Open season on dairying


It’s open season on irrigation and dairying.

At Bowalley Road Chris Trotter waxes lyrical about drought-stricken landscapes and mourns the conversion from sheep and crop farming to dairying.

When I was growing up the hills and paddocks of North Otago were the colour of a lion’s hide. The constant easterly blowing inland off the sea kept them dry and brown through most of the year. It was mixed farming country: wheat and barely on the flats; sheep on the hills.

Not any more.

The last time I travelled along the coast road between Oamaru and Waianakarua I was astounded to see the countryside had changed colour. Its once tawny coat was now a vivid green. The sheep were gone and everywhere I looked I saw cows, cows, cows.

There has been a big expansion of irrigation since Chris was a boy, but most of it is in the Waitaki, Waiareka and Kakanui Valleys. There is little irrigation on the paddocks along the coast road. If the pastures were green most of that would be due to recent rain.

At Pundit Claire Browning laments grass stains on the Mackenzie:

. . .  the burnished Mackenzie hills and basins are turning poison green. 

I haven’t seen any irrigation on the Mackenzie hills, they’re generally too steep so again if they were green it would have been because of rain.

 As for the flats, some of us see green not as poison which kills but something which is productive and life giving.

 And Robert Guyton seems to be concerned because one of the reasons Fonterra gives for supporting a power upgrade in Southland is that milk would have to be dumped if there was an outage.

“Fonterra’s submission says the upgrade to the power grid is necessary to protect against the potential environmental impact of dumping milk during a power outage”

That’s a statement of fact. Cows can’t turn milk on and off. If they’re not milked at regular times they will be in agony and susceptible to mastitis. Once the milk is harvested it can be stored for a short time before being taken for processing. But if a power outage held up processing there would be no other option but to dump the milk.
The company is just being open about the risks it sees. That has to be better than saying nothing until there’s an outage and milk has to be dumped.
The rapid expansion of dairying has resulted in environmental problems but farmers, and regional councils, are addressing these issues.
Criticism of  any particular decline in water quality or other environmental degredation is valid. Opposition to irrigation and dairying in general is a point of view based more on nostalgia and emotion than fact.

Did you see the one about . . .


True justice and murder sentencing at Stephen Franks

Ralston addicted to blogging at Cactus Kate – on what’s missing from modern journalism.

What’s a hendecagon? at Something Should Go Here – a handy chart for figuring out which figure is which.

Spring forward: my garden year starts here  by Claire Browning at Pundit.

For confused Beltway types at NZ Conservative – Andrei compares pollution in China and NZ.

Did you see the one about . . .


Man vs Mutt – the Skeptical Doctor on why it’s better to be sick as a dog (Hat Tip: Not PC).

The Weldon Index – Cactus Kate’s CEO income assessment tool.

Hello Sailor – Quote Unquote spots a floating double entendre.

Another Day at the Office  – Waitaki Blog’s working view.

Competitive mothering, a non-contact sport, confessions from a real mother from Eleanor Black at Pundit.

A get-rich quick scheme – Lindsay Mitchell adds what just about everything is costing us.

So that’s how it works – In A Strange Land shows how the sewing machine works.

Truly Glorious – Laughy kate luaghs at a fancy dress party failure.

Can you still be a good mother if you don’t like children?


That was the headline of a story I cut from a now defunct (I think) British magazine, Options, years ago.

It looked at the stages children go through and the relevant skills they required from mothers. (This was more than 25 years ago, and didn’t mention fathers).

Each stage was different, required different skills and the writer said most mothers coped better with some stages than others.

The mother who is bored rigid by the first few weeks/months when babies don’t do a lot might enjoy the next stage. Others who love that first, totally dependent stage might not be so enamoured by the doing lots and making mess stage which comes later.

The story concluded by saying that no-one gets it right, nor enjoys it, all the time. There are some days when you really don’t like your children, or at least what they’re doing/saying but as long as you still love them you, and they, will generally get through the tough times.

I was reminded of this when I read Do I look like this is the best job ever? by Eleanor Black at Pundit.

It’s easy once your child is an adult to forget quite how challenging those sleep-deprived days when you were on call for 24 hours a day could be.

When the baby whose early arrival cut short my employment on a radio station was 18 months old I went back to work to relieve my successor for a couple of weeks. A friend who saw me thought I was pregnant because I looked so serene.

I was as it happened, but that wasn’t the cause of my serenity. It was just the enjoyment and ease of being back at a job I loved, where I was never required to do more than two or three things at once and wasn’t threatened with constant interuptions from a little someone who needed me RIGHT NOW.

Did you see the one about. . .


 Pipe specification  at Somethingshouldgohere

Unintentional arrogance at Open Parachute

Why economics is hard  at The Visible Hand

Worthy pursuits – cough at Rob’s Blockhead

5 ways for banks to improve their on-line banking services  at Interest.Co.NZ

S59 amendment vitimises 2nd parent at Monkeywithtypewriter

Significant risk factor for child abuse omitted at Lindsay Mitchell

Hating on Teh Fatties at In A Strange Land

Weird Art Quiz at Artandmylife

A car quiz at Not PC

Ground rules in the first, second and third person at The Hand Mirror

Undomestic godess at Pundit

A puff too far  at Macdoctor

And a couple of newish  (to me) blogs:


Birdsofparadise – from Nicole Were, a New Zealander living in Yellowknife in the northwest of Canada (interviewed for the best song segment on Afternoons by Jim Mora on Thursday)

Luddite Journo journo no more


Journalism student Sandra Dickson achieved what many more experienced journalists would envy – publication of her story on the rise and rise of blogging and comments on it in several papers and blogs including today’s ODT, Kiwiblog  and Roarprawn.

However, an internship at the Dominion Post has put her off journalism altogether.

She mentions a couple of incidents – a journalist talking to a child before talking to his parents and another pressuring a friend for an interview – which I wouldn’t be comfortable with but by themselves don’t explain why:

I finished my internship disgusted, and full of self-doubt about choosing to even try mainstream media.

David Young at Pundit has written a spririted  defence of journalism in response.

Did you see the one about . . .


A new study has revealed that if you don’t eat you’ll eventually die at Laughy Kate.

Fonterra Blues at Quote Unquote.

Drug companies vs doctors at the Visible Hand in Economics.

Only Turn Left at Watching Brief.

On the dismal science at Anti-Dismal.

I think I get it now from The NZ Home Office  (a new blog which has joined my list of regular reads).

The teacher robot at Lolly Scramble.

The reinstatement of titular land titles at Pundit.

Pundit election quiz


Pundit has designed an election quiz to help people decide how to vote, or confirm for those who’ve already made up their minds whether or not their beliefs fit the policy of their preferred party .

I came out with a 76% fit for National and a similar one for Act.

To my horror I also got a 65% fit with New Zealand First but I was reassured when I worked out that anything we have in common can’t compensate for how strongly I oppose the matters on which we differ.

It would be impossible to find a party whose policy is 100% fit with your own views. But I think it was Sir Keith Holyoake who said that he was 100% behind 60% of his party’s views, there were about 30% that he was less enthusiastic about but they weren’t die-in-a-ditch matters and given that he could live with agreeing to disagree over the other 10%.

Pundit launched


A new on-line daily current affairs magazine, Pundit,  aims to:

. . . start an intelligent conversation about New Zealand’s place in the world and its future.

Its founders are: 

Tim Watkin (former deputy editor of the Listener and blogger for the Guardian in Britain) and Eleanor Black (former deputy editor at Next and associate editor of California magazine) came up with the Pundit concept in late 2007, while living in San Francisco. They joined forces with broadcaster Ian Fraser in early 2008 and together the trio launched the site in September.

Other contributers are David Beatson, Dr Jon Johansson David Lewis, Jacqueline Rowath and Jane Young,

Hat Tip: No Right Turn

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