Monday, 4 April 2011

Have dairy prices peaked?

# Big Farming Story of the Week: Have dairy prices peaked?

This week’s Global Dairy Trade Event will make interesting viewing. The March 15 event, straight off the back of the Japan earthquake resulted in an 8.2% drop in the price of the basket of dairy products Fonterra measures. World money markets have settled down somewhat and the fundamentals for agricultural commodities remain buoyant. Dairy farmers will be hoping this translates, on Tuesday night, to a stabilized world dairy market.

# Big Political Story of the Week: A redhead caught red-handed then red-carded?

Everyone who knows Darren Hughes likes him. Unfortunately for Dazza, politics is a brutal game where innocence, until proven guilty, is not a given. Innocent or otherwise, Hughes made a foolhardy decision, a choice that will cost him the career he’s dedicated his life to.

The Labour Party, almost devoid of affable personalities on the front bench, cannot afford to lose the likes of Hughes. Although David Cunliffe covets Phil Goff’s job, the only likely candidate to challenge John Key in the charisma stakes is Shane Jones. And he’s still got his hands full doing porn penance!

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The Cricket World Cup.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Yet again the Black Caps faltered at the semi-final hurdle. But let’s not be too tough on them. They’re picked from about 100 first class cricketers. The likes of India chooses from hundreds of thousands.

For me there’s only one real sports story this week and that’s the Masters from the Mecca of golf, Augusta National. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are still the sentimental and bookies’ favourites but Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy have got to be worth a shout.

# Brickbat: Bureaucrats and Bullying.

We’ve recently witnessed some dreadful footage of bullying in schools. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s been going on since Tom Brown’s school days. We’re just more aware of it these days with the plethora of electronic and social media. Forget a limp-wristed response to this age-old problem. Bullies generally only understand one language. So to hear some faceless bureaucrat from a government social agency suggesting we also needed to take into account the feelings of the bullies, is a perfect example of why Bill English culling some jobs in Wellington is not necessarily a bad thing.

Oh and an honourable mention for our national carrier Air New Zealand for price gouging off the back of the Rugby World Cup. Try getting from Invercargill to Auckland and back again for less than $1000 around the RWC quarters, semis or finals time.

# Bouquet: Richie and the Royal Wedding!

If we ever needed proof our All Blacks captain was all class, then it was reinforced by his decision to red-card the royal wedding. McCaw could have been in London on April 29 for Will and Kate’s nuptials, rubbing shoulders with royalty, world leaders, pop stars and sporting heroes. Instead he has chosen, in RWC year, to be with his Crusaders mates in Perth for a game they could win with their B team.

# Bugger: The Japan Earthquake.

Why did it have to happen to such a nice race of people? There’s a wonderful e-mail doing the rounds about what the rest of the world could learn from the dignified and calm Japanese response to tragedy. Here’s an excerpt:

“When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly! There were disciplined queues for water and groceries. People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something. Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM was left alone. There was no looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Fifty workers selflessly stayed back to pump sea water into the reactors to prevent nuclear meltdown.”

While the Kiwi response to the Canterbury earthquake has been heartwarming, it speaks volumes of the Japanese that we can still learn a lot from them.

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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