Monday, 21 March 2011

The farming planets finally in alignment?

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The farming planets finally in alignment?

At the time of writing I’m second-guessing Dr Allan Bollard will have dropped the Official Cash Rate. While this is bad news for savers and suckers with perpetual bonds, it’s great for the engine room of our economy. For farmers there’s never been a better time to borrow money, so long as the banks play ball. The farming planets, it would seem, are finally in alignment. Record international commodity prices, a shortage of supply, a burgeoning and protein-hungry Asian economy, a climatically-favourable summer for many, a falling exchange rate and now interest rates at record (or near) lows. Land is of course, still too dear, but at 20-30% below its 2007-08 peak, in relative terms it’s good buying. If I was 20 years younger I’d be back farming!

# Big Political Story of the Week: Simon Power.

Over the years I’ve interviewed most of our political heavyweights. Some you warm to immediately and it’s not hard to see why the voters are taken by their charisma. I’d put John Key, Winston Peters (even though his policies suck) and the late Rod Donald in that category. Others take time to acclimatize to. Frosty but friendlier-when-you-earn-her-trust Helen Clark heads that list. Bill English’s undoubted boyish Southland charm is not immediately evident to all, especially on television, while Don Brash was quite the charmer given the chance, which he never was. Some are downright obnoxious, others patently arrogant and the odd one surprisingly thick! They shall remain unnamed.

Simon Power has charisma. Until last week, if Key was run over by a bus, Power would have been the choice of many to lead the National Party into an election. English would make a good PM given the chance, but he blew his chance when he accepted the poisoned chalice in 2002. This country’s next PM now that Power has stepped aside? Whip down to the TAB and place a sly $10 on Steven Joyce.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The Highlanders.

It was going to be the courageous Crusaders until the hoe-into-them Highlanders stole the limelight at the Loftus Versfeld fortress in Pretoria. Superbly led by Southland farmer Jamie (Hand of God) Mackintosh, ably backed up by Southland plumber Jason Rutledge, aided and abetted by a couple of cracker Otago townies in Adam Thomson and Alando Soakai, throw in a tough-as-teak Taranaki boy Jarrad Hoeata and we’ve still got Colin Slade to come back. Wow!

# Brickbat: Hone Harawira and Sue Bradford.

Call them dysfunctional, political misfits, loose cannons or whatever. I reckon they’re trouble with a capital T (for Titewhai) if they join forces to form an unholy alliance of the far left. Harawira was born to stand outside the tent peeing in. Bradford is a contradiction. From a well-to-do middle class family her demeanour defies her reputed high intelligence. Either way these Luddites have little to offer the farming community or a 21st century economy.

# Bouquet: Sir Colin Meads.

For giving the Farming Show the honour of auctioning one of his most prized possessions for the Canterbury earthquake fund. It’s a rarity, a No. 8 All Blacks jersey he wore when Canterbury defeated the All Blacks 11-9 at Lancaster Park in 1957. Fingers crossed that wonderful rugby ground sees some World Cup action later this year.

# Bugger: The earthquake.

If indeed Christchurch is to lose 10,000 buildings, including a good portion of its beautiful and defining heritage buildings, then it’s truly a sad day for New Zealand architecture. In my misspent youth I spent a year at Lincoln College. Quite a bit of that year was spent in a beautiful heritage building we’ve seen quite a lot of recently on television. The Carlton Hotel was a lovely old pub. The King of Pubs is dead. Long live the Garden City.

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.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home