Rural round-up

August 12, 2018

Lumsden birthing centre closure prompts community anger – Tess Brunton:

The Lumsden Rural Women’s network is calling for the decision to shut its local birthing centre to be reversed.

The Southern District Health Board today announced the unit would become a maternal and child hub, where babies are only delivered in an emergency.

The DHB today released a plan that also included four other hubs to be established in Wanaka, Te Anau, Tuatapere and Ranfurly; funding support for midwives working in remote locations; and investment in technology to support care. . . 

Lessons from dairy can help NZ red meat sector develop winning formula in China:

New Zealand’s red meat sector should draw on the experiences of the dairy sector to help formulate its strategy for continued growth in the Chinese market, according to RaboResearch General Manager Tim Hunt.

Speaking at the Red Meat Sector conference in Napier last week, Mr Hunt said the Chinese market offered significant growth potential for New Zealand’s red meat sector and there was much the industry could learn from New Zealand dairy. . .

T&G Global lifts first-half operating profit 40% on improvements in pipfruit, international produce – Tina Morrison:

Aug. 9 (BusinessDesk) – T&G Global, New Zealand’s biggest fresh produce grower, distributor, marketer and exporter, posted a 40 percent jump in first-half operating profit due to improved performances from its pipfruit and international produce businesses, its two largest units.

Operating profit, which gauges the underlying performance of the business, rose to $10.4 million in the six months ended June 30, from $7.5 million in the year earlier period, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. . .

Sustainable plastic recycling solution for farmers:

As plastic waste hits the headlines again, rural recycling programme Agrecovery assures farmers and growers that it offers a complete and sustainable local solution for empty agrichemical containers and drums.

This plastic is collected from over 80 sites and large-scale farms across the country and taken to Astron Plastics in Auckland, where it is reborn as underground cable cover and building materials to prevent rising damp. . .

Tighter import rules to stop stink bug:

New treatment and cleaning rules for imported vehicles and machinery will make it harder for brown marmorated stink bug to make landfall in New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.

MPI released the new import health standard for vehicles, machinery and equipment today. It will come into force on 1 September – the beginning of the stink bug season. . .

How Australia’s meat industry plans to flood post-Brexit Britain with products banned in EU – Josh Gabbatiss:

Australian meat industry leaders are heavily lobbying their government to put pressure on Britain to accept products currently banned under EU law after Brexit.

Among the meat products suggested for export to the UK are hormone-treated beef and “burnt goat heads”.

Ministers from both countries met last week to discuss the future of their trading relationship, amid concerns that the Australian government could force the UK to lower food standards.

It comes as a petition supporting The Independent’s campaign for a Final Say on Brexit passed 570,000 signatures. . .

Norway up to 60% crop loss :

The worst grain crops in more than 50 years.

The farmers despair over what seems to be the worst season for grain crops since the early 1960s. “Extreme situation”, says an advisor.

– I do not think the regular Joe understands what’s going on. This is an extreme situation that we have never experienced before, says grain advisor in Norwegian Farm Counsellors (Norsk Landbruksrådgiving), Bjørn Inge Rostad to Aftenposten.

The grain farmers are unevenly affected, but Rostad thinks the grain crops can be down to 40 per cent of what is normal.
Chairman of the Board in the Cereal Producers’ Organization, John Lilleborge also believes that the production is a halved on a nationwide basis. . . 

World’s first Manuka honey jar with 11 separate counterfeit measures available September:

The world’s first Manuka honey jar with eleven separate consumer security and anti-counterfeit measures is available to purchase nationwide and online on from September. Boasting New Zealand’s highest standard of Manuka honey, PURITI Manuka comes in a customised cylindrical jar with a unique lid that features a thick anti-tamper seal.

The jar and lid have the same diameter, allowing for a smooth and seamless fit and a distinctly different visual appearance. This design is unique to PURITI Manuka. The jar also features a tear strip for additional consumer security. . .


Touch screen tech helping district nurses

June 9, 2013

Touch screen technology is increasing the time district nurses spend caring for their patients Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“District nurses at Gore Health are piloting the new Agility TRx technology, from a touch-screen tablet, which allows them to get up-to-date information about their patients instantly and securely while out in the community,” says Mr Ryall.

“Since introducing Agility TRx last year, the eight district nurses at Gore Health have reduced the time they spend on unnecessary paperwork and travel by at least an hour per nurse, per day.

“This means hundreds of extra hours of nursing care are being provided to people in the Gore community. Care provided by district nurses includes home-based chemotherapy services, dressing wounds and intravenous therapy.

“In the past these district nurses made multiple trips to and from the general practice and hospital each day to collect hard copies of up-to-date patient information – this new technology means they have all the information they need at the touch of their fingers.

“I congratulate the district nurses and staff at Gore Health for piloting the new technology and improving health services for people in their community.

“Southern District Health Board began piloting the new technology with 16 of their district nurses last month. The success of the pilot will be evaluated at the end of the year and a decision will be made about rolling the technology out across the country,” says Mr Ryall.

Health Workforce New Zealand has contributed $360,000 towards the pilot.

District nurses who service rural areas travel long distances to visit patients.

Reducing the need to return to base for patient information saves time, fuel and wear and tear on vehicles.

City nurses won’t travel as far but will take longer to go shorter distances in traffic. If the initial success of the pilot continues it would be better for nurses, patients and health budgets to roll the technology out nationwide.


Hope he’s standing for right reasons

October 4, 2010

When Otago District Health Board employee Michael Swann was found guilty of a $17m fraud, Health Minister Tony Ryall held board chair Richard Thomson responsible and sacked him.

Thomson was elected to the board, chose to stay on as a member and is a candidate in the current election for what is now the Southern District Health Board which was formed when the Otago and Southland DHB’s amalgamated.

I have no doubt he’ll get back on and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he tops the poll.

I just hope he’s standing because he can make a positive contribution to the board and health services in the south and not in a misguided attempt to give the fingers to the minister.


What’s the point of DHB elections?

September 21, 2010

When we elected health boards using First Past the Post we had wards which gave us a reasonable chance of knowing at least one of the candidates for whom we could vote.

When STV was introduced we lost the wards and now have to vote for up to four members for the Otago Constituency of the Southern District Health Board.

There are 11 people standing for those four positions. That is an improvement on the 20 plus who stood in previous elections but I’d be very surprised if anyone knew enough to intelligently rank all 11 and most will be struggling to find four they know enough about to support, or not, with confidence.

I don’t know any of the candidates very well but have met four of them and know of one more. I will probably vote for one and may support a second but definitely won’t be voting for the others I know or any of those I don’t know.

This shows up shortcomings with the STV system – it may be good in a small area where people know the candidates or can find out about them easily, but it’s not good for a whole province. Dunedin city voters have the numerical advantage, it’s too expensive for candidates to promote themselves everywhere and most voters will know little if anything about most of those seeking their votes.

But whatever the voting system I wonder what’s the point in elections for DHBs? The chair and half the board members are government appointees and elected or appointed, all board members are answerable to the government.

Allowing elections was an attempt by Labour to convince us we had local control over health boards. We don’t.

They are there to run hospitals and health services for the government and they’re answerable to the Minister of Health.

I don’t have a problem with that but wonder why we have to go through the charade of elections which are really just an expensive exercise designed to make us feel we have some control when in practice we don’t.


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