Monday, 6 June 2011

The dollar and the weather

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The dollar and the weather.

Despite what Winston Peters says, we can’t do much about the former reaching a 26 year post-float high last week. As for the latter, following a record mild May (albeit an extremely wet one for some) talk of the prospect of a short winter will be music to the ears of farmers who were brutalized by last year’s September storms. The grass is still growing in many regions off the back of a benign autumn and if we’re to believe WeatherWatch’s Philip Duncan there’s more mild stuff to come. The Moon Man, Ken Ring, says the planets are aligning for a late start to winter but watch out for a real sting in the tail with late polar blasts in September and October. Interestingly, the Met Service Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt concurs but he’s less definitive about the severity.

While I wouldn’t mind a cold snap in October to take the sting out of the temperate teams (Australia and South Africa) in the Rugby World Cup, the last thing farmers need is a repeat of last September’s storms. Here’s hoping the Moon Man’s speaking through a hole in his Uranus on this one!

# Big Political Story of the Week: The political polls.

John Key can seemingly do no wrong. Despite a stingy Budget that resulted in most of us being worse off financially, as a nation we’ve begrudgingly swallowed the bitter pill which prescribes spending less and earning more. Funny that! Maybe, as a country, we’re finally growing up financially and learning to live within our means.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The bloody referees!

Awful Aussie Stu Dick(inson) has always been a pedant when it comes to refereeing rugby. His vile, there can be no other word to describe it, performance in the Reds-Crusaders game was yet another timely example of the biggest threat to Richie McCaw holding aloft the Webb Ellis Cup on October 23 at Eden Park. We all remember wayward Wayne Barnes from Cardiff in 2007. Forget about David Pocock, Will Genia, Victor Matfield or Morne Steyn. The biggest danger to the All Blacks in RWC 2011 is the man with the whistle.

# Brickbat: The colour green.

Despite being a member of the exclusive primary club, it’s a colour I’ve never warmed to as much as its stable mates red and blue. This is not a cheap shot at the political movement or a negative reflection on all the beautiful stuff we convert to protein and sell to the world to pay our way. Nor is it an indictment on the Springboks or Wallabies. Both are menacingly good in green.

They tell me green is the fashion colour of 2011 and will remain that way until 2013, although how anyone other than my old mate Ken Ring could predict that is beyond me. The trouble with green is it’s just not as sexy as red or as regal as blue. You don’t buy a racy green sports car or have royal green blood. Green is a colour we associate with envy or with being off-colour.

Green is a great colour for grass. I just prefer my rugby team playing on top of it to be wearing maroon, blue or gold.

# Bouquet: ACC and humour.

Admittedly, they’re subjects not normally associated with one another but in isolation it’s been a good week for both. ACC has long been an inefficient behemoth. Opening it up to competition in the workplace will keep it on its toes and ultimately benefit those, including farmers, who pay too much for accident cover. And who knows, competition might even encourage ACC to rethink its incomprehensible invoices – an accident waiting to happen if I ever I saw one!

And finally, amidst some of the vitriol that has spewed forth around the Highlanders’ new jersey, it’s great to see the controversy has not been lost on the humorists. There is no finer portal for humour than the internet and no finer example of good-natured ribbing than the doctored photo of Jamie Mackintosh in a David Bain jersey – titled “New Highlanders Jersey – Sneak Peak” (see attached).

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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