Rural round-up


Alarm over off-road toll -Timothy Brown:

Federated Farmers Otago president says children on four-wheeled bikes are a reality of rural life despite damning statistics and some calling for a ban.

A report released yesterday said off-road vehicle accidents accounted for the second-highest number of recreational deaths of children, behind only swimming and other water activities.

The findings focused on four-wheeled bikes, which accounted for more than a third of the deaths, and highlighted children’s vulnerability when using vehicles designed for adults.

Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg said the statistics were ”pretty alarming”, but the practicalities of farm life meant children would continue to drive off-road vehicles, and particularly four-wheeled bikes. . .

Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s

Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age.

The Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC) report ‘Child and youth mortality from motorcycle, quad bike and motorised agricultural vehicle use’ looked into 33 child deaths caused by off road motor vehicles from 2001-2012. This includes 12 deaths caused by quad bikes.

According to Safekids Aotearoa, 30 children die or are hospitalised every year as a result of quad bike injuries. . .

Minister welcomes predator control venture:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed an innovative partnership to dramatically transform the way invasive predators are managed on mainland New Zealand.

The NEXT Foundation has partnered with philanthropists Gareth Morgan and Sam Morgan, and the Department of Conservation, to set up the Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) project. All parties are contributing funding to the venture, with DOC providing $500,000 per year for an initial three years.

The ZIP project will focus on developing the tools and systems needed to permanently remove introduced predators from large areas of mainland New Zealand. . . .

Zespri forecasts record grower returns for 2014/15 season:

Record per-hectare returns for Green and Organic Green are forecast this season as a combination of supply constraint, favourable market conditions and strong end-of-season sales leads to increased Zespri grower returns across all categories. Per-hectare returns for Green growers are forecast at $52,987 and Organic Green at $42,207.

Zespri Chief Executive Lain Jager says these returns are the result of great work from growers, the post-harvest sector, the Zespri team onshore and in the markets, and our retail and trade partners.

Mr Jager explains the overall result reflects some unique, one-off factors. “A shortage of supply of Green kiwifruit from Chile and constrained supply of Gold kiwifruit from New Zealand have supported pricing, while Zespri’s foreign exchange hedging policy has mitigated against the strong value of the New Zealand dollar.” . . .


Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry:

The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North.

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, National Secretary.

“Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements.

“As if that’s not enough, the government’s recent Employment Law changes mean meat workers will face a tougher time settling collective agreements and earning a decent living. . .

Celebrating 30 years in business:

New Zealand’s largest animal feed exporter and world-leading fibre nutrition company, Fiber Fresh Feeds, is celebrating 30 years in business by giving away nearly ten tonne of feed to horse riders at one of the country’s biggest equine events.

As the naming right sponsor of the Fiber Fresh Taupo Christmas Classic from December 18-21, New Zealand’s second largest equestrian event behind Horse of the Year and the largest event by horse number in the Southern Hemisphere, Fiber Fresh is giving a free bag of feed to each of the 450 riders at the event. . .

Farmer AKA Mechanic, Agronomist, Engineer, Economist, Businessman, Accountant, Architect, Doctor,  Manager, Electrician, Plumber, Veterinarian, Market Analyst, Meteorologist, Communicator, Teacher, Conservationist, Nutritionist, Carpenter, Biologist, Technician, Trucker, Maintenance worker, etc. (PETERSON FARM BROS ORIGINAL)

Farmer AKA Mechanic, Agronomist, Engineer, Economist, Businessman, Accountant, Architect, Doctor, Manager, Electrician, Plumber, Veterinarian, Market Analyst, Meteorologist, Communicator, Teacher, Conservationist, Nutritionist, Carpenter, Biologist, Technician, Trucker, Maintenance worker, etc.


$40,000 fines too much


Federated Farmers believes farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines:

Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers.

The Court case, and subsequent ruling, runs the risk of alienating farmers who will see the fines as heavy handed and excessive. It will make it so much harder to get the right health and safety messages across if the primary sector is sceptical as to what is occurring.

“No one wants to see serious accidents and deaths. We need good information and evidence in the public domain that not only drives the identification of major health and safety risks, but subsequently the priorities, education and persuasion to change behaviour.”

“There needs to be a real focus on good outcomes.”

Katie Milne says Federated Farmers has recently been working closely with WorkSafe New Zealand to improve farm safety.

“WorkSafe have been saying to us that they want to avoid heavy handed actions and put a high value on education and persuasion.  We will be talking to them about how this is done more effectively.”

“Farmers can improve their safety performance.  And we will not be fooling ourselves into thinking that only other people have accidents or that there is no inherent risk in farm environments or work.”

She concluded “Fundamentally, safety is enhanced by concentrating on outcomes, increased awareness, and changing behaviour.  This sort of public issue is just going to get farmers’ backs up and make them feel picked on – not make them safer farm operators, which is what we want.”

Quad bikes are dangerous and the couple had received several warnings though there are two sides to the story of those warnings:

. . . But Carlson – who became the first woman to win the West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year in 2010 – says the fine is unfair and accused WorkSafe of not doing its job properly.

“I don’t think $40,000 is fair,” she told Radio Live.

“If you put it in perspective with other offences like drink driving, where you are putting other people at risk … it’s ridiculous and out of proportion.”

WorkSafe says even after a prohibition notice was issued, Carlson was caught twice riding her quad bike without a helmet and on the second occasion she had two children with her.

Carlson said the agency has been inconsistent in the advice it gave her.

“If they had done their job properly we’d never be in this position,” she said.

It wasn’t the requirement to wear helmets that she disagrees with, but the way it was enforced, said Carlson.

“They want to take people to court to make an example of them.

“I totally see their point, that helmets have a place on a quad bike and I think everybody should be wearing it.”

WorkSafe NZ spokesman Francois Barton said it could not ignore Jones’ and Carlson’s wilful refusal to meet their legal obligations. . .

Whatever the advice, $40,000 – $20,000 each –  does seem to be a very steep fine.

%d bloggers like this: