Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Matthew Littlewood,

    More grist to the mill: More than 40 percent of Canterbury’s water-consent holders have not installed the compulsory water-meters. The Government announced the rule in 2010, with support across all parties, and the deadline was November 2012. No indication if/when ECan will fine those who aren't complying.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Cocky aren't they?
    Some recent links from The Press that may be of interest:
    Canterbury's dairy era...

    statistics showed that in 2007 Canterbury had 13 per cent (518,000) of the country's milking cows.
    By 2011-12, that had risen to 16 per cent (753,000 cows), producing 17.7 per cent of New Zealand's milk.

    and
    Dame Margaret Bazley, who chairs Environment Canterbury's commissioners, takes stock at the end of 2012 to outline the organisation's approach to its work.

    Canterbury needs to make the best possible use of water to grow the regional economy and create jobs. Commissioners believe water can be used sustainably so both the environment and the economy benefit. We need this to create a secure future for our children and future generations.

    The work being done through the collaborative Canterbury Water Management Strategy builds on years of community engagement on what we need to achieve. The strategy was developed by the region's Mayoral Forum before the commissioners' appointment.

    Shouldn't that say: "The strategy was developed by the region's Mayoral Forum before they conspired to have Ecan replaced by commissioners" ?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    <q>Shouldn’t that say: “The strategy was developed by the region’s Mayoral Forum before they conspired to have Ecan replaced by commissioners” ?

    “And their names shall cursed from generation unto dying generation for their greed and lack of understanding. And the last of their progeny shall curse them most – “There was a green and pleasant land where birds and humans dwelt in joy – now there is a stinking desert and these ones are to blame
    rollcall begins-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Attachment

    This is Lake Papaitonga, one of the only surviving patches of lowland forest in Manawatu/Horowhenua. The picture was taken on December 5. I hadn't been there in more than 20 years, and it was a shock to see what was once an uninterrupted sheet of water turned to mudflats. According to DOC's info, the cause is irrigation for agriculture. As far as I'm aware there's no coherent plan to save or restore this beautiful and historic spot.

    The only other surviving dune lake in the area, the larger Lake Horowhenua, has long since been stripped of its surrounding forest and drastically lowered to release land for dairying. It now has permanently visible mudflats. To use Islander's words, it's close to becoming a 'stinking desert'.

    From Rod McDonald's Te Hekenga (1929):

    I recollect an occasion, when I was about 15 years old, when a young Englishman, travelling for his health, came up from Wellington, and, as was usual with all visitors to the district in those days, stayed at our place at the lake, remaining for some weeks.

    It was during the winter, and the Tararuas were covered with snow half-way down their sides, when one day I took him to the hill called Te Maai. to see the lake from what I considered the best angle. It was one of the not infrequent winter mornings which we get on this coast, when the sun after a heavy frost, is as warm as in summer time, and the air like wine. From where we stood we could see the whole of the lake, save where the bush sweeping round the face of Raia te Karaka on our left, cut off the arm running northward to Poroutawhao.

    With scarce a ripple on its surface to dim the reflections of the fleecy clouds floating overhead, the lake lay clasped in the emerald arms of the bush which surrounded it on every side save immediately about where we stood. Mile after mile the bush stretched across the flat on which the town of Levin now stands, and swept up the mountain-side to the relief of the white snow-cap. Straight and tall the timber grew to the water’s edge, fringed with flax and nodding manuka, and over the bush, flashing their white breasts as they circled and wheeled in the sunshine, pigeons flew literally in thousands, singly drifting from tree to tree, rising in flocks of half a hundred or so, with a whirring of wings plainly to be heard across the calm waters; circling round in a wide sweep with characteristic rise and dip of flight, skimming the crystal-clear surface of the lake as they passed over, to rise and sweep back over the bush and settle on some other tree which caught their errant fancy. No other sound was in the air, nor sight of life was visible, save where the smoke curled slowly upwards from the stockaded pa of Raia te Karaka. Across at Te Hou and Kouturoa, some Maoris called musically one to another: in front of us was only the lake, the unspoiled bush, and the mountains beyond, and the young Englishman—he was only in the twenties, and dying of consumption—lay there in the sunshine and gazed on it for a very long time.

    “I have been all over the world, boy.” he said, “and nowhere, I think, does it hold anything so beautiful as your Horowhenua.”

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3328 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    So Yili, one of China's bigger dairy companies, plans to build in infant formula plant in New Zealand. Original Chinese-language article here, my rough-as-guts partial translation/summary/ill-informed comment/questions here.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1966 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    You may recall that Farmergreen posted earlier about a foreign (Chinese) dairy company looking to purchase an existing NZ dairy brand.
    This article fleshes the story out somewhat.

    There are some interesting aspects to the proposal.
    Any proposal which sought ultimately to take milk directly from NZ dairy farmers by offering a better price than Fonterra would have the potential for more desirable outcomes vis a vis sustainability, initially economic , but possibly environmental as well.
    Increased profitability can lead to reduced stocking rates and more resilient/self-contained farm enterprises .

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Where is the evidence that Taranaki waterways have higher levels of nitrate , phosphorus and coliforms than those of the Waikato?
    The geography of the two regions could hardly be more different: think about it.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    When did Pat Morrison first float the idea of building a large dam to irrigate parts of Canterbury?
    Towards the end of the Second Millenium wasn’t it?

    ” Much of the land in that area currently irrigated is supplied with water from underground aquifers that have been under severe pressure over recent summers. The Canterbury Strategic Water Study carried out on behalf of the regional council Environment Canterbury and district councils identified that water storage was the way forward for Canterbury, given that there is enough water for the region but it is not always in the right place at the right time.”


    "CPW was granted requiring authority status by Labour Environment Minister David Benson-Pope in 2005."

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Yes, and now TVNZ is on the story, too, with more detail than I had been able to find, including confirmation that they have not yet bought Oceania Dairy.

    I'm interested in what you say about offering a higher price than Fonterra. TVNZ's article says:

    Yili said it has a preliminary cooperation agreement with some local farmers to supply the plant, and indicated plans to draw on Fonterra Cooperative Group's regulated supply of raw milk.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1966 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Increased profitability

    all of which will flow to Chinese rather than NZ interests. Not an economically sustainable future.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Fran O'Sullivan's new blog has an article about the Yili purchase proposal - the one the TVNZ story seems to be based on.

    Lovely to see Don Brash furthering NZ's interests again.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Sacha,

    all of which will flow to Chinese rather than NZ interests.

    I dunno, if Farmer Green is right and

    Any proposal which sought ultimately to take milk directly from NZ dairy farmers by offering a better price than Fonterra would have the potential for more desirable outcomes vis a vis sustainability, initially economic , but possibly environmental as well.
    Increased profitability can lead to reduced stocking rates and more resilient/self-contained farm enterprises .

    ...and therefore Fonterra is forced to lift its game and/or room is made for other competitors to squeeze in, then it's not a total loss to NZ.

    And that [ahem] link* to NewZealandInc.com because, oh look, NZ journos covering the world from an NZ angle and, look, East Asia, China, lots of it! From a Kiwi perspective! Finally!

    *Dear TVNZ, if I have to copy and paste the address into a new browser tab, then no, you have not provided a link and you are not doing your job properly.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1966 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Fran said the site is a soft launch for now. Presumably she will be promoting it sometime in the new year.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Actually, FG is right that higher raw milk prices would leave more in NZ farmers' pockets too. Still unimpressed with NZ kissing goodbye to the entire value chain beyond the farm.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes but NZ branded/manufactured /infant milk powder, while it is better than 25kg bags of the same thing, can never hold a candle to 200 ml sachets of NZ fresh yoghurt for a lactose intolerant population.
    And the plastic packaging is made in China ; we just need to fill it up with mostly water and send it back, by the shipload.
    Then we will be in a position to achieve the economic, environmental and social outcomes that we (seemingly) all agree are features of the future NZ that we want to live in.

    http://www.ecolean.com/en/producer/el2/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I agree. That's the sort of value I want NZ companies to own at least a substantial stake in. Having Chinese business partners makes sense at the market end, but it seems our ambishus 'leaders' can only see us as someone else's sharemilkers and factory hands. Yesterday's boys.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Data farms?
    This article on the Christmas Eve Amazon cloud farm outage that shut Netflix down States-wide, makes me think...
    Not just about the susceptibility of trusting your data to someone else's server, but also if data server farms are here to stay, why aren't we building them here? Is it the seismic risk? I'd have thought our geographical 'isolation' would be a unique selling point.
    The Key/English/Joycean way forward has us selling off parts of our power companies when we could be ramping them up for supplying data farms! - if we lose Comalco - shove a server farm down there to use the power... Hell we could repurpose Waihopai as an up/down link, then we might (as a country) get some real return on the millions we've spent and spend on it...
    food for thought.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    if we lose Comalco

    You think that this would be a loss? (Sorry Tim)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    someone else’s sharemilkers and factory hands.

    Farmer Green likes your turn of phrase: very well put.

    As others , in fact many, continue to emphasise, it is about having a brand which says CLEAN, GREEN and FRESH GODZONE. And making it real (needless to say).

    That has been the predominant consumer trend ot the last 40 years ; it shows no signs of going away, or even weakening.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    if data server farms are here to stay, why aren't we building them here? Is it the seismic risk? I'd have thought our geographical 'isolation' would be a unique selling point.

    you'd think.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Farmer Green,

    The alumina alumni... aka the OB scene!

    You think that this would be a loss?

    No, think of that line as being delivered with
    particularly unalloyed irony....

    see the ferrous wheel turn
    compartmentalised, closed...
    watch the rustyferrians burn
    as coal scuttles coalitions
    Fear is, the Key...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    This Yili Yili is good news - NZ has waged economic war with itself since the mid 1980s and lost - We surrendered and let every one else win - a nation so lacking in insight and capital that we are not in a position to captilise on our unique advantage - the rate that the grass grows.

    Yep let us celebrate

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1174 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    less thought for food…
    Dust Bowl returning…
    a 21st century Frankensteinbeckons…
    Will Canterbury become a Cannery Row, too ?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Will Canterbury become a Cannery Row, too ?

    Interesting that Steinbeck's cannery went upmarket after the sardine fishery collapsed from overexploitation. Interesting too that NZ - and Canterbury's - two most common exotic trees, the Monterey pine and Monterey cypress, are both endemic to the Monterey area.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3328 posts Report Reply

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