I am back on air. I have had a blunt awakening to the fact that nothing lasts for ever and that computers need cleaning. The telecom radio link has been playing up some thing chronic over the last 5 weeks or so, and at the same time our computor decided it needed a medical check up as it was over heating eventually stopping. Thus the reason for no post last month.
Last week the Ruapehu District Council Draft Long Term Plan 2015-25 Consultation document came through the mail. The only thing I am interested in is the Manuka Honey bit. There is plenty of good stuff about how important Agriculture is to the districts economy, and the need for adequate infrastructure to support it. Including bridges. Now I am hoping that all the good stuff is not really about “Land Use Change”. I am hearing reports that Hinenakau Development Trust has chopped all their poplar poles down in the nursery, and instead are planting Scrub. God help us. Abit premeture I thought. I cannot help but think back to the early 1990’s when our then District Councillor, or was it County Councillor, came out with this nonsense that alot of land would be better off in pine trees. Look what we have now. I am really concerned that yet again council, and mostly urban green types, are going to go down the same mistake ridden fuzzy wuzzy greeny path. All this pine tree business has contributed to the decline in the districts population to the tune of 4000 people or so, and another wave of land use change to manuka would just about finish us off. Indeed my submission to the councils annual plan last May identified a potential for the population to fall to 8000, if all the reports I have from regional council days are any thing to go by. These identify how much land Regional Council would like to retire in Ruapehu. Can it be that this is another cunning way of conning hard pressed back country farmers into retiring more land to scrub on the proviso that manuka honey is the most finacially viable alternative. It may be that Manuka honey is worth good dosh. Possibly it is a viable alternative or additional form of income in the short to medium term, but I must ask just how many employment opportunities will it create? Will they be full time jobs? and just how active is the honey. The higher the activity status the better. BUT does the status stay high forever? Well No. It now seems that the younger plants produce the best honey and as it matures the status declines. And as I have explained in previous posts, the plant has to be grown in a rotation type system. So do not think you plant the farm and foreget. No way. But this is how alot of cockys will get caught out. Let it revert will be the cry, and then bugger me. The seasons also play an important part in the finacial equation, some cooler seasons really hammering the yeild. Indeed the company who used to rent a sight off us got caught out baddly a few years ago, when he secured a sight up at Erua, took alot of his hives up there (1000) and got nothing. Council also need to remember that scrub is the first stage of reversion to indigenous forested lands. Could it be that many will wake up one morning to a site of indigenous significance? Now do not get me wrong. I just think the market needs to drive the development of the honey industry, not the council. Indeed a farming couple not to far from me have done just that, including building a extraction plant. Good on them. But let me assure you, they will encounter some pit falls a long the way.
Well blow me down. I heard on the breakfast show, TV 1 yesterday , where the Auckland City Council has been called to order by a rate payer group claiming that the Ports of Auckland got a resource consent by means of a dodgy hearings process. That there was not enough opportunity given for adequate public scrutiny and input. Does not surprise me. I know from my own time in local govt, that the resource consent process is flawed . Councils get what they want, simply because they pay the bill for the process. It is also my view that hearings commissioners are only to happy to play the game, either because they agree, espescially if they are councillors themselves, or because they know that if they do not, well no more work. And “if” council does not arrive at the out come desired ,well they can be quite inventive in finding away. Sorry to say it like this, but that is cold hard facts of the matter. Just look at Horizons Regional Council and espescially the activities of the Council Adisvory group in the Environment Court with regard to chapter 5 discharges and nutrient limits. We are dealing with people that are determined and who have no regard for democracy.
Whats happening with the Ruataniwha irrigation scheme over in the Bay? I have an uncle and a cousin caught up in the scheme, and I must say I was concerned at how uninformed they are. On top of it they have the Unitry Authority proposal to consider and it appears there is Co-Governance proposal which come as part and parcel. Could be that a small minority of hard core Maori Party members will have a significant say in the affairs of the authority going forward. Of course should it come to be. My guess. the dam is not going to happen, just a guess, and the Uni-A , the same . This ladies and gentlemen is how far NZ has fallen. The opportunity for economic growth stifled from overly restrictive rules and regulation and the opportuniy to reform local governance screwed by political expedience.
Ruapehu allowed the Co- Governance arrangement via the same flawed process as described above, in that the proposal came via the 2010 Draft District Plan for comment ,The Tangatawhenua, in the opening statement of the plan, I stood up with a letter to the editor in the local rag at the time, got no support from anybody else, and as a consequence spent a afternoon in the Maori Council arguing why the process to Co-Governance was unlawful. It concluded with the deputy Mayor now the Mayor, Mr Cameron telling me in front of the council that I was racist. The then Mayor Mrs Morris demanded I apologise to Maori.
I claimed I was not racist, given that it was Maori that signed my nomination form, and I certainly declined to apologise for sticking up for democracy and the legal process. But no I was not going to run off to the courts, given my previous exprience with dodgy judges,and including that Maori agreed to participate in the democratic process as part of the Co-Governance model. So a partial win for me but of course as we no, the democratic process is already well and truely subverted.To this day I am sure most of the rest of us in Ruapehu, who are not of Maori decent do not have a clue what governance model we now have.
Milking Sheep. Quite a few years ago we changed our sheep breed in response to falling productivity of our traditional breed. We bought East Fresian rams and moved that way. As a side, the breed was not the problem, but rather the progressive increase in facial Excema spores in pasture. Anyway as a consequence of a disasterous outbreak of Excema we decided to keep on with the East Fresian breed given that those that survived must be tolerant to the spores. Could it be that it was a smart move? There is now a fledgling sheep milking industry starting up and given the nutrient limits that local government is trying to impose on the farming industry. I have been scouring any medium for informatioon and have come up with costs for a goat milking farm conversion, $2000 per goat.This included a covered barn as the operation was a cut and carry operation and excluded the cost of the goats.. It has been sudjested that $2.00 a litre of sheep milk and assuming that in the early years you could only expect 300 mls per sheep. Of course we must conclude that sheep milking will eventually have to move to such a operation as the use of overly zealous rules and regulation adding cost and destroying wealth to achieve unrealistic water quality standards, really start to bite. One must ask WHY. Water quality from natural indigenous sites of significant size is naturally poor. Clarity included. WHY. Who is driving this nonsence and what is the out come sought. I have my view, and indeed the Proposed One Plan Horizons Regional Council notified says just who. No i am not going to lead you to the specific page, as you need to read this Plan(s).
Oh my God. Here it is guys. Slow down in global warming temporary.See pg 41 NZ Farms Weekly March the 9th 2015 . Forces of natural climate variability have caused an apparent slowdown in global warming this centurary. You can find the results of the study in latest edition of the American Journal of Science.
Lets move up the page abit and here NZ farming has a opportunity to increase returns over and above reforming the meat industry. UK supermarkets want security for their beef and lamb contrcts. It seems that our lamb is selling for 1/2 the price of british lamb in super markets. No wonder british farmers are up in arms. Our beef is priced for a 1/3 of the price of equvalent cuts. But will it happen? My view is that every decision making body in NZ, no matter what the medium wether local body or industry derived and served ,the out come sought is still the same. You have read it on this blogg sight. The Mc Gillicuddy party seeking outcomes they desire that are definitly not in NZers interests. Our health, wealth and social needs. One cannot argue with this statement.
On page 27 of the Rural News October 21 2014, it is appropriate to reffere back to. Farmers feeling the squeeze.Food is no more expensive than it was 3 yrs before. Yet on farm cost increased 3-4%. Source Statistics NZ data. Salaries and wages increased 3% and food up 1.2% Adding to the burden is legislation for environmental compliance. Farmers spending alot of dosh to comply only to have the goal posts shift requiring even more expenditure. What have i just written above. Regional Council, Dairy Companys ,and the including Fertilizer companys and way ward Meat Companys all supporting each other and then include the Ministry of Primary Industries checking to see the farming industry is complying. One can conclude that non of the above want us or our industry.
Indeed friends of ours recently returned from the UK visiting family and friends to say they were horrified to meet people who were either buying NZ farm land,thinking of buying NZ farm land or who had bought NZ farm land ,no not to farm, but to plant in trees to mitigate their carbon libility. Thats it guys. NZ is to become the rubbish dump to the world.Where is that going leave my urban cousy’s?
Winston Peters, NZ First, won the Northland by election. I see most Q and A commentators (TV on Air) have written Winstons win off as a one off . A vote for the dissatisfied. I hope to god that it is not. Successive govts of both the left and the right have screwed and abused us. The RMA reforms they say are gone, esp sec 6 matters of economic importance. My view is that this particular sec of the act was never going to get there ,lets face it National has had plenty of time to pass it through govt. The reason. National only wanted to capture urban housing development. They could not get around the realisation that it would have captured all resource use. Come and get us guys. Bring it on Winston. It is time NZ and esp Rural NZ was really put first.
There it is people. A big catch up. Remember Get out of debit. Do not burrow too much. Keep that job and plant a big garden. NZ is not godzone.