Rural round-up

March 3, 2019

Stemming lifestyle bock growth – Richard Rennie:

 Soaring kiwifruit orchard values have helped take some steam from the lure of subdividing quality land into smaller blocks in Western Bay of Plenty.

However, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council has also had to tighten up on development plans to help prevent the loss to uneconomic lifestyle blocks.

Alongside Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty is one of the country’s fastest-growing districts, recording a population increase from 27,000 in 1986 to 46,000 in 2013. . .

Farmingin the city – Luke Chivers:

When New Zealanders think of Auckland few think of farming. But a young Karaka dairying couple are combining their love of the city with their passion for the land. Luke Chivers reports.

IT WAS Gypsy Day 2016.

Traditionally, it is the start of the dairying calendar when accounts are settled, stock is bought and sold or moved to a new farm and new careers are launched. At least that was what Chris and Sally Guy hoped when their sharemilking agreement on a well-nurtured and developed inland slice of rural New Zealand kicked in. The couple are 50:50 sharemilkers with his parents Allan and Wendy who own the 80ha Oakview Farm in South Auckland.

New fertigation trial examines effects on nutrient loss – Pat Deavoll:

A new project to trial the use of fertigation, which could help reduce nitrogen leaching on farms, is underway.

State-owned farmer Pāmu was working with IrrigationNZ and Ballance Agri-Nutrients on the trial which had received funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund.

Fertigation is the application of small quantities of fertiliser through an irrigation system. Fertigation is used overseas but was uncommon in New Zealand. . .

Shearers clip for cancer – Toni Williams:

They came, they shore and they conquered, raising more than $85,000 for charity.

Around 70 vintage shearers from New Zealand and overseas, including current and former world champions, stars of the movie She Shears and All Black greats, appeared on the stands at the Shear For Life event at the Ewing Family property, at Hinds in Mid Canterbury on Saturday.

It was the brainchild of shearing mates Rocky Bull, Alan ”Bimbo” Bramley and Steven ”Dixy” Lynch, who wanted a chance to catch up with a few of the old shearing crowd. . .

Wyndham farmer Matt McRae’s community engagement contributes to Otago/Southland Young Farmer of the Year award  – Blair Jackson:

 Community engagement is something Wyndham farmer Matt McRae values highly.

It’s part of the reason he was recently named Otago/Southland Young Farmer of the Year.

Although his rugby career has taken a hit – he will play in Wyndham’s second string side to focus on his farming study and work – he enjoys what he does. . .

Glass bottles. Make a come-back on Country Calendar – Melenie Parkes:

A Nelson dairy farm is looking to the past to take it into the future. These dairy disruptors are using new technology to reinvent an old-fashioned favourite.

When Julian and Cathy Raine’s winter contract was cancelled by Fonterra in 2012, they had to come up with a plan to generate another source of income.

Their solution was to sell milk direct to the consumer using innovative vending machines, sourced from Europe and dotted throughout Nelson. . .

 


What did Hunua & Tauranga learn that Northland should know?

March 21, 2015

Winston Peters won the seat of Hunua in 1978 but lost it again in 1981.

He won Tauranga in 1984 and lost it again in 2008.

What did the people of Hunua and Tauranga learn that voters in Northland should know?
"Send him a message."


Little hints

March 9, 2015

Labour leader Andrew leader can’t quite bring himself to tell Northland voters not to vote for his party’s candidate Willow-Jean Prime but he’s dropping little – or should that be Little? – hints:

Mr Little told TVNZ One’s Q+A programme that Labour will not pull its candidate Willow-Jean Prime from the by-election contest, despite a Q+A Colmar Brunton poll showing Mr Peters would win if she was not in the running.

However, he called for left voters to be “realistic” with their candidate choice.

“They’ve got a vote they should use it. If they want to vote to send a message to the Government …

“They are intelligent enough to see how they can do that.” . .

Every election Labour has criticised National for electoral accommodations in Epsom and Ohariu but now he thinks it would be too his advantage, Little is indicating he’s willing to do just that.

He’s throwing his candidate under the wheels of Peters’ bus, not to help Labour or Northland but, as Rodney Hide points out, to get a New Zealand First list MP in Invercargill and give more power to Peter Dunne:

. . . A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington. . .

This would not bring down the government but it would make it more difficult for it to pass legislation and give Dunne and the two other government partners – Act and the Maori Party – a lot more bargaining power.

That won’t help Labour this term, nor will it make it any easier for it and its potential coalition partners to gain enough seats to govern next term.

In fact it might make it more difficult because the Little hints make him look downright shifty.

When National campaigns in Epsom and Ohariu it is open about campaigning only for the party vote and it ensures its candidates are high enough on its list to get into parliament.

Little isn’t being open, he’s trying to have a bob each way. He hasn’t clearly said voters should ditch Prime for Peters but nor has he said they shouldn’t. Yet he’s prevaricating enough to handicap his candidate and there’s no list seats up for grabs in a by-election to compensate her for her wasted efforts.

And what’s in this political playing for the people of Northland?

. . . Peters is 70 this year. It’s a long way from Auckland to Northland. It’s even further across the electorate. Peters will be bogged down and busy doing the bare minimum needed to be local MP. I doubt the region will be much troubled by him.

And he would lose in 2017. Northland will return a National candidate in a General Election.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Little is willing to sabotage his candidate to help Peters who will have neither the will nor the energy to service the large Northland electorate and its many communities while also attending to the demands of party leadership.

We can but hope the people of Northland will have learned from Tauranga voters who saw through him and send both him and Labour a message: they need an MP who lives in the electorate who will be in government and who will represent them well and work hard for them.

There’s only one of those standing – National’s Mark Osborne.

 

 


Wharfies can’t win this one

January 5, 2012

Wharfies used to be renowned for industrial action designed to cause maximum disruption to their employers and the public whether or not it accomplished anything.

The on-going strikes on the Auckland waterfront shows some are still stuck back in those bad-old days but it is a battle they can’t win.

The workers appear to be very well-paid for what isn’t generally highly skilled work:

The  average annual wage of an Auckland wharfie is about  $91,480 – reportedly for a 26-hour week, employees and their  families get free medical insurance, and three weeks sick  leave entitlement is written into contracts. They also get  five weeks annual leave.

And the POA offer is not ungenerous:

They include a 10 per cent increase in the hourly rate, performance bonuses of up to 20 per cent, retention of existing benefits and provisions, and “full operational flexibility for Ports of Auckland”. No doubt the last is causing unionists most angst. It would allow port management, not them, to manage the business.

Added costs on the waterfront mean higher costs for exports and imports. The country couldn’t afford that in good times and it certainly can’t afford it when so much of the world is mired in recession.

Other ports have workers who have moved into the 21st century ready and are willing to pick up any business lost from Auckland.

Last month the port lost Maresk’s business to Tauranga and yesterday Fonterra announced it would shift its $27m weekly trade  to Tauranga and Napier.

Auckland’s loss is Tauranaga’s gain. Port of Tauranga stocks rose 1.5 percent to $10.10, its highest ever close after news that Fonterra was moving its business from Auckland.


Chch earthquake aid policy helping Tauranga

November 22, 2011

One of the unheralded acts by the government in the wake of last September’s earthquake was providing money to enable businesses to keep operating in the immediate aftermath.

The same thing was done after the February quake and it was instrumental in protecting jobs and reducing the number of businesses which collapsed.

It has provided a template which has been used in Tauranga after the oil spill from the Rena:

One thing that resonated with business owners in Mount Maunganui was the response from the Government in helping pay      wages. While there were still some who wanted more government handouts, most were strongly supportive of National’s actions. 

Not all contributions from politicians has been appreciated, however:

The Green Party and Labour leader Phil Goff have done themselves no favours in Mt Maunganui.   

Local retailers complained to Taking the Pulse on Saturday that both the Greens and Mr Goff keep drawing attention to  the stricken Rena which hit the Astrolabe Reef on  October 5, spilling oil. . .

Publicity from the oil spill also hurt visitor numbers; people likened it to the Gulf of Mexico spill, which wrecked both tourism and fisheries along the coast of Louisiana.   

The damage caused by the negative publicity during the election campaign is starting to worry a few. . .

But the main political issue that annoyed nearly everyone spoken to in about two hours was grandstanding – both in Mt  Maunganui and Epsom. Voters were absolutely over the side issues and complained it reminded them of when New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was in full flight. Then, they remembered that Mr Peters was again in full flight.   

There was no love lost on the Mount for Mr Peters. No particular reason could be nailed down, but the dislike was palpable.  

 Obviously people of good sense and discernment.


Bob’s done enough

September 28, 2011

Bob Clarkson did a great public service by winning the seat of Tauranga which got rid of New Zealand First’s lifeline and kept Winston Peters from returning to parliament in 2008.

However, I suspect there will be a great many Act members and supporters who think he’s done enough and will be relieved that he has no intention of standing for that party.


Bean here, growin’ that

October 15, 2009

Scoop reports New Zealand’s first vanilla harvest is underway.

This is the first harvest of vanilla grown outside the tropics.

 Heilala Vanilla is a family owned and run business in Tauranga.

It sounds good and I’m impressed by the entrepreneurial approach. But I wonder how the costs of production compare with those for growing these orchids in the tropics where nature put them.


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