‘When do we stop talking and start doing?’

February 13, 2019

The Prime Minister has promised this is the year the government will deliver, but what and when?

The Mental Health Working group delivered its report and the government’s response is more working groups:

The 21-member working group set up to advise the government’s response to the mental health inquiry has been replaced with several more working groups.

But mental health advocates have said the process runs the risk of unnecessarily repeating the inquiry. . . 

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson raised concerns.

“Part of our feedback was you have to be really clear what it is you’re asking people, otherwise this could look like the inquiry is just carrying on. When do we stop talking and start doing? . . 

Working groups are beginning to look like mushrooms – breeding in the dark.

The question on when the government stops talking and starts doing applies to a lot of other areas where action is needed and words are all we’re getting.

Take the Prime Minister’s address last week.  It had lots of fine words but not a single concrete policy.

Contrast that with National leader Simon Bridge’s first address of the year which had clear and coherent policy on inflation indexing tax brackets.

 

 


On World Mental Health Day

October 11, 2018

Everyone has bad moments, bad days, bad times. Some people feel they are having a bad life.

We can’t easily see when someone’s heart is bleeding; we can’t bandage mental wounds and we can’t put broken spirits in splints.

But mental health problems can be as serious as physical ones and you can no more lift the black clouds of depression by bucking up, thinking positive or following any of the other well-intentioned exhortations than you can heal a physical injury or illness that way.

This is Mental Health Awareness week   and this year’s theme is:  Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao kia whakapakari tōu oranga!

If you or someone you know needs help The Mental Health Foundation has a list of helplines, websites and other resources here and  Farmstrong has a list of places to go for help here.

For less serious issues there’s always Leunig:

 

What are you doing? I’m using my device. What is your device? My device is the sky. Does your device have many applications? Yes. It has sun, moon, clouds and birds. ANd do you have to recharge your device very often? I don’t ever have to recharge my device, It recharges me.

And Twitter:

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Rural round-up

August 15, 2015

Central Plains Water irrigation scheme opens in Canterbury:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the official opening of Stage 1 of the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury today, which has the potential to create more than $1 billion in new economic activity.

The Central Plains Water Enhancement Scheme, when completed, will irrigate 60,000 hectares of dairy, arable, horticulture and stock finishing land between the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers.

“This is an exciting day for the Canterbury region, given that farmers and growers have suffered through a severe drought this year. This shows the clear need for this kind of water storage project. . . 

INZ applauds Central Plains Water for providing farmers reliable water for diversification and efficiency:

“Today marks a big step for irrigation infrastructure in New Zealand. Central Plains Water will help sustain Canterbury,” says Nicky Hyslop, Chair of IrrigationNZ on the official opening of New Zealand’s largest irrigation scheme for some years, by the Prime Minister John Key.

Mrs Hyslop attended the opening with IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Access to reliable water is particularly important at the moment during a dairy downturn as it will allow farmers to diversify and weather the storm,” says Mrs Hyslop. . . 

Fonterra cuts back GDT whole milk powder by a third over the next year – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, is reducing by a third the amount of whole milk powder, the key commodity export ingredient, it sells on the GlobalDairyTrade platform over the next 12 months due to persistent low prices.

The Auckland-based cooperative’s forecast cut the offer volumes over the next 12 months for its total New Zealand products by a further 56,045 metric tonnes, following a 62,930 metric tonne decrease in the past three months, it said in a statement.

Fonterra managing director global ingredients Kelvin Wickham said the bulk of that is whole milk powder, and milk collected will be shifted from whole milk powder production into other value-add parts of the business that will achieve a higher margin. . . 

Fonterra ratings on review at S&P in face of high debt levels, low global prices – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group’s credit ratings were put on CreditWatch with negative implications by Standard & Poor’s, which said there was a risk of weakness in the dairy exporter’s financial metrics given its high debt levels at a low point in the global price cycle.

The Auckland-based company has ‘A’ long-term and ‘A-1’ short-term ratings with S&P, which were put on CreditWatch following its announcement of a lower forecast milk price due to weak demand and surplus supply in the global dairy market.

“This ongoing weakness in the global dairy market has occurred when Fonterra’s debt is at very high levels due to a large acquisition and peak capital expenditure, placing downward pressure on Fonterra’s key financial metrics,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Brenda Wardlaw. . . 

Fonterra – Anchor extends portfolio with additional Kids’ Milk range in China:

Our China Brands business recently hit another milestone with the launch of the ultra-premium Anchor Kids’ Golden Milk.

The new milk has 3.6g/100ml protein, a high calcium content and no added sweeteners or additives other than vitamins. 

Business Development Director of China Brands Manoj Namboodiri said the team designed and launched Anchor Kids’ Golden Milk to meet the growing demand from Chinese parents for ultra-premium quality, nutritious and unsweetened kids’ milk.  . . 

Misery peddlers are milking a crisis – Mike Hosking:

Yes, these are tough times for dairy farmers but we should trust those with the industry’s interests at heart.

My plea this morning is that we give our dairy farmers a break, that we cut them some slack and start to get on board with what they already know. Because, let’s be frank, they know dairy a lot better than all the others who, from the comfort of their urban existence, are lining up to tell us the world is ending.

Just to be clear, this will be a tough season. The return of $3.85 is not flash and it’s a mile away from $8.40.

Yes, most farmers won’t make a profit. Yes, some farmers might not make it out the other side, especially those who have gone in late and borrowed big to do so. But what I admire so much about the farming community is they’re realists. . . 

Is organic farming making climate change worse? Demand for ‘sustainable’ food has increased greenhouse gas emissions – Richard Gray:

It has a reputation for being better for us and the environment, but new research suggests organic food may actually be harming the planet.

Scientists have found that rather than reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released, organic farming may actually be increasing them.

They found the shift to large scale organic farming in order to meet growing demand for organic products in shops has led to an increase in emissions for each acre of land. . .

Fit farmers with Farmstrong – Anna Russell:

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and FMG Insurance, along with support from NZX-Agri, launched the initiative Farmstrong. It is an initiative designed to give farmers the skills and resources to live well, farm well, and get the most out of life.

The three areas they focus on are applicable in any work environment, and particularly can help during times of transformation and change:

Time Out – taking regular breaks is an important part of remaining fresh and positive in day-to-day work. So is getting a good night sleep. . . 

Jordy Nelson’s offseason activity? Farming – Anna Katherine Clemmons:

FOR MANY NFL PROS, the offseason means private islands and poolside cabanas. Not for Jordy Nelson. The 30-year-old, who set the Packers’ single-season receiving record last year with 1,519 yards, swaps his cleats for work boots on his family’s 4,000-acre Kansas farm. For five or six weeks each year, he drives a combine and cuts wheat, sometimes for 12 hours a day, or rounds up some of the 1,000-cow herd. “Working cattle is my favorite farm duty,” he says. “It’s interactive, and you’re on your feet all day.” . . .

 


Farmstrong launches

June 3, 2015

This media release arrived in my in-box this morning:

Farmstrong, a new initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand is being launched today.

The programme is a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF).

Farmstrong will help shift the focus of mental health from depression and illness to one of wellbeing.  In its first year Farmstrong will aim to make a positive difference to the lives of 1,000 farmers.

“Farmstrong will help to highlight that farmers are the most important asset on the farm and that by taking proactive steps to look after their mental and physical heath, they’re better prepared to run their business and support their family, staff and community” says Chris Black chief executive FMG.

Research shows that farmers are great at looking after stock and equipment but often neglect their own needs. In a recent online survey, farmers identified wellbeing and quality of life as being top of mind and said they wanted more information on how to look after themselves.  

Through www.farmstrong.co.nz farmers can access practical tools and resources that will help them take care of themselves, with information on topics such as nutrition, managing fatigue, exercise, the importance of getting off the farm and coping with pressure.

Farmstrong will also help farmers connect with each other and share experiences via its social media channels, through regional farmer ambassadors and by attending local events such as Dr Tom Mulholland’s Healthy Thinking workshops, and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

“In the same way that farmers have a system for milking cows or shearing sheep for example, they need a practical system to keep themselves in good shape too.  By having this they’ll likely feel better, improve productivity, and be better prepared to handle the ups and downs of farming” says Mr Black.

“Just making small behaviour changes over a period of time can help support big improvements in our mental and physical wellbeing” says Judi Clements, chief executive Mental Health Foundation.  “Every farmer’s performance is affected by their level of health, fitness and happiness. We’re not born knowing how to maintain these – we need to actively practise strategies that will improve our mental health. Farmstrong will help show farmers how they can do this,” says Ms Clements.

Farmstrong funding has been provided by FMG and the charity Movember, via the Mental Health Foundation.  “As a catalytic funder of men’s health programmes globally, the Movember Foundation is a proud co-funder of this groundbreaking collaborative programme. We believe Farmstrong is an innovative and powerful programme that will build on the strength of NZ farmers and their community” says Robert Dunne NZ Country Director, Movember Foundation.


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