas.

You won’t need to be stuck behind the DPMC’s on going strategy that make it almost impossible to get the emails you need to show that nothing they are spinning right now bears any resemblance to the truth. I have the email that was sent to the MOH in July 2020 inviting them to be one of 5 countries to be part of the trial that would reduce PCR testing from 4-5 days ( at that time) to 30 minutes. I also have their dismissive – “thanks but no thanks” reply. Happy to share.

Then there are the emails shared with Grant Robertson and Ayesha Verrall back in December of last year with information on Lucira and introducing them to the team at Lucira Health that I had been working with (with no help from the govt) to organise 20,000 doses to be sent immediately to New Zealand for a trial that could have been conducted by Terry Taylor (President of NZIMLS) in less than a week. This shipment was supported by the confidential results of intensive trials conducted by Lucira clients like Canada, Israel, and Qatar. We could have had this trial done and dusted by mid-January – if everyone in the govt hadn’t gone on the PM’s famous “well-earned break!! Then there was the interesting meeting called to discuss the plan to use Lucira – and other kiwi tech – to get kiwis home that I had prepared with the “Cross Sector Border Group” where I was told that only the govt and Air New Zealand were authorised to speak about Lucira in the future ( I introduced Greg Foran to Lucira as well) and I was asked to stop writing those “bad faith articles” about the govt.

While they have dilly dallied – we got 2,000 of the Lucira tests to Tonga at no cost and organised 65 million Orient Gene RATs to be delivered here at a time when the govt was so far behind the 8 ball they were requisitioning ours. . . .

Who do you believe – the government’s PR machine on the businessman who gets things done?

Contrary to the lines it repeats, the government’s response to Covid-19 wasn’t hard and early at the start, it certainly wasn’t hard and early with the vaccination rollout and now it’s been shown to be late and lax again with a trial of Lucira.

Unprepared again


The Omicron surge is only just starting and already testing stations are overwhelmed with people waiting hours to be tested.

In spite of assertions to the contrary, the health system was unprepared again:

Testing laboratories face potential staff burnout and delays to cancer diagnoses if a surge in demand for Covid-19 tests does not drop off, the Government has been warned.

Questions have also been raised about why labs are already under such strain well below New Zealand’s stated maximum testing capacity, with the Opposition accusing the Government of using misleading figures to overstate the state of play.

In late January, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall announced the Government had increased the nationwide capacity for Covid PCR tests “from a maximum of 39,000 tests a day to a baseline of 58,000 tests”.

While the rolling seven-day testing average is 28,567 – less than half of that “baseline” – the Ministry of Health has warned of “exceptional demand” on testing laboratories, with some people in Auckland and Waikato reporting waits of up to five days for a Covid result.

The gap between the stated capacity and the real-time processing ability is largely due to the fact that the higher number relies on being able to “pool” tests: running samples in batches and individually re-testing any with a positive result, something which is only possible with a relatively low number of Covid cases in the community.

Terry Taylor, the president of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science, told Newsroom that laboratories in Auckland had stopped pooling Covid swabs early last week, and others were set to follow.

“Even though it seems a bit of an oxymoron, our capacity actually drops as the surge increases…we just do not have the resources, the staffing, the consumables to actually be able to maintain anything more than around about that 25 to 30-odd thousand.”

Taylor was unsure where the 58,000 figure had come from, as the institute had not been approached by the Government about it.

“I am a little bit frustrated, in a way, that figures that were not helpful have been bandied around – you can imagine what it’s like for the workforce on the ground when they hear what I would call just unreasonable expectations put on them, to do that sort of level of work for any period of time.”

Taylor said the surge in demand for PCR tests affected the ability of labs to process the 200,000 non-Covid tests they usually performed every day; lab tests were used for almost all cancer diagnoses, as well as monitoring autoimmune diseases and other conditions. . . 

We get told if people die from Covid-19 (including those who die with the disease rather than of it); but we might never know how many people will have treatment delayed and the impact of that on their health, well being and lives.

This situation wouldn’t be nearly as dire if the government stupidity hadn’t restricted the supply of rapid antigen tests (RATs):

National Party Covid response spokesman Chris Bishop told Newsroom the Government had been “using misleading figures to give an appearance of greater capacity than actually exists”, and needed to legalise the sale of RATS over the counter as well as contracting Rako Science to boost PCR testing capacity.

“A lot of people turning up for PCR tests are just people a bit worried about having Covid. The easy way to triage them is to let them take care of their own health through rapid tests from pharmacies – reserve PCR capacity for people who actually need it.” . .

Trusting us to take care of ourselves is a foreign concept to this government and its control freakery.

Another sign of a health system unprepared for the pandemic is that hospitals across the country were full before the virus started spreading.

The Delta outbreak exposed Andrew Little’s failure to resource ICUs, and now Omicron is exposing his failure to resource general hospital beds, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Newly released data shows that on 9 February 2022, general hospital ward beds across all hospitals in New Zealand were already at an average of 82 per cent occupancy. This was at a time when there was only 204 community cases and 16 in hospital.

“Whangarei Hospital had 100 per cent occupancy and hospitals in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wairau, Waikato and Whanganui, were all at more than 90 per cent occupancy.

“We don’t have enough beds and we also don’t have enough nurses. The same data shows more than 2,000 nursing vacancies across the sector, including 400 vacancies at Auckland hospital alone.

“The combination of full hospitals, not enough nurses, Omicron starting to surge and winter fast approaching is a deadly mix.

“People with Omicron will be pushed out into an unprepared community and people waiting for surgery and cancer treatment will have their procedures cancelled.

“Andrew Little has not prepared the health system. What he has done is spend large on consultants and a health restructure instead of ICU beds and nurses.

“How many lives are going to be affected by Andrew Little’s constant poor decisions?”

He has left the health system unprepared, failing patients and health workers:

Increasing health workforce shortages and strikes lay squarely at the feet of Health Minister Andrew Little, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Last week, radiation physicists and technicians who manage cancer patients issued strike notices. This week thousands of lab workers and Covid-19 contact tracers have voted to strike.

“Andrew Little is so out of touch with the healthcare workforce that he didn’t even know that 10,000 of them decided to go on strike when asked about it by journalists. He has also failed to deliver the “safe staffing” accord which was promised to nurses last year, to protect them from over working.

“If the Minister was focused on getting nurses into the country and delivering front line health services, instead of ramming through a $486 million health restructure in the middle of a pandemic, many of the workforce shortages and safety issues could have been avoided.

“Data recently released to the National Party show that there are currently 2,200 vacant nursing positions across the country. It’s no wonder that the health workforce is feeling immense pressure.

“He has failed our health workforce, who have worked so hard to keep us safe over the last few years, and has actively undermined them in favour of his dangerous and disruptive health restructure.”

The time and money wasted on restructuring the health system are Little’s responsibility.

The Minister of Immigration has also made the situation worse by not granting residency to overseas health professionals who are already working here and not allowing more health professional to come into the country.

That would be bad enough at the best of times, during a pandemic it is irresponsible and incompetent.

The government keeps telling us that Covid-19 is its focus but just like so many of its other grand proclamations, words aren’t backed up by the necessary action.

Rural round-up


Benefits all round in NZ-UK free trade deal:

Federated Farmers says today’s announcement of a free trade deal between the United Kingdom and New Zealand is great news for consumers and farmers in both countries.

“The United Kingdom is walking the talk when it comes to promising a truly global Britain,” Federated Farmers National President Andrew Hoggard says.

“We congratulate the New Zealand team of negotiators, officials and politicians who have tenaciously pursued this deal. The result is impressive. It’s a job well done.”

Federated Farmers has a long history of supporting efforts to free up global trade and it takes every opportunity to get producers in other countries to embrace trade liberalization. . .

UK FTA ‘back to the future’ :

Today’s announcement of a comprehensive new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom will offer some welcome variation in market access to New Zealand exporters, say the EMA.

“It’s great news for many of our export members, particularly in the horticulture, wine and honey sectors. The dropping of 97% of all tariffs from day one is a major success and the access to new investment in both direction is also significant,” says Chief Executive, Brett O’Riley.

“I don’t think New Zealand would have had this level of free access into the UK since before the UK first went into the then European Economic Community (EEC) back in 1973. That was a black day for many exporters, but this announcement is a bit ‘Back to the Future’ in terms of access.” . . 

NZ Apple industry welcomes UK free trade agreement :

New Zealand Apples & Pears Inc (NZAPI), the industry association representing the country’s apple, pear and nashi growers, has welcomed the announcement from the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Trade Minister, Damien O’Connor, that an agreement in principle has been reached on a Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom.

“We congratulate Minister O’Connor and the MFAT negotiating team for achieving this outstanding outcome”, says NZAPI chief executive Alan Pollard.

“The United Kingdom is a very important market for our apples and pears, regularly featuring in the top two or three markets by volume. . . 

Wrestling with forestry decisions – Keith Woodford:

Carbon and forestry, increasingly linked to overseas investors, continue to outmuscle sheep and beef but nothing about carbon is simple

I had intended this week to move away from forestry to other topics. But once again, I have been drawn back to forestry because it is the biggest issue right now facing rural land-use.

For those who are farming sheep and beef there is the disconcerting reality, but also in some cases exciting reality, that carbon farming is now the most profitable land use.

Somewhat ironically, this changing land-use is also relevant to the dairy industry, which in combination with the other pastoral land uses is supposed by 2030 to reduce methane by 10 percent. It is looking as if much of this might now come from the decline in sheep and beef. . .

Meat industry backs mandatory vaccination for sector workers :

The meat processing industry says it would support a vaccine mandate for staff.

It comes after the Government last week announced it would make vaccinations mandatory for education and health sector employees.

The Meat Industry Association believes the Government should also consider a mandate for other high-risk sectors, such as meat processing.

Association spokesperson Esther Guy-Meakin said it had written to the Food Safety and Associate Health Minister, Ayesha Verrall to make its views clear. . .

Strategically developed farm Eco farm with high regard for the environment is placed on the market for sale :

A strategically developed New Zealand sheep and beef farm aligned to an international award-winning environmental enhancement project has been placed on the market for sale.

The 377-hectare property on the Mahia Peninsula between Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay comprises rich pumice soils sustaining a mixture of fodder crops, fertile grazing pasture, and strategically planted native developments.

Over the past two decades, the farm – known as Taharoa – has been developed with a focus on creating an environmentally-sustainable operation. Two kilometres of the Whangawehi River flow through Taharoa. An organisation known as the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group was established to protect some 3,600 of land on Mahia Peninsula where Taharoa is located. . . 

Rural round-up


Yes, there will be a cull – it will be aimed at cutting group that launched the “dirty dairying” campaign down to size – Point of Order:

Players in the country’s biggest exporter earner, the dairy and meat industries, would have shown more than a passing interest in two statements from the Beehive yesterday.

Agriculture Minister announced the roll-out of extra monitoring and a range of practical support to help farmers achieve immediate improvements in intensive winter grazing practices.

Acting Conservation Minister Ayesha Verrall  released a report outlining recommendations to strengthen the governance and good management practices within NZ Fish & Game, the outfit charged with managing sport fishing and game bird hunting across NZ that persistently harries farmers on environmental issues. . . 

New Zealand’s first farm to have carbon footprint certified is carbon positive:

Lake Hawea Station has been named as the first farm in New Zealand to have a carbon footprint certified by leading environmental certifications provider Toitū Envirocare, proving that farming can be a pathway to healing the planet.

Lake Hawea Station is owned by Geoff and Justine Ross and is pursuing a farming strategy that is both beneficial to the planet and the bottom line. Geoff Ross says “the process with Toitū highlights that farming need not be a problem in climate change. Rather farming can be a solution”.

The certification process Toitū has undertaken on Lake Hawea Station is planned to be the first of many New Zealand farms as New Zealand moves to lower its overall carbon footprint and consumers world-wide demand carbon positive food and fibre.

Becky Lloyd, Toitū Envirocare Chief Executive says Toitū carbonzero farm certification is important as it demonstrates to farmers, their customers, and regulators that pastoral farms can be carbon neutral and at the same time be commercially viable. . .

New National health service should be fit for rural:

We are not averse to having a national health service, however, we are looking forward to seeing the detail says Rural Women New Zealand.

“The Minister of Health, Andrew Little in his announcement of sweeping changes to abolish District Health Boards to have one health entity, said that “the kind of treatment people get will no longer be determined by where they live” – we want to see that in practice,” says National President Gill Naylor.

“RWNZ expects to see a rural health and wellbeing strategy which is fully resourced and funded to ensure rural postcodes aren’t in the losing lottery.

“It is our expectation that the detail will also include a solid mechanism for including the voice of rural women, children, and communities in decision-making by the new national health service. . . 

New Zealand cheesemakers concerned by Eu’s move to monopolise halloumi cheese:

New moves by the European Commission to grant exclusive use of the term ‘halloumi’ to cheesemakers from Cyprus are raising concerns among the New Zealand cheesemaking community.

“Halloumi is a popular cheese for New Zealand consumers, with a thriving and innovative community of New Zealand cheesemakers delivering this delicious product to New Zealand tables” says Neil Willman, President of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.

“We are concerned at Europe’s continuing campaign to restrict the use of common names in international cheesemaking, at the expense of producers outside of Europe.”

New Zealand’s cheesemaking community is concerned that the European Union is continuing to protect cheese terms that are generic and in common use around the world. . . 

400 delegates to meat in Taupō for national Rural Health Conference 2021 :

This week approximately 400 rural health professionals and administrators will come together at Wairakei Resort in Taupō for this year’s National Rural Health Conference.

This conference is the first ‘in person’ health professionals conference in 2021 and the biggest event for rural health professionals for close to two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Health Hon. Andrew Little will open Conference on Friday 30 April.

Among the many other excellent speakers to present over the two days are Associate Minister of Health Hon. Peeni Henare and Martin Hefford from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Transition Unit. . . 

Five Riverina artists launch Regenerative Visions exhibition at Fitzroy gallery  – Jodie O’Sullivan:

In many ways the work of a farmer and an artist are not so dissimilar, insists Courtney Young.

“You try to look at the landscape with fresh eyes and see beyond what you can actually see,” explained the emerging artist from Savernake.

“There are correlations with farming where you have to think outside the box and look for nuance in the world around you.”

Young is one of five women from the Riverina who have created a collection of paintings for an exhibition exploring the similarities between art and farming. . . 


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