Monday, 29 August 2011

The kiwifruit calamity and cow cocky Sir Michael Fay

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The kiwifruit calamity and cow cocky Sir Michael Fay.

I hope I’ve got a bum steer here but my sources tell me the spread of the dreaded psa disease is rife in the Bay of Plenty. The doomsday merchants are saying the industry will not exist in five years and the Gold variety is “history” in the greater Te Puke area, possibly within this growing season. The good news is kiwifruit farmers have already shown themselves to be a resilient lot in fighting the disease thus far and there seems to be a consensus that the industry response to the outbreak has been superb. Fingers are crossed for this billion dollar industry.

Having just invested in a dairy farm, I take some personal comfort when the likes of Sir Michael Fay start sniffing around the Crafar farms. However, it’s a bit rich of the rich-lister to be preaching the virtues of local ownership with his track record of flogging off New Zealand assets.

# Big Political Story of the Week: Phil Goff is not that bad!

Having just returned from a week across the ditch, it would be fear to say Fearless Phil’s problems are miniscule compared to those of his Labour counterpart, and Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. By contrast John Key’s popularity is at record levels heading into the November 26 election. While he might not be the most popular man in New Zealand (that accolade will surely belong to Richie McCaw should he get the business done on October 23), Key will need to be run over by a bus or embroiled in a Craig Thomson-like scandal to lose the election. Unless, of course, Winston gets past five percent…

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The All Blacks RWC Squad.

My only issue with a pretty good squad is the lack of a specialist No. 7 to back up Richie McCaw, even though the said opensider could spend the entire tournament riding the pine. John Hart made the salient point that in 1987, the only time we’ve won the RWC, Mark Brooke-Cowden was picked specifically to play just one game to cover Michael Jones who was unavailable for a Sunday semi-final. Hosea Gear must be the unluckiest player, the victim of Israel Dagg’s brilliance and three wise men’s decision to go for work rate and aerial skills ahead of size and power, while John Afoa and Corey Flynn could perhaps buy a Lotto ticket.

# Brickbat: The Green Party.

It’s one thing to be a vigilant watchdog for the environment but it’s another matter to be a dog in the manger! Central Otago District Mayor Tony Lepper was quite right to be up-in-arms over the proposed Greens’ policy to charge for irrigation water at a rate of 10 cents per 1,000 litres. The term Luddite sits easily alongside the Greens’ economic policies.

# Bouquet: The Ranfurly Shield.

October 22, 2009, was the greatest day of my life. After a lifetime plus, in my case, another 38 days of waiting, my beloved Southland Stags won the Log of Wood against Canterbury. They’ve since lost and regained it from Canterbury and succumbed to Taranaki. Who knows, by the time you read this, it could reside in Napier. My point is if Southland was to lose the Shield, I’m glad it’s going to one of the great farming provinces where it will be cherished, whether it be Taranaki or Hawkes Bay, both of which have proud Shield heritages. Keep it in the provinces!

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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