Rural round-up

December 17, 2019

Ag-Proud founder says rural-urban goodwill already exists – Logan Savory:

Ag-Proud founder John Douglas says they have discovered there is more goodwill, when it comes to New Zealand’s rural and urban folk, than initially thought.

Douglas, along with three others in the Southland farming sector – Jon Pemberton, Jason Herrick, and Jason Checketts – setup Ag-Proud in August.

The point of the organisation was to try to develop some goodwill between those in the rural farming sector and those in the cities. . . 

Making change for the better – Deborah Rhodes:

Farmers are change adaptive, we can make change for the better. When we see a problem we fix it, when something is broken we rebuild it.

Heritage farmers have focused not just on change but improvements for the better, of knowing the challenges and taking them on.

When we see neighbours and locals in need, we wrap around them, when we need labour we provide them with on farm housing because that is what farmers do, and that is what we will keep doing. . .

Expert sees apple varieties blossom and fade over time:

John Wilton starts each day with an apple – and he knows which ones to choose.

John’s been a horticultural consultant for 57 years and was MAF’s national pipfruit and summer fruit specialist for 15 years.

Carol Stiles headed out to an orchard with John to hear about the state of the apple industry and the changes growers have seen.

When John started working on apple orchards in 1962, most of the trees had been planted before WW1. . . 

Gisborne forestry firm fined, council’s lack of action ‘irresponsible’:

A Gisborne forestry company has been fined $152,000 for contributing logging debris that caused millions of dollars of damage during two heavy rainfall events.

Juken New Zealand is one of 10 companies prosecuted by Gisborne District Council after tonnes of debris – known as slash – washed onto farms, roads and waterways in June last year.

In his sentencing notes, Judge Brian Dwyer said Gisborne District Council’s failure to monitor Juken is reprehensible and irresponsible, and it failed to meet its obligations by ensuring the company kept to its consent conditions. . . 

Manawatu strategy wins award :

The Manawatu Agritech Strategy, created by the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) and Sprout, has won the Best Practice Award for Integrated Planning at Economic Development New Zealand’s annual Wellbeing and Prosperity Awards.

The award was presented at the Economic Development New Zealand delivering inclusive growth conference. Ten organisations were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the wellbeing and prosperity of their communities.

“Having the Manawatu Agritech Strategy recognised for integrated planning is a testament to the leadership, people and organisations in the region who were involved in its creation. This is a win for all of us,” CEDA chief executive Linda Stewart said. . . 

Animal feeding testing upgrade:

New Zealand feed manufacturers are lifting their game when it comes to quality and safety of their products.

New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) has introduced a new risk management programme that sees significant upgrades to the auditing and testing conducted by feed manufacturers.

The move comes as more imported non-grain ingredients arrive in the country. . . 

Top women wanted :

A celebration of women who make outstanding contributions to the dairy industry enters its ninth year as nominations for the 2020 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year are now open.

The prestigious award, which celebrates the outstanding leadership of women in the business of dairy, was established in 2012 by the Dairy Women’s Network as a key strand in its support of women in their leadership journeys through providing inspiration, learning and education.

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Jules Benton said she was inspired by the high calibre of last year’s finalists and is looking forward to see who will be nominated for the 2020 awards. . .


Basics before bright lights

January 29, 2018

The Auckland Harbour Bridge has became a multimedia stage for a massive light and sound show:

Ninety thousand LED lights and 100 floodlights beamed and flashed from the Harbour Bridge in time with original music, delighting thousands who packed viewing points around the city to watch.

Every visible beam, arch, pile, girder, strut and pylon lit up for a six-minute show which was repeated at 9.30pm, then every half hour until midnight. . . 

Vector has committed $10 million to the project for installation and maintenance costs over the next 10 years.

Bridge authorities New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council have also committed funding. . . 

The show may well be spectacular but if I was a ratepayer I’d be asking why the council was spending money on bright lights when it’s basic infrastructure is failing:

Four homes have been evacuated in the Auckland suburb of Milford after a burst sewage pipe spilt waste through local properties.

A fire service spokeswoman said they were called to the scene on Shakespeare Rd at 2.40am on Sunday after receiving reports of a water leak.

Upon arrival, the water leak was found to be a burst sewage pipe and Auckland Council was notified. . . 

Safeswim has issued a long-term no-swimming warning near the Wairau Creek outlet due to its “high risk” and has further advised people not to swim on Milford Beach. . . 

There is constant bad publicity about the impact of dairy farming on rivers in spite of the fact that farmers have collectively spent millions of dollars ensuring they are not polluting watersway and most problems now are due to the lag-effect from poor practices in the past.

Farmers have responded to the pressure to clean up their acts but councils are being far too slow to sort out urban water issues.

Queenstown Lakes District Council has been fined $37,500 for discharging raw sewage into the protected Kawarau River and criticised for systems that allowed it to happen.

The judge’s written decision said the Queenstown Lakes District Council pleaded guilty to discharging contaminants to land that then entered water.

It said a jetboat driver on the Kawarau River, near Frankton, smelt the sewage on February 20, 2017.

He smelt it again the next day, investigated and found discoloured water entering the river.

“There were solids and paper particles floating in the water,” the judge said.

The material was found to be entering the river through a blocked district council stormwater drain.

“It appears that the wastewater system had been deliberately designed and constructed by the district council so that any overflow of wastewater would go into the stormwater system,” Judge Dwyer said. . . 

It would be better for councils to spend money on the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure than fines for breaches.

That is a far higher priority than light and sound shows.


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