Monday, 28 March 2011

The world economy and Ken Ring

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The world economy and Ken Ring.

Is the global economy going to hell in a handcart or do the woes of Japan present an opportunity for New Zealand farmers? No one likes to benefit from the misery and misfortune of others but Japan is in desperate need of food of the clean, green, nuclear-free variety. With radiation already detected in spinach and milk in Japan, the door is ajar for New Zealand to fill the breach.

As for Ken Ring, the nation and its farmers are divided. No one engenders more negative (and positive) comment on the Farming Show than the Moon Man. Personally, I like him and anyone who knows Ring will attest to his good character. His judgment, however, is questionable at best.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The New Zealand economy and Ken Ring.

As a nation we need to borrow $10 billion to pay for the Christchurch earthquake. There’s no new money for the Budget with $800 million to be pruned from Government expenditure to reallocate to health and education spending. Where are those savings going to be made? Let’s start by gassing some of the ridiculous Ministries (Women’s Affairs springs readily to mind) set up by previous administrations. ACC is a bumbling bureaucracy. The Student Loan scheme is a rort for many. And it beggars belief that any family (regardless of how many kids they have) with a combined household income of $100,000 should qualify for Working For Families. Oh, and while we’re looking at sensible cuts to government spending, let’s chop the number of politicians from 120 (plus) to 90. MMP sees too many no-hopers gainfully employed at our expense.

As for Ken Ring, the politicians led by nerdy Nick Smith, were quick to distance themselves from the lunar looney.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The cracking Crusaders, the crappy Cricket World Cup (pre quarter finals) or the super nova Novak Djokovich. Take your pick.

As for Ken Ring, his predictions for Christchurch on March 20 were not very sporting at all.

# Brickbat: Auckland and Ken Ring.

Auckland is a city of haves and have nots. Go to Parnell, Ponsonby or the Viaduct Basin and enjoy all the glitz and glamour the Queen City has to offer. Spend some time, as I did last weekend, at the Takanini Hilton, and see firsthand some of the squalor the City of Sails has on offer. And Papakura is several rungs up the socio-economic ladder from the likes of Otara and Mangere.

I think of rural servicing towns such as Taihape, Eketahuna and Gore (where I used to live), or bigger cities, the likes of Palmerston North or Timaru, that sometimes wrongly get a bad rap nationally and I can’t help but feel how lucky the citizens of those great towns are, not to live in the rat race which is our biggest city.

As for Ken Ring, he lives in Auckland. Maybe that’s Ken’s real problem?

# Bouquet: The Farmy Army and Ken Ring.

Federated Farmers again led from the front (end loader) in the fight to clean up Christchurch.

As for Ken Ring, love him or loathe him, you have to begrudgingly admire the amount of publicity the former mathematician and magician has conjured up for himself. Guess who’s going to be topping the best-sellers list for his weather Almanac?

# Bugger: North Africa, the Middle East and Ken Ring.

I’ve often mused aloud why all the oil is under the unstable, nutty, despot-ridden countries? Sensible and serene nations such as Switzerland and Sweden would surely have been far more suitable guardians of the black gold that drives the world’s economy. Mind you, having said that, it could be that water is the colourless gold that drives economies in the 21st century. If that’s the case, then New Zealand is poised to cash in as a nation with a plentiful supply of the precious resource. That’s providing, of course, our friend the Moon Man predicts plenty of rain for the remainder of the century!

Footnote: Jamie Mackay is the host of the Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB. In a past life a Southland sheep farmer, these days he comments on farming, politics and sport for a living from the relative safety and comfort of his radio studio in Dunedin.


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