Monday, 7 March 2011

The Earthquake

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The Earthquake.

While rural areas were relatively unscathed, the farming community has covered itself in glory off the back of a swift and decisive response to those in need. The “Farmy Army”, which charged into town on tractors with front-end loaders at the ready to battle the evil forces of liquefaction, was a credit to the organizational skills of Federated Farmers.

The corporate farming world has also been to the forefront with Fonterra leading the charge, ably supported by the likes of Silver Fern Farms and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, right down to the sterling efforts of Canterbury-based water contractors such as Bleeker Contracting and Raymond Hart.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The Earthquake.

As was the case with the September 4 quake, the pragmatic and unflappable John Key has been to the fore. Gerry Brownlee continues to exude calm just as he did at Pike River, but the real star of the show has once again been Christchurch mayor Bob Parker. I must confess to thinking his initial election to office was a shallow television personality getting home courtesy of profile alone. How wrong I was!

There has been no petty political points scoring and for that our political leaders are to be congratulated. Key and Bill English now just have to figure out how to pay for the whole damn mess and that’s where the farming-led export recovery will come to the party and pay the piper.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The Earthquake.

There’s no escaping it and sport has not been spared. AMI Stadium is out of action for six months, casting a dark shadow over Christchurch’s ability to host the Rugby World Cup, even before contemplating accommodation issues in town. The QEII complex, scene of the 1974 Commonwealth Games, is a crumpled ruin and nearly every Christchurch-based sporting franchise is looking for a new home. During dark times, pained people look to sports and sports stars for a welcome respite. Thankfully Richie and Dan are OK!

# Brickbat: The looters and scammers.

While the bravery, selflessness, tenacity and downright generosity of the human spirit has been a joy to behold in the aftermath of the earthquake, the actions of some beggar belief. The PC Brigade would never allow it but I say bring back the 19th century public stocks, put the perpetrators in them, publically name and shame them and let the good folk of Christchurch loose with a truck load of rotten fruit.

# Bouquet: Steve Wyn-Harris.

My fellow columnist and long-time acquaintance (I’m wary of saying friend because that would make me sound exclusive, as Steve has so few) is the most miserable and mean man I know. He would skin a louse if he thought he could sell the carcass. This Hawkes Bay land barron is so tight he once slept in his farm ute at the Golden Shears in Masterton rather than shell out for a night’s accommodation.

But tragedy often brings out the best in us all and last week Steve raided his hitherto unopened piggy bank, painfully extracted $400 (every one of them a prisoner) and paid his own way to Christchurch to help out in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Steve, my friend, I tip my hat to you!

# Bugger: Mother Nature.

Only a woman scorned could be such a cruel mistress! The jury might be out on global warming but with floods, droughts, snowstorms, disease, pestilence and now earthquakes on the menu you’ve got to wonder what we here in Godzone have done to so offend the Gods of nature.

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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