Monday, 9 May 2011

The weather gods and Osama Bin Laden

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The weather gods and Osama Bin Laden.

While large tracts of the South Island have been enjoying a relatively golden spell of late autumn weather, farmers on the wrong side of the Cook Strait have had a hammering. None more so than the bunch of cockies in a small band of coastal Hawkes Bay who were on the receiving end of six month’s rain in two days. This isolated weather bomb has wreaked havoc on the scale of 1988’s Cyclone Bola but because of the relative few affected the story has been shunted to back pages by the likes of the Royal Wedding, the Auckland tornado and Bin Laden.

Speaking of whom, even though the world is a much better place bereft of its most-wanted terrorist there was a little silver lining for farmers in the land of the long white cloud with an associated strengthening of the greenback following his demise.

Now we only need to sort out Gaddafi, Mugabe, Castro and Co. and the dollar will be back to US70 cents!

# Big Political Story of the Week: Far Out! The Far Left, the Far Right.

The Act Party are an odd bunch. Their brand is built around minimum government expenditure, reducing bureaucratic waste, and perk-busting yet their hitherto leader milked the system for all it was worth. Their new leader was not even a member of the party when he declared his leadership aspirations. The fate of the party was effectively decided by their newest MP, who’d been in parliament for two minutes and only because she took the place of someone who took the name of a dead baby. Confused? How do you think the voters will feel?

As for Hone Harawira, if he holds the country to electoral ransom by forcing an expensive by-election then he deserves every bit of vitriol and scorn poured upon him. Pull your head in Hone and think of what that $600,000 could do for some of your struggling constituents.

I never thought I’d write this but compared to the Act and Mana parties, the Greens look decidedly sensible and stable.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Duckshooting.

Some call it a sport. Some a blood sport. Others label it a religion. For many farming folk the first Saturday in May is sacrosanct. So important in some regions, the other rural religion, rugby, is postponed for the day. Say no more.

# Brickbat: No Milk Mondays. Who are these Mothers?

A bunch of well-intentioned but misguided mums have started a “No Milk Mondays” campaign against Fonterra which they accuse of profiteering and being “a bully in the playground”.

Yes, milk has increased in price by 10% in the past year but what about petrol, meat and bread? By my reckoning all have superseded milk in the price-rise department.
Fonterra has put in place a voluntary freeze on the price of milk domestically. While they’re tilting at windmills, the no-milk Monday mums might be better served petitioning the fuel companies for a price freeze.

# Bouquet: The Royal Family.

I tip my hat to Queen Elizabeth II who ascended to the throne in 1953 and has not put a foot wrong since. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for her offspring who have all been, at times, accident prone. Despite the foibles of Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward the cavalry is on its way in the form of William who appears to be an incredibly well-rounded and grounded individual. He has a regal aura mixed with a down to earth demeanour. His beautiful Princess bride also appears to be born to the job even though she’s a commoner. William’s cause is also not harmed by his good looks and the fact that he hasn’t fallen into his father’s trap of talking to plants and expressing a desire, on occasion, to be a tampon.

# Bugger: Off Hone. This country has no place for your divisive, separatist nonsense.

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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