Rural round-up

May 11, 2019

Forget the avengers, farmers are the real heroes – Nigel Malthus:

Farmers are the world’s real superheroes, says Rabobank executive Marc Oostdijk.

Launching Rabobank’s recent FoodX programme, which aims to introduce high school students to career paths in the food industry, Oostdijk says world population is expected to reach 9 or 10 billion by 2050.

“That’s massive, and to grow food and fibres for them is a massive challenge.” . . 

Mental health help ‘there if you ask’ – farmer who faced Mycoplasma bovis cull for months:

A Southland farmer whose farm suffered through a cull because of Mycoplasma bovis says emotional support is available for those who need it – especially farmers, who might be scared to ask for help. 

It comes as two senior rural support workers, hired to help farmers cope with losing their stock, quit over what they say has been a poor response by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

Southland farmer Ben Walling told First Up he was forced to cull 1700 calves after his farm became infected. . .

Health bus nearly ready to roll – Yvonne O’Hara:

The new Women’s Health Bus (Te Waka Wahine Hauora) is expected to arrive in the Otago and Southland region next month, service co-founder Dr Helen Paterson, of Dunedin, says.

The non-profit mobile health service has been in the planning stages for about two years, but last year obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Paterson and Junction Health practice co-owner and practice nurse Alice van Zijl, of Cromwell, ordered the purpose-built vehicle from a specialist Whangaparaoa building firm.

Dr Paterson said the health bus would provide women’s health services, including cervical screening and contraception, to women in Otago and Southland’s rural and isolated communities. . .

Frame & Macey: Two-basket approach no free ride for farmers – Dave Frame & Adrian Macey:

A two-basket approach to climate policy is perfectly sensible and would be anything but a free ride to farmers. Recent assertions to the contrary by Jim Salinger and Raymond Desjardins suggest they may have misunderstood both the recent climate science and the policy logic that has led both the Productivity Commission and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to recommend two-basket approaches.

The first and simplest point to note is that the world has actually used a multi-basket approach to climate policy before. The Montreal Protocol worked pretty well – on some estimates it was more successful at lowering greenhouse gas emissions than the Kyoto Protocol. Montreal was based on a multi-basket approach. There’s nothing inherently better about a one-basket approach to policy, and the reverse is probably true if the residence times of different pollutants span a large range. . .

In a remote South Island valley, birdsong returns – David Williams:

Twenty-one years of intensive pest control in the Landsborough Valley is paying off. David Williams reports.

Colin O’Donnell ambles towards the edge of silver beech forest near the Landsborough River, drawn by the high-pitched, repetitive call of a mohua. It’s a call the Department of Conservation ecologist has been following for more than 30 years.

Ford Flat, overlooked by the Solution Range of mountains, is a common place to wait for the river to recede. In sections of the forest above there’s an ominous ripple of red – signs of a coming mast seeding. Swirling sandflies are ever-present and insistent.

“While it’s there I might just cheat,” O’Donnell says of the chattering mohua, producing from his pocket a portable speaker loaded with bird calls. “It might not work but we’ll give it a go.” . .

Special occasion for fans of hunt – Sally Rae:

He might be ”just a little” over 80 but evergreen Central Otago Hunt master Glynne Smith is showing no signs of slowing down.

Yesterday, Mr Smith was galloping across farmland near Moa Creek, in the Ida Valley, filling the position he has held for the past 30 years.

As master, he was ultimately responsible for the running of the hunt day, and yesterday’s was particularly special for him.

It was the first hunt in Central Otago Hunt’s 30th anniversary programme, which includes four hunts, the South Island hound show and several social functions. . .


Opt-out contraception for all girls overkill

July 2, 2015

Health researchers have suggested long-term contraception be provided for all teenage girls before they become sexually active:

In an article in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Neil Pickering and Dr Lynley Anderson from the university’s Bioethics Centre and Dr Helen Paterson from its Department of Women’s and Children’s Health say teen pregnancy places significant costs on the individual and society, and is associated with higher perinatal mortality.

“We also know the children of teen pregnancies do poorly in statistics related to poverty, imprisonment and teen pregnancy.

“In a worryingly large number of cases, pregnancy in the teenage years is bad for the teenager, is bad for the child of the teenager and it is bad for both of them during the whole pregnancy. Obviously that also impacts on society.”

That isn’t controversial but the suggested solution is:

Dr Paterson says teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in New Zealand have improved recently, possibly since the LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) Jadelle became funded by Pharmac five years ago.

“If you use withdrawal as a method, pregnancy rates are 22 per cent per annum. If you use condoms it is 18 per cent, if you use the pill it is 9 per cent, and if you use a LARC it is 0.5 per cent.”

Dr Pickering says there is a good case for making it an opt-out programme which provides adolescents with the opportunity to have a LARC, rather than having to go and seek care.

“For a programme to be effective you need to get as many people involved as possible and an opt-out programme seems to be more effective. You still get the right to say no and in terms of justice it treats everybody the same.”

There is an alternative view:

. . . Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says most young women aren’t having sex before they turn 16.

“We’re overkilling it putting implants in people who aren’t intending to or aren’t having sex,” she told NZ Newswire. . .

Family Planning is much more interested in ensuring there are good services and contraceptive options available to young women, Ms Edmond said. . .

The conversation around contraception also needs to extend to the role of young men.

“They need information around choices and access to services,” Ms Edmond said.

“It’s not just girls who are having to manage (fertility).” . . .

And it’s not just pregnancy that is the only unwanted consequence of sex.

LARC might be an effective contraceptive but it would not protect people from sexually transmitted diseases nor the emotional trauma that can follow early and casual relationships.

Then there’s the question of ethics in prescribing anything for all young women, most of whom don’t need it.

Health researchers might not be concerned about the moral dimension of this issue but would there not also be a danger of normalising early sexual experience?

Or have we come to a time when legal, moral, or not, that doesn’t matter?


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