Rural round-up

May 8, 2020

Concern farmers’ wellbeing affected: –  David Hill:

North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Andy Munro is concerned for the wellbeing of farmers as they negotiate the ongoing effects of a dry season and the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said last month’s rain was “a great morale booster” for farmers in the drought-affected area in North Canterbury.

“Since that rain four weeks ago, things went pretty quiet. But it’s just a pity we haven’t had a follow-up rain and we really need a good warm follow-up rain, particularly for the farmers from Waipara north to get some growth before winter.

“It’s starting to get dry and cold in that northern part, but other than that it’s business as usual. . . 

Farmers need to be heard not patronised:

The Government’s drought recovery advice fund announced today is merely a drop in the bucket for supporting farmers affected by drought, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“The fund is specifically for providing affected farmers with recovery and planning advice, but does not contribute to farmers’ rising feed costs or general business costs.

“Most farmers already know what is needed to help their business recover and it is insulting for the Government to tell them they simply need to seek more advice to get through the drought. . . 

Rural GPs not just another business – Peter Burke:

Rural General Practice Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden is disappointed that the Government is treating rural general practices the same as any other business in the community.

Bolden told Rural News that rural GPs were expecting to get two payments from the Government to assist them financially.

However, she says while they had received the first payment, Cabinet vetoed the second payment – just days before it was expected to be paid.  . .

Differing responses to wage subsidy scheme – Allan Barber:

The country’s meat processors have followed two distinctly different paths in response to the government’s wage subsidy scheme which is available to all businesses for 12 weeks, providing they can substantiate a 30% drop in revenue during the period. Silver Fern Farms, Alliance, ANZCO, Taylor Preston and Blue Sky Meats have all claimed the subsidy to varying extents, whereas AFFCO, Greenlea and Wilson Hellaby have decided it is not justified or necessary, at least partly on ethical grounds.

The contrast in approach has already been commented on by independent economist, Cameron Bagrie, who has slammed the two largest claimants, SFF which has claimed $43 million and Alliance $34 million, for taking advantage of taxpayer funding when they are classified as an essential business, operating in lockdown. Equally Bagrie complimented those companies not making a claim because they were getting on with business as usual. Speaking to The Country’s Jamie Mackay, he said “the wage subsidy is out there to support businesses that are getting clobbered, that are effectively in lockdown.”

I am not convinced this interpretation is either totally fair or even correct. Both SFF’s Simon Limmer and Alliance’s CEO David Surveyor are clear the wage subsidy is not a company entitlement, but is paid directly to various categories of employees: firstly it maintains standard wage rates at normal processing speeds despite the 30-50% reduction to meet distance requirements, it retains those who would have to have been terminated seasonally, and it is used to pay those who cannot work e.g. because of age,  compromised immunity or family circumstances. . .

Community to the rescue for harvest – Toni Williams:

CharRees Vineyard owners Charlie and Esma Hill put a call out on social media for help to harvest during lockdown.

They were so overwhelmed by community response, including some from Christchurch, they had to turn people away.

The lockdown harvest, approved by Ministry for Primary Industries as essential for food and beverage production, attracted about 20 people from Ashburton and Methven — many who had never harvested grapes before — to put their hands up to help.

The pickers worked alongside family members of the couple and vineyard workers to pick the first of three annual grape harvests. . . 

Red meat exports top $1 billion in March 2020, a first for monthly exports:

The monthly value of New Zealand red meat and co-product exports topped $1 billion for the first time, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Total exports reached $1.1 billion in March 2020, an increase of 12 per cent on March 2019.

While overall exports to China for the month of March were down by nine per cent compared to last March as a result of COVID-19, exports to all other major markets increased, demonstrating the agility and resilience of the New Zealand red meat sector. . . 

Time to take ag reform out of the “too hard basket” – Fiona Simson:

Regional Australia is well placed to be the engine that powers Australia’s COVID-19 recovery. The bush has done this before, with strong exports helping keep recession at bay during the Global Financial Crisis.

And, after a challenging period of drought, bushfires and floods, widespread rainfall has seen the fortunes of farmers begin to improve. Agriculture is ready and raring to grow.

As we dare to cast an eye to the world post-COVID-19, now is the opportune time to consider the changes agriculture and regional Australia needs to best contribute to the recovery task. . . 


Rural round-up

March 28, 2020

After the lockdown, the economy’s recovery will be dependent on dairy farms and their milk – Point of Order:

The planet is  in a state of   flux,   economies are tumbling into  recession, no-one (not even Donald Trump) can predict  when the agony will  end.

Suddenly, the streets  are  empty:  life  as  we have  known  it is  now  very  different. The  nation  is  in   lockdown.

As  the  London  “Economist” put it:

“The struggle  to  save  lives  and the  economy  is  likely to present  agonising choices…As  that  sends economies  reeling, desperate  governments are trying to tide over  companies and  by handing out millions of  dollars in  aid and loan guarantees. Nobody can be sure how these rescues  will work”. . . 

Don’t stress weakening economy – Neal Wallace:

Economist Cameron Bagrie is joining a chorus of calls for the Government to delay introducing policy imposing new environmental rules and costs on a rapidly weakening economy.

Bagrie says Government borrowing as a percentage of gross domestic product has doubled from 20% to 40% in the last few weeks as it tries to protect jobs and businesses from the impact of measures to control the covid-19 virus pandemic.

He expects Government borrowing will increase further and warns now is not the time to introduce more costs on businesses in freshwater regulations and the new minimum wage, which applies from April 1.

“Farming has been unloved and beaten up by the Government for the last two or three years but the Government is going to need farmers for the next few years.” . . 

Virus adds to woes of North Canterbury farmers – David Hill:

The uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic is adding yet another headache for North Canterbury farmers.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cameron Henderson and North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Andy Munro say dry conditions, the ongoing effects of Mycoplasma bovis and coronavirus, and this week’s 5.1-magnitude earthquake near Culverden are creating uncertainty.

‘‘The effects of the virus seem to be changing day to day as we have seen with share markets and travel bans,’’ Mr Henderson said. . . 

Meat matters to sector stalwart – Colin Williscroft:

Tim Ritchie retires as Meat Industry Association chief executive on April 7 after a career in primary sector roles that began in the 1970s. Colin Williscroft reports.

THE meat industry has come a long way since Tim Ritchie got involved and a decision made on the far side of the world about then that has provided the biggest advantage to the sector here in the years since.

Though it might not have seemed like it at the time, in retrospect Britain joining the then European Economic Community in 1973 was the best thing that could have happened for New Zealand farmers. . . 

Leader learnt a lot in dairy industry – Yvonne O’Hara:

‘‘It was like being dropped into the mothership of emergency management.’’

That is how Katrina Thomas describes her involvement with the recent flood recovery effort in the South.

The Wreys Bush dairy farmer was Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) southern regional hub leader for Otago and Southland since 2016, and regional leader for Southland since 2012.

However, this year she decided she wanted to try other challenges. . . 

Wine industry faces worker accommodation woes during lockdown:

The wine industry is facing criticism for continuing harvest during the Covid-19 lockdown, and is facing problems with worker accommodation

The government says the grape and wine industry can continue to operate as an essential business, but strict conditions apply as the country moves to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Some Marlborough people have noticed the hundreds of workers travelling to work in vineyards all over the district, and have questioned whether this was safe in the current climate. . . 


Rural round-up

December 23, 2019

Wairoa farmland sold for forestry angers 50 Shades of Green as Shane Jones extends olive branch – Zane Small:

Shane Jones is extending an olive branch to the pro-farming community after the Government approved more farmland to be sold for forestry, saying he wants to hear their concerns. 

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) – a Government agency – has approved the sale of 1065 hectares of land in Wairoa from Craigmore (Te Puna) Limited, a company that manages various farm and forest investments in New Zealand.

The land being acquired is currently run as a sheep and beef cattle farm, with small plantings of radiata pine and manuka. The OIO approved the sale of land on the understanding it’s erosion-prone and better suited to forestry. . . .

Skills will help grow careers – Sally Rae:

From fitness to farming, Luke Fisher is relishing his career move into the primary industries.

English-born Mr Fisher, a business manager for Farmlands at its Motueka branch, has been in Dunedin for six weeks as one of two interns in the AGMARDT-AbacusBio international internship programme.

He is joined by Emma Hinton, who is business manager at Farmlands’ Leeston branch in Canterbury.

Sales Slump in the dairy sector:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 54 less farm sales (-16.1%) for the three months ended November 2019 than for the three months ended November 2018. Overall, there were 282 farm sales in the three months ended November 2019, compared to 260 farm sales for the three months ended October 2019 (+8.5%), and 336 farm sales for the three months ended November 2018. 1,295 farms were sold in the year to November 2019, 12.8% fewer than were sold in the year to November 2018, with 44.4% less Dairy farms, 1.6% less Grazing farms, 23.4% less Finishing farms and the same number of Arable farms sold over the same period. . .

River clean-up energises farmer :

Invests $18,000 of his own money to help restore river after realising the impact on waterways.

He’s a “townie” turned dairy farmer and is enthusiastically embracing the clean-up one of New Zealand’s most degraded rivers.

Gerard Vallely, a 65-year-old who, with his wife Ann, runs two dairy farms in west Otago, has set aside a sizeable chunk of his property to be developed into a wetland – and has so far spent $18,000 of his own money doing so.

The farms border two streams, tributaries of the Pomahaka River, and the land he has ‘donated’ is part of an overall project in the district to restore the river, long considered one of the country’s best fishing locations, back to health. . .

Christmas market short of peas, strawberries – David Hill:

Locally grown strawberries and peas could be missing from the Christmas dinner menu.

As he prepares for the seventh annual Sefton Christmas Harvest Market on his farm near Rangiora, North Canterbury grower Cam Booker said Christmas strawberries, raspberries and peas were in short supply.

He said there would be no homegrown strawberries on the Booker Christmas dinner table this year . . .

New Zealand Hops confirms Craig Orr as new Chief Executive:

Food and beverage industry leader, Craig Orr, is confirmed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of New Zealand Hops Ltd (NZHL).

New Zealand Hops is a contemporary grower co-operative, based in Nelson, Tasman, the only region commercially growing hops in New Zealand. The co-operative represents the interests of 28 growers, many of whom are intergenerational families, having grown hops in the region for more than 150 years.

The co-ordination of the industry was first initiated in 1939 with the inception of the New Zealand Hop Marketing Board. . .


Rural round-up

November 23, 2019

Take us with you – Rural News editorial:

According to a newly released Rabobank report, New Zealand farm businesses need to get ready for the full cost of environmental policies coming down the track as they make future investment decisions.

The report says with the country’s agricultural sector facing increasingly tougher environmental constraints, its decisions on investment and land use will need to take account of how these constraints impact on their farming businesses.

Rabobank says that despite the significant investments made by many New Zealand farmers over the past decade to improve performance of their farming operations, the increasingly tougher environmental reforms relating to water quality and climate change will progressively require farmers to account for a greater range of environmental impacts resulting from their farming operations. . .

Making it okay to ask for help – David Anderson:

Meat processing company Alliance has started an employee support programme aimed at getting colleagues to look after each other and keep an eye out for possible mental health issues.

Its ‘Mates at the Gate’ programme encourages staff to ask for support at an early stage and also educates employees on the signs their colleagues might be depressed or distressed.

The programme, which is specifically tailored to Alliance’s workforce, was launched across the company’s processing plants and corporate offices in November 2018.  . . 

Call for NZ and Scotland to join forces – David Hill:

A Scottish farmer and cattle judge would like to see New Zealand and Scotland work together to promote meat.

John Scott, who judged the all-breeds beef cattle competition at last week’s New Zealand Agricultural Show, has just completed an eight-year stint on the Quality Meat Scotland board, the equivalent of Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

”We’ve got some huge challenges with Brexit and the anti-red meat lobby,” Mr Scott said.

”It’s a world market now and I would like to see Scotland having closer ties with New Zealand.

”We need to increase consumption of meat around the world and the seasons are different between our countries, so we don’t need to be competitive. We have a lot of similarities and we can work together.” . . 

A day out at Fonterra’s PR farm – Alex Braae:

Were Fonterra’s Open Gates events a shallow PR stunt, or was there something deeper going on? Alex Braae went to Mangatawhiri to find out.

Walking into the Fonterra Open Gates event in Mangatawhiri, the first animals to see weren’t actually dairy cows. 

In an enclosure just next to the welcome tent, there were three beautifully clean and fluffy sheep. Their faces were sharp and alert, like the healthy energetic dogs that herd them. A throng of kids hung around them, reaching out to touch the exotic creatures.  . . 

Strong returns forecast from Zespri’s record European harvest:

Zespri’s European kiwifruit harvest is again expected to deliver strong returns for growers in Italy and France, along with another great tasting crop for consumers around the world to enjoy.

Sheila McCann-Morrison, Zespri’s Chief International Production Officer, says that with the Northern Hemisphere harvest well underway, Zespri is expecting to harvest around 19 million trays or almost 70 tonnes of kiwifruit from orchards throughout Italy, France and Greece. . . 

It’s forestry that must change not farmers – Rowan Reid :

AS a young forest scientist, I chose to work in the farming landscape in Australia. Despite the slogans of our conservation groups, the environmental frontline was not occurring at the forest blockade; it was at the farm gate. In just 200 years of white settlement, we had cleared the native forests off more than 60 per cent of the continent to create family farms. That’s about 15 times the area of the entire UK. The result was the greatest extinction of native animals and plants seen in modern times, massive land degradation problems, the release of millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, and mounting animal welfare issues due to heat and cold stress in farm stock.

Seeing that forestry – even the act of harvesting trees for timber – had a role to play in repairing the environmental damage and helping develop resilient family farms, I set my goal to make forestry attractive to the farming community. But rather than just promote what my peers saw as ‘good forestry practices’, I could see that it was forestry, rather than the farmers, that had to change. In 1987, I purchased a small degraded farm and set about planting trees for both conservation and profit. . . 


Rural round-up

September 5, 2019

Time for a grownup conversation about gene-editing – David Hughes:

 In the late 1990s public scepticism cast genetic modification as “The answer to the question no-one was asking”. Today, the new technology of gene editing is emerging as a real option in facing some of our world’s biggest challenges in food production, medicine, conservation and climate change.

The Institute I lead, Plant & Food Research, has committed our science to helping New Zealand’s agri-food sector deliver the best quality foods from the world’s most sustainable production systems. We believe gene editing can help us meet that commitment. 

Today, Plant & Food Research breeds only 100 per cent GM-free fruit, vegetables and grains. We have never developed GM foods for commercial use and industry does not fund us to do so. Yet our discovery-focused teams routinely use gene technologies to further our knowledge. 

They’ve learned that gene editing can help us achieve our traditional breeding targets around sustainability and nutrition much faster. That means consumers get more healthy whole foods sooner.  . . 

Trees debate ratchets up – Colin Williscroft:

Large swathes of agricultural land need not be planted in trees for New Zealand to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets, NZ’s largest carbon farmer says.

In presenting NZ Carbon Farming’s submission to the Environment Select Committee on the Zero Carbon Bill, company founder and managing director Matt Walsh was questioned by MPs who said they had been told by officials that 30% of NZ’s agricultural land will need to be planted in trees to meet the Bill’s carbon dioxide emissions target of zero by 2050.

Walsh said he has heard the 30% figure before and is puzzled where it came from. He does not believe it is correct.

NZ Carbon Farming has asked officials how they got the number but has not had a definitive answer. . . 

Shear happiness for young women – Yvonne O’Hara:

”Shearing is an art.”

So says Ariana Te Whata, of Mossburn, who was taking part with three other young women in a course run by Elite Shearer Training on the Dowling family’s farm near Gimmerburn last week.

Three of the women, Tatjiana Keefe, of Raupunga, Cheyenne Howden, of Feilding, and Ariana work for Dion Morrell Shearing. They all intend to go shearing full time.

Ariana grew up in a shearing shed and her parents, Vanessa and Mana Te Whata, are shearing contractors and run Shear Tech. Mr Te Whata is a champion competitive shearer.

”I love shearing,” Ariana said.

”I love the art of it and it is beautiful to watch. . . 

Promoting eucalypts– David HIll:

Gary Fleming’s efforts to advocate for the value of eucalyptus trees has been recognised.

The North Canterbury farmer was named South Island Farm Forester of the Year at the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association conference held in Rotorua.

‘‘It’s a good award to get, as it takes a fair bit of dedication,’’ Mr Fleming said.

‘‘There’s a lot of people in the South Island who grow trees and anybody in farm forestry can apply for it.’’

The North Canterbury branch chairman was nominated by his branch committee earlier this year, after missing a meeting due to illness. . . 

Food tourism helps farmers survive – Tim Fulton:

A group of Queensland farmers is making the most of food tourism, proving town and country can work in harness for culinary satisfaction.

Maleny calls itself a hinterland town though, by Australian standards, it’s only a skip from the big smoke.

Perched on the Blackall Range, about 40 minutes from Sunshine Coast beaches, the area catches day trippers on Queensland’s hinterland tourist drive. . . 

 

Love lamb week to encourage better use of carcase :

Yorkshire farmer’s daughter and Great British Menu chef Stephanie Moon is calling on chefs to make better use of the lamb carcase as the country prepares for Love Lamb Week.

The annual campaign, commencing from the 1st of September to the 7th, aims to change perceptions of when to eat lamb.

It highlights that the highest volume of UK product is actually available during the last six months of the year, despite many consumers typically choosing to enjoy lamb around Easter time.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) will be involved in the industry-wide campaign, alongside AHDB Beef & Lamb and other UK levy bodies. . . 

 


Rural round-up

August 29, 2019

The crisis of confidence undermining our primary industries is untenable – Todd Muller:

I have always held the view that families’ most honest conversations occur at the dinner table, often as the used plates wait to be returned to the bench and the wine is closer to the bottom of the glass.

As a child, I can recall my parents’ discussions, as they struggled with every waking effort to hold onto the kiwifruit orchard in the downturn of the early 1990s. Well New Zealand you need to know that the conversations happening in our rural homes across the country are the tensest in a generation.

There is a palpable sense of stress and unrelenting pressure. The sort that makes your guts churn, the sort that can and does lead to more tragic outcomes. Our primary industries and the families that work in them feel isolated and undervalued. For some it feels like being under attack. I am not prone to hyperbole, I use the word deliberately. . . .

Is there an emerging rural divide? – Julia Jones:

The success of the food and fibre sector will be defined by how well we can align and adapt, with the focus being the ‘whole’ sector, not competing subsectors, writes Julia Jones.

We hear lots of talk about the urban-rural divide, but of late, as I travel around the country, I find myself asking, “Is there is an emerging rural-rural divide?”

I’m fortunate to get to talk to a variety of people from a variety of subsectors in the food and fibre sector, and without fail someone within each group (from anywhere in the value chain) will mention that they see the sun setting on another subsector. . . 

Farmers band together to improve local waterway:

Finding the balance between making a profit and farming sustainably has always been at the forefront of Fonterra farmer Paul Warneford’s mind. 

“Swimming in our local rivers, white baiting, doing things us Kiwis love doing, while having a sustainable farming practice is the ultimate goal,” says Paul. 

In 2015, 12 dairy farmers started the Nukuhou North and Waiotahi River Streams Group, aiming to improve the sustainability of their farming operations.

The group was formed after Agri-ecology consultant Alison Dewes spoke to a group of farmers about sustainable farming and finding a sweet spot around environment, profit and production.  . .

Ensuring success of A&P shows – David Hill:

Sheep and cattle at A&P shows go together like candy-floss and Ferris wheels. Cattle have been missing at some shows recently in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak but are set to make a return at several Canterbury shows.

For the Canterbury A&P Association’s new president Chris Herbert, the inclusion of cattle is an important part of show day. It was often the only chance city folk had to get up close with sheep and cattle, reinforcing the importance of A&P shows in bringing together town and country.

Agricultural shows are essential to maintaining connections with urban communities, Chris Herbert says.

As he looks ahead to this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show, the Canterbury A&P Association president said the shows were often the only chance city folk had to get up close with sheep and cattle. . . 

Scales lifts 1H sales across all divisions, reaffirms annual guidance –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Agribusiness Scales Corporation reported revenue growth in all divisions in the first half and reiterated full-year guidance for increased underlying earnings.

The company said net profit for the six months to June 30 was $121.8 million versus $34.8 million in the same period a year earlier. The latest result includes gains on asset sales of $93.2 million.

Those divestments include the $151.4 million sale of Polarcold to Emergent Cold, which settled in May, for a gain of $73 million.  . .

Soil health field day brings sustainable solutions  to Marlborough viticulture industry :

A Soil Health Field Day, hosted by Wholesale Landscapes, will bring members of the viticulture industry together to discuss sustainable solutions for improved vineyard management.

Wholesale Landscapes has seen demand for high-quality compost and organic matter increase greatly recently, driven by Marlborough vineyard managers seeking sustainable ways to maximise grape yield, while also maintaining soil health. The Soil Health Field Day aims to provide growers with the most current information and tested solutions to specific challenges.

Soil health continues to be a critical issue for local growers, who are favoured with the terroir which produces the world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon, with its highly-popular and distinct flavour profiles. Giving back to these unique soils is central to vineyard management, and increasingly, the broader notions of sustainability are making an impact. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 21, 2019

FARMSTRONG: industry digests wellbeing lessons – Luke Chivers:

No one can be under pressure all the time, Farmstrong ambassador Sam Whitelock told farmers at Fieldays.

“Pressure is a good thing but only the right amount.”

“That right amount will change depending on what’s happening – whether you’re tired, you’re eating well or you’re sick.”

Whitelock, who grew up on a Manawatu farm, said locking in small improvements in lifestyle helps manage the ups and downs of farming.

“Rural wellness is a big deal right now. It’s growing in importance as demands and challenges increase on the rural community. . . 

Westland Milk shareholder Southern Pastures to abstain on Yili vote – Jamie Gray:

Westland Milk’s biggest shareholder, Southern Pastures, said it would abstain on the vote called to decide on whether the co-operative can be sold to China’s Yili.

Southern – an investment fund – said the move would allow West Coast farmer-shareholders to decide its future.

Hokitika-based Westland said in March that it had signed a conditional agreement for the sale of the co-op, which will see the Chinese dairy giant pay farmer-suppliers $3.41 a share. The deal is worth $588 million. . . 

Zespri signals profit growth, trims expected fruit and services payment – Gavin Evans

(BusinessDesk) – Kiwifruit marketer Zespri is forecasting annual profit growth of up to 7 percent.

The firm, which markets kiwifruit on behalf of 2,500 New Zealand growers and another 1,200 in Italy, Japan, Korea and France, is expecting net profit of $182-$192 million in the current year, including licence release income.

That is up from the $179.8 million net profit reported for the year ended March, which was a 77 percent increase from the year before as the firm shipped more fruit for better prices. Total trays sold climbed 21 percent to 167.2 million last year – 85 percent of which was New Zealand-grown green or gold kiwifruit. . . 

New lobby chairman: voice for farmers – David Hill:

 A new Federated Farmers dairy-farming leader hopes to be a voice for farmers.

Karl Dean was elected as the federation’s North Canterbury dairy chairman during the provincial annual meeting at Oxford in April, replacing Michael Woodward, who bought a farm in the North Island.

”It was sprung on me a little bit when Woody got a good opportunity up north.

”But I see it as a good way to get more involved and tackle some of the issues which are going to arise with climate change and make sure farmers are aware of the legislation, and that Feds are fighting it.’ . . 

Buy-back scheme must work for rural firearms owners:

The firearms buy-back process for what are now prohibited semi-automatic firearms must work for rural firearms owners, Federated Farmers says.

The process will require farmers to travel to collection points to hand over firearms and agree on the value of the surrendered firearm. A member survey showed that at least twenty percent of Feds members had a firearm impacted by the new regulations, and these owners will be looking for good access and a smooth process for the hand-over of firearms and payment of fair compensation.

“The sooner the details of the process, including the number and geographical spread of collection points/events, are clear the better,’’ Federated Farmers Rural Security Spokesperson Miles Anderson says. . . 

In farm children, I see virtues that one sees too rarely these days – Mitch Daniels:

Mitch Daniels, a Post contributing columnist, is president of Purdue University and a former governor of Indiana.

Along with the rise of women and the expansion of civil rights, the most important social transformation of America’s first quarter-millennium has been the triumph of modern agriculture over famine and the ceaseless, backbreaking effort simply to feed one’s self that had been the dominant fact of human life throughout history. Most of those who preceded us lived their entire lives on the farm. A little more than a century ago, a third of all Americans were farmers.

Successive revolutions in mechanization, horticulture and biotechnology have been an enormous blessing, enabling a tiny percentage of Americans — today fewer than 2 percent— to feed the rest of us and much of the world. Incalculable human talent has been liberated to invent all the other miracles we enjoy. We spend less of our income on food than any society ever. . .


Rural round-up

September 12, 2018

Methane narrative changes with less need for drastic action – Keith Woodford:

The recent note on methane emissions  put out by Parliamentary Commissioner Simon Upton in late August, and underpinned by a contracted research report written by Dr Andy Reisinger from the Government-funded New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC), will change the methane narrative. History will look back at Upton’s note as a fundamental contribution that moved the methane debate towards a logic-based science-informed position.

The key message is that short-lived gases such as methane do need to be considered differently than long-lived gases. That does not mean that they are unimportant. But lumping them together with long-lived carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide has led down false pathways . . 

Good to be ‘out there listening’ – Sally Rae:

Federated Farmers’ new chief executive Terry Copeland freely admits he is not a practical person.

Growing up, he was an “urban kid” with no connection to the primary industries, Mr Copeland (50) said. In fact, he had a music degree.

But he had huge respect and admiration for New Zealand’s farming sector and bemoaned how little the country’s food producers were  celebrated, the lack of acknowledgement being “appalling”.

One thing he said he did love was learning and — six weeks into the new role at the helm of the rural lobby group — he had been enjoying attending cluster meetings around the country. . .

Lamb losses likely after heavy rain in Wairarapa :

Stormy weather could not have come at a worst time for Wairarapa farmers, who are in the thick of lambing season.

From rural Masterton to Castlepoint, and down to the South Wairarapa coast, rain has interrupted lambing, with many farmers recording deaths already, along with saturated paddocks causing slips.

PGG Wrightson area livestock manager Steve Wilkinson said the past few days of rain were “a real shame“. . .

 

Access free-for-all grates with farmers:

Common courtesy and sound workplace and biosecurity safety practice is thrown out the window with proposed new employment laws reported back to Parliament this week, Federated Farmers says.

“There’s been little or no fuss with current laws that enable union representatives to enter a farm or any other workplace to talk to workers after liaising with the owner or manager about a suitable time,” Feds employment spokesman Chris Lewis says. . .

LambEx shows kiwis the future – Annette Scott:

Home from the 2018 LambEx conference in Perth, Beef + Lamb New Zealand-sponsored sheep industry ambassadors Katey Craig and David Ingham are firing hot.

The young generation farmers are excited to share their lessons with fellow farmers and looking forward to being a part of their home country hosting LambEx 2019.

While in Australia the pair also visited several farms to study new systems on a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide. . .

A&P President: young people crucial – David Hill:

He might be the youngest show president, but Tim Black says attracting even younger people is essential to ensuring the future of A&P shows.

Mr Black, aged 44, is the Canterbury A&P Association’s youngest show president.

He is keen to promote wool and encourage more young people to get involved as he looks ahead to the rebranded New Zealand Agricultural Show in November.

”It’s been a great thing for me to be involved in and I would like to see a lot more young people involved. . .

50-Year Plan Needed for Farming Confidence

New Zealand farmers need to take a long-term view if they are to meet the freight train of compliance requirements and other changes heading their way.

Recent farming confidence surveys show a decline in confidence from the rural sector, with Federated Farmers’ results revealing regulation and compliance remain top worries for farmers, along with uncertainty around the future of water regulations under the Government.

Bridgit Hawkins, ReGen CEO, says the farming sector is coming under increasing pressure and the confidence survey results echo what she hears on the farm. . . .

NZ wineries look to continue their stellar performance in the Sydney International Wine Competition – entries for 39th Competition set to close on 21 September:

Entry to the 39th Sydney International Wine Competition – the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food – is set to close on 21 September.

After a record year of production in many wine regions, entries to the Sydney International have been flowing in from all districts in Australia and New Zealand and from major wine producers in Europe. Entries to the Competition are capped at a total of 2000 wines to ensure the most rigorous judging process. . .


Rural round-up

July 17, 2018

Frustration leads to success – Neal Wallace:

John Falconer makes something of an understatement describing his Central Otago deer farm business as diverse. Neal Wallace visits the Falconers’ Clachanburn Station in the Maniototo, a farmer who says he is benefiting from two generations of careful deer breeding.

The stencilled 1988 on a shed wall at Clachanburn Station in Central Otago is more than a piece of graffiti or a casual reference to a year last century.

It marks the year John Falconer’s parents, Charles and Jane, started progressively replacing sheep with deer on the property near Patearoa in the Maniototo Basin. . .

Couple offer tips for the hive minded -David Hill:

Producing honey can be a sweet addition to farm income, but there are some sticky regulations to comply with.

Culverden farmers Dan and Mandy Shand shared their experiences of running a 2000 hive operation on their 7000ha high country farm, Island Hills Station, at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s northern South Island farmer council ”FarmSmart” conference last week.

Before returning home to the family farm, Mrs Shand was a scuba diving instructor, while Mr Shand was a software developer. . .

Women in Wine launch pilot national mentoring programme:

A nationwide mentoring programme has been launched to help women within the New Zealand wine industry achieve success.

It’s an initiative of Women in Wine, which was launched by New Zealand Winegrowers in 2017.

Women in any role within the wine industry were welcomed to apply to be a mentor or mentee in June. Applications were then assessed by a selection panel and, after careful consideration, suitable mentor-mentee matches were made. . .

Matt Gomm named first Gisborne Young Fruit Grower:

Matt Gomm, orchard leader at the Burnside Trust, has been named as the first ever Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year at a gala awards dinner on Thursday night.

Some of the best young horticulturalists in Gisborne took part in the competition at Kaiaponi Farms yesterday. The event saw contestants facing a series of challenges designed to test their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including fencing, biosecurity, and tractor safety. They also delivered a speech to a crowd of 110 people at the White House, including Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, on the importance of innovation and technology in fruit growing. . .

Sustainability and Traceability key themes for Apiculture New Zealand Conference, Sunday 22 to Tuesday 24 July, Blenheim:

Beekeepers, packers, processors, and affiliated businesses from the apiculture industry are gearing up for the Apiculture New Zealand National Conference and Trade Exhibition, opening next Sunday, 22 July in Blenheim.

The three-day conference is filled with presentations and workshops from apiculture experts all over New Zealand and the world. International keynote speakers include Sue Cobey, David Mendes, and Alisha Taff, who are all travelling from the United States to speak to Kiwi delegates. Find their bios, along with the list of local speakers here. . .

Brexit and agriculture – Richard Corbett:

Leaving the EU will presumably mean leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

It is claimed that replacing the CAP could be an opportunity for the UK to develop an agricultural policy which promotes competitive and environmentally sustainable farming better than the CAP does, by reducing direct payments to farmers and increasing subsidies for public goods (such as environmental stewardship and high animal welfare standards). It could also be an opportunity to think afresh about how to create a more resilient, innovative and effective agricultural sector.

It is indeed easy to make a list of desirable changes, though one person’s wish list may be another’s hate-list. And securing support for continued farming subsidies from an overwhelmingly urban electorate is likely to produce its own particular tensions, as my colleague Paul Brannen has explored. . . 

 


Rural round-up

June 9, 2017

 Holy cow! Port dairy herd back in action  – Sally Rae:

Lulu, Lilly and Louisa are nearly back in business.
Port Chalmers dairy farmer Merrall MacNeille was distraught when he booked his beloved cows for slaughter a year ago, after a heifer tested positive for tuberculosis and he was ordered to stop selling raw milk.

He later changed his mind and decided to keep his herd, even though there was no financial return from them.

Now Mr MacNeille and his wife Alex are awaiting sign-off from the Ministry of Primary Industries which will allow them to sell pasteurised milk. . . .

Gallagher and AgResearch explore fence-less farming – Gerard Hutching:

Stock will soon be kept in check without a wire in sight – that’s the promise of technology being developed in Australia with New Zealand investment partners.

The eShepherd technology works by placing a GPS-enabled collar on an animal, “virtually” fencing off an area and training the stock to stay within the boundary.

Ian Reilly of Australian company Agersens has teamed up with Gallagher NZ which is a strategic investor and sits on the board. AgResearch and Agersens have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to trial the technology on New Zealand farms. . .

Gumboot takeover 40 years strong  – Sudesh Kissun:

Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell doesn’t want the co-op to be labeled “a fertiliser business and a polluter”.
“If we are getting those messages, we have failed,” he told Rural News.

Instead, Campbell wants Ravensdown known as an agri service business “that happens to use products that protect the environment and the social license to operate”.

“We want to turn the conversation around — from ‘polluters’ to ‘we understand and value what you do and we won’t sell products that will have negative outcomes’.” . .

Demand pushes butter prices to record high – Sally Rae;

Butter prices set a record high of $US5631 per metric tonne in this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, reinforcing the increasing demand for milk fats.

Overall dairy prices lifted 0.6%, although key product whole milk powder fell 2.9% as expected. Anhydrous milk fat (AMF) prices also retreated from an auction record high, falling 1.2%.

A surge in global demand for milk fats could largely be attributed to an acknowledgement by the scientific community that fats were no longer as bad for health as once feared, ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said. . . 

Teamwork best Doc says – David Hill:

Collaboration is the way forward for conservation.

Speaking at Federated Farmers’ South Island High Country Conference on Friday, May 26, at Hanmer Springs, Department of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson said collaboration between environmentalists, farmers and government was the best way forward.

”We often hear the criticism that Doc is completely missing in the advocacy area, but I would prefer to sit down and talk about things rather than go to the Environment Court – collaboration is where it happens.

”How do we get a common agreement as a country and make use of the latest science? This is what we would rather see happening than Doc telling you what to do.” . .

Century farmer prefers sheep and beef – Tony Benny:

As many of his neighbours turn to dairy grazing or even convert to dairying, a South Canterbury farmer has stuck with sheep and beef, carrying on a family tradition that goes back 100 years. He talked to Tony Benny.

As many of his neighbours turn to dairy grazing or even convert to dairying, South Canterbury farmer John Crawford has stuck with sheep and beef, carrying on a family tradition that goes back 100 years.

Crawford’s grandfather, also named John, bought the farm he named Kaika Downs in 1916, a few years after the vast Levels Estate where he’d previously worked as a shepherd was broken up.

He farmed the property near Cave, 20km inland of Timaru, South Canterbury, for 35 years, before his sons Norman and Keith, John junior’s father, took over.  . . 

 

 


Quotes of the year

December 31, 2013

“It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince. . . “ Prince Harry.

. . . Whether it is in sport, business, agriculture, the arts, science and the creative industries, or in international fora such as peacekeeping, New Zealanders have repeatedly shown their talent, tenacity, flair and commitment.

That legacy of the new way of doing things was well put by New Zealander and Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide chief executive Kevin Roberts a few years ago when he said: “We were the last to be discovered and the first to see the light. This makes us one of the great experimental cultures. We try things first. Whether it’s votes for women, the welfare state or the market economy, powered flight, nuclear physics, anti-nuclearism, biculturalism. First-isms. The New in New Zealand is our reason to exist.” Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

”I like to cook meat, except for chicken. To me chicken’s like a ladies’ meat, so it’s more of a vegetable.” Jonny Trevathan, Master Chef entrant.

By 1984 the economy was in a mess, and I hope history will record more positively the decisive actions of both the Lange-Douglas Labour Government and the Bolger-Richardson National Government that followed. The resilience of the New Zealand economy during the recent global downturn owes much to the courage of those Cabinets, at least in their early years, putting New Zealand’s very real needs ahead of political considerations in pursuing necessary reform. – Lockwood Smith

As a former Commonwealth Scholar in Science, I have often regretted that I never got involved in that area during my time here. Science and technology have been so crucial to the advancement of human well-being, yet scientists are a rare breed in politics. Internationally, there is something of a disconnect between the two. In politics, for example, green is the claimed colour of sustainability. Yet in science, the very reason we perceive plants to be green is that they reflect green light. They cannot use it. It is red and blue light that sustain most of our living world. Lockwood Smith

Some commentators assess members on how successfully they play the political game. But to me what sets a member of Parliament apart is how much they care about the impact of the State on an ordinary person, and how far they are prepared to go in representing people whose lives can be so knocked around by the actions of the State. Lockwood Smith

This House, in so many ways, has become a place of political parties rather than a House of Representatives. I am not for one moment trying to make a case for the old system, but I do believe there will come a time when we will need to re-examine that balance of accountabilities. Representation is enhanced when members have to help ordinary people in their local communities, many of whom may never have voted for them. Lockwood Smith.

We aren’t scientists we are farmers, we choose not to debate the science but work hard to deal with changing weather patterns. Bruce Wills.

Anyway, credit where credit is due. The Labour Party has finally adopted one of the very sensible policies of the National Government, and that is the mixed-ownership model. That is right. These days, the Labour Party is 51 percent owned by Labour and 49 percent owned by the Greens. Yes, these two parties have come together in this happy little place, where fruit meets loop. John Key.

. . . Kids who read stay out of jail (unless they grow up to be financial investment directors). Reading gives them words. Words give them the ability to express and clarify themselves to others. How many young guys end up in strife because they don’t have the vocab to explain what they’re doing, and so they move from incoherence to frustration to violence?

Reading helps young people come to terms with themselves and their issues. . .  David Hill

“Oh my god, another cross to bear,” Tim Shadbolt on being told  he was the most trusted mayor in the country in a Readers Digest poll.

. . . The response that students gave to Christchurch is phenomenal, and it only was thanks to a really strong team of people who all were able to bring their individual skills to something.  . . .  just like young people right around New Zealand – all specialising in different areas, focusing on what they’re good at, being willing to be wrong, being willing to ask for help and fundamentally believing that change is possible, that you can look at things in a different way, no matter what level of society you’re on.  It’s our philosophy – the skill of the unskilled.  I sit at a lot of conferences, and I’m the only one without a PhD, but we say, ‘What about this idea?  What about this idea?  Where are we going?  Are we fundamentally doing things that are right and taking our country and world in a good direction?’ . . .Sam Johnson

. . . You know, Christchurch is still in a position that it’s hard there for a lot of people, but it’s also— the group of people that I am with every day through Volunteer Army Foundation, the Ministry of Awesome, we are— we love Christchurch, and you couldn’t pay us to move anywhere else, because of the innovation, the excitement.  You know, population numbers are up in Christchurch, and we are going to be a— it’s a strong place to be. . .  Sam Johnson

. . . I focus on doing things that I love.  I focus on surrounding myself with people much more intelligent than myself and people who can really make things happen, building strong teams.  I think that’s the philosophy we take in Christchurch.  We specialise in different areas with what we’re good at and focus on that. Sam Johnson

One witness was asked to identify an accused by describing the man’s tattoos. I applauded his response. “I can’t really describe his tattoos. They were a load of rubbish. They looked like the graffiti on a public dunny wall.” District Court Judge Russell Callander

“You’ve got to have a reason for getting up in the morning and I firmly believe retirement has killed more farmers than farming.” – Ted Ford

A Government should not be relied upon to create jobs. To bolster our economy and growth, we need the private sector to be creating jobs in the tradeables sector.

Whether they are high-earning export roles, or an entry level company, it is the job of entrepreneurs. Government’s role is to put in place the right conditions for economic growth, so companies can feel comfortable about expanding, growing, or just starting out in the business world.

Local government also has a role, through having plans for economic growth and development that encourage businesses and don’t stifle their creativity. Eric Roy

Politics is a two-stage process: first you’re sworn in, then, inevitably, eventually, you’re sworn at. Denis Welch.

There is rarely any danger of overestimating Labour Party stupidity. Having described myself recently as ‘a sentimental socialist’, I’m inclined to think that sentiment may be the main, and possibly the only reason for my ongoing belief in an organism genetically predisposed to push the self-destruct button when faced with the slightest glimmer of electoral success. . .   Brian Edwards.

. . . within 48 hours it looks very much to us as if it is just another David, another day, and another step to the left, as we see the disloyalty in the Labour caucus slowly beginning to foment. Gerry Brownlee.

But now, of course, under the new leader of the Labour Party, the pledge card, like his CV, will be a living document—kind of like the Treaty but without the principles.Bill English

“We were given opportunities in Mangere. Education unlocks opportunities you would not otherwise have.” – Sam Lotu-Iiga MP

The big, bad thing is that large parts of the Left have never faced up to the failure of socialism. The nicer Leftists, often very belatedly, deplored Stalin and Mao – the purges, the Gulags, the famines, the invasions. The more intelligent ones detected certain (let us put it gently) problems with state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Yet when, in 1989, the Berlin Wall was knocked down by the citizens in whose name it had been erected, few could admit that this was a defeat for socialism as fundamental as that of Nazism in 1945. . . Charles Moore

Arts degrees are awesome. And they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook: you won’t find it and you’ll bugger up your soufflé. Tim Minchin

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.
Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts. Tim Minchin

Parliament applauded Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker Prize for her book ‘The Luminaries’ when it resumed today.

Prime Minister John Key said the success should be celebrated by New Zealanders as much as they did sporting victories. Catton’s feat in becoming the youngest winner of the prize at 28, came as 16 year old Lorde topped the US charts with her music showing New Zealand was blessed with strong, creative young women. Parliament Today

“You guys have spent your careers trying to analyse what he says and you’ve got more sense out of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. He talks in riddles, he doesn’t stick to what he says, it’s a waste of time having discussions that are about a bottom line.

“There are no bottom lines with Winston Peters. He will do a deal with who he feels like doing a deal with.” John Key

Not so much a political honeymoon as a naughty weekend with the floating voters. – Vernon Small on David Cunliffe.

. . . Girls dress for other girls. They dress to fit in. They dress to be part of a group. They want to be respected and they want to be liked. They want to be beautiful. They dress to impress. They copy their celebrity idols. These might well be fashion crimes, but short skirts and cleavage don’t signal a willingness to be victimised.

New Zealand is internationally rated as one of the best countries to be a woman. This year, we celebrated 120 years of women winning the right to vote.

With that goes the right to not be abused. Judith Collins

. . . considering I’m probably in the 10% of New Zealanders who pay 70% of the tax, considering I’m a self-employed business owner with farming interests and considering I still bear the farming scars from some incredibly short-sighted, militant union behaviour in the 1970s and 80s, why would I vote Labour now?

There’s nothing for me in their policies of higher tax, greater environmental and economic handbrakes for farming and re-unionising the workforce. Farming Show host Jamie Mackay on Labour after its leader refused to appear on the show in case he was laughed at.

. . . For the farmer, the business person, the property owner, and the financial investor it’s all pretty straightforward. What’s in it for National’s electoral base is economic growth, low inflation, reduced taxation and a reasonable rate-of-return. What they’re not looking for is more economic regulation, higher taxes, rising prices or inflationary wage demands.

Getting the attention of those who feel that their stake in New Zealand society is much too meagre to matter is a considerably more daunting task. Chris Trotter

There is a saying that you do not beat New Zealand – you just get more points than them at the final whistle. – Sir Ian McGeechan

“I don’t really believe in Great — insert a country — Novels,” she said. “I don’t see how you can reconcile that with diversity, and I think the diversity is the most important thing in any national literature.” Eleanor Catton

I knew it would never be about zeroes. I’m not a spreadsheet with hair; will never be. I am an artist, an author, with a hunger for showing people what I can do and a talent for making people turn my name into a call while they’re waiting front row. It’s me. I’m here. – Lorde

Imagine if Nelson Mandela was as angry as John Minto when he got out of prison” – Josie Pagani on ‘The Huddle

Beyond the All Blacks being unbeaten for a whole season, and Emirates Team New Zealand coming second in a two-boat race, what put New Zealand on the world’s front pages in 2013 was a novel, a song and a film. – Hamish Keith

It’s one of the oldest cliches in politics – that perception is reality. In other words, if enough of us are convinced that what we think we see is real, then it may as well be real. Even if it’s not. Tim Watkins

I find it fascinating that if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the gold out of the ground and plant a forest, suddenly you’re an eco-terrorist. There’s no consistency in that. – Colin Craig

“Tasmanian Devils are renowned for their big mouths, bad behaviour and noisiness, so they will fit in well with the nation’s politicians in the capital,” Nick Smith

I totally disagree with it. If you’re going to earn money, you earn it. You’re given it by your productivity.” – Sir John Walker on the living wage.

Science is not a bunch of facts. Scientists are not people trying to be prescriptive or authoritative. Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organising our curiosity. It’s easier, at a dinner party, to say ”science” than to say ”the incremental acquisition of understanding through observation, humbled by an acute awareness of our tendency towards bias”. Douglas Adams said: ”I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.”

Science is not the opposite of art, nor the opposite of spirituality – whatever that is – and you don’t have to deny scientific knowledge in order to make beautiful things. On the contrary, great science writing is the art of communicating that ”awe of understanding”, so that we readers can revel in the beauty of a deeper knowledge of our world. Tim Minchin

. . . Remember the Government’s $30 million cash injection to secure the immediate future of Tiwai Point?  That helped to protect 3,200 jobs and the smelter’s $1.6 billion annual contribution to the Southland economy. Dairying doesn’t need such support, but in 2009, it injected over $700 million into the Southland economy and employed over 2,300 people.  Dairying may not be number one here but we’re a pretty important second that’s become more important over the past four years. . . Russell MacPherson

All of us pay for some of us to indulge romantic dreams about trains or to feed fanciful beliefs that the government owns these “assets which are valuable”

This stuff is not silver its rust… the best performers can’t perform without laws which force revenue into their pockets, the worst performers are a receivers dream.

Genuine concern for the poor would not see government owning commercial assets. Eye to the Long Run

. . . If from the time their children could read, parents had introduced them to newspapers, as certainly happened when I was young, rather than addiction to idiotic texting, they would, instead, be addicted to the world in all of its wide-ranging fascination and zaniness (the human factor), as delivered to us daily in the newspaper.

It’s a shame as nothing matches the daily newspaper for sheer stimulation, education, and entertainment value for money. Take a recent Dominion Post. First the pleasure of its crosswords and tussling over the wordgame, this after quickly scanning the front page for later reading. Each news item induced a full spectrum of emotions, from rage to delight, in the latter case from the splendid heading, “Mr Whippy frozen with fear by chainsaw wielding cross-dresser”. That alone was worth the price of the paper and was promptly dispatched to friends abroad. These texting obsessives don’t know what they’re missing. . .  –  Bob Jones

. . .  Seemingly the first duty on rising every morning for Remuerites is to go outside and rake up the $100 notes that have fallen like confetti on them overnight. It must be very tiresome.  . . Bob Jones

. . . But as you go through life when you run into a brick wall, you’ve just got to knock the bastard over. – Sir Peter Leitch.

 


Kids who read stay out of jail

June 18, 2013

Quote of the day:

. . . Kids who read stay out of jail (unless they grow up to be financial investment directors). Reading gives them words. Words give them the ability to express and clarify themselves to others. How many young guys end up in strife because they don’t have the vocab to explain what they’re doing, and so they move from incoherence to frustration to violence?

Reading helps young people come to terms with themselves and their issues. . . David Hill


The Wahine disaster

April 10, 2010

It’s 42 years since New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster – the sinking of the Wahine with the loss of 52 lives plus another who died later as a result of injuries.

When I was learning to scuba dive a decade later the instructor emphasised the importance of gripping our buoyancy vests by the neck and pulling them down as we jumped into the water. He ensured we remembered by telling us that some of the Wahine passengers had died of broken necks caused by the force of life jackets lifting when they hit the water.

The human story behind the numbers is portrayed realistialcly and sensitively in David Hill’s novel No Safe Harbour.

PM of NZ posts on Cyclone Giselle which caused the storm which sank the ferry, caused other deaths and widespread damage.

Keeping Stock posts Lest We Forget.


See Ya Simon

October 4, 2009

 David Hill has a gift for creating believable characters and writing about sad or difficult situations in a matter of fact way.

See Ya, Simon is the story of a teenager with muscular told by one of his friends. It is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but never mawkish, sensitive but not sentimental. It’s not a conventional happily-ever-after story, but it isn’t depressing either.

It is one of the books I re-read at least once a year and each time I read it I get more from it.

You can read more about Hill here.

 dairy 10003

Post 4 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

Deborah who has also accepted the challenge at In A Strange Land has posted on Sea Secrets by Dawn McMillan, Illustrated by Julia Crouth.


Tuesday’s answers

June 30, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. What is the morse code  for SOS?

2. What the the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell named?

3. Who said: “In my view the welfare state was not conceived for the middle class and yet it is increasingly captured by them.”?

4. Who wrote See Ya Simon?

5.  Where is this World Heritage site, which is , from memory but open to correction,  the southernmost  northern most date palm grove in the World?

palms

At time of writing (9am) no-one has got all five answers but that’s because 3 was hard and I got my directions mixed up with 5 – it’s northern most not southern.

I offer an electronic posey to all who tried by way of apology.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


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