Monday, 20 June 2011

The Pending Psa Predicament

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The Pending Psa Predicament.

If the murmurings I’m hearing are anywhere near true then the Kiwifruit industry is in trouble, especially the star of the stable, Zespri Gold. This is a billion dollar industry that New Zealand Inc. cannot afford to fail. The management and containment of psa by the industry, thus far, appears to have been well handled. The horticulture industry is now holding its breath until springtime, when the full cost of psa is likely to be revealed.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The Earthquake Announcement.

This story refuses to go away and it’s going to take one hell of an upheaval somewhere else around the country to knock it off its perch as the biggest story of 2011. I don’t think even an overwhelmingly good-news story such as a Rugby World Cup win on October 23 can displace Christchurch from the hearts and minds of New Zealanders.

The simple solution to our greatest ever natural disaster is there is no simple solution. The best insurance in the world cannot cover what Christchurch has lost and almost everyone living east of the CBD in our second-largest city is ultimately a loser. The Garden City will rebuild itself but the heart of the CBD will never be the same. How can it be when its heart’s been ripped out?

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The Black Caps Captaincy Cock-Up.

What the hell’s going on at New Zealand Cricket? The tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum approach to finding Daniel Vettori’s successor last week was comical. Heaven help our national side when one of the aspirants for the top job reportedly had to jump through the hoop of doing a power-point presentation. Even though I’m a Brendon McCallum fan, this charade should have been short-circuited on day one by John Wright appointing the man he wanted to work with – Ross Taylor.

I wish the talented Taylor all the best in his new job. Here’s hoping his team talks are a little more inspiring than his first media conference where he abruptly halted proceedings mid-sentence to declare, following an embarrassing silence, he’d lost his train of thought. I suppose it could have been worse. NZC could have taken a leaf from netball’s “pass and giggle” approach and appointed PC primary school co-captains.

# Brickbat: The Te Tai Tokorau Byelection.

At the time of writing I have no idea of the result, which gives me something in common with Hone Harawira, who also has no idea! This is a costly exercise in ego less than six months out from a general election. If Hone wanted a mandate, November 26 is the vehicle he should have chosen. As a taxpayer making a good contribution to the government’s dwindling coffers I really resent money being wasted on the politics of resentment.

# Bouquet: The Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

I have to declare an interest here because Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a long-time sponsor of the Farming Show. Putting personal bias aside though, this is a smart sponsorship for a fertilizer company. Over the next decade, failing an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, there is no more important issue facing farming than the environment. Farmers need to be vigilant guardians of the environment and most are. However the intensification that comes with dairying does not come without a cost to the environment, despite best practice. How farmers mitigate that cost is the challenge.

The BFEA recognizes that farmers “need to be in the black to be green” and the nine finalists in Hastings at the weekend were glowing examples of financial and environmental sustainability. This competition has the potential to supersede the Young Farmer Contest and the Dairy Industry Awards as our most prestigious farming title. It has a way to go but mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

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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