Monday, 5 September 2011

Spring has sprung. Or has it?

# Big Farming Story of the Week: Spring has sprung. Or has it?

Depending on which school of thought you belong to, September 1 signifies the beginning of the spring season. The meteorologists will tell you you’ve got to wait until the spring equinox of September 22/23 but I reckon there are enough frolicking lambs and calves and blooming plants around to declare Mother Nature’s most dynamic season upon us. No month is more important in the farming calendar than September. The most lambs are born in September, the most crops are put in the ground in September and the dairy season is set up by the pasture growth rates in September. Please farming gods, let September be fine!

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

Just when you thought it was safe to dip your frugal toes back into the fiscal waters, the government announces a $4 billion dollar blowout in the cost of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Finance Minister Bill English is urging calm but he did make the telling comment, “we’re as vulnerable as we’ve ever been”. Just how vulnerable we are, will become self-evident upon paying our insurance premiums in the coming years.

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

Just when you thought it was safe to believe the Great Redeemer Graham Henry was going to lead us to the Rugby World Cup Promised Land, we have a blowout in the two Tri-nations tests leading into the most important tournament in our sporting history. Most fans were accepting of dropping the Springboks in Port Elizabeth because it allowed us to cosset the crown jewels, Richie and Dan, in cotton wool. What was much less palatable was a 40 minute walloping at the hands of the Wallabies. I still believe we are the best team in the world, albeit one too dependent on key individuals, and I still believe the fortress that is Eden Park will see us home. However the three wise men face some interesting selection dilemmas around a depleted loose forward combination with no specialist cover for our most special player and a back three that is top heavy on fullbacks and light on power and size.

# Brickbat: Sonny Bill Williams.

He might be a god-given athlete but he’s not God. From day one the NZRU got off on the wrong foot when Henry subserviently acted as personal chauffeur for SBW’s dodgy manager. In the good old days the then All Blacks coach Fred Allen put the fear of God into our greatest All Black, Colin Meads. The coach called the shots. Now we have the tail wagging the dog. Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith are a world-class combination in the midfield. If one of them falls over I’ve got a lot of faith in Richard Kahui. Carter can play 12 just as effectively as 10. Bugger off offshore SBW. We will survive quite nicely, thanks, without you.

# Bouquet: The Green Party

Dr Russel (only the Greens could spell Russel with one l and have co-leaders) Norman and his eco-warriors are usually more likely to be the recipients of a brickbat rather than a bouquet in this column, but credit where credit’s due. The Greens’ idea of an earthquake levy/tax has some merit. I’m sure the government will argue the tax will stymie productivity but we’re one big natural disaster away from going broke as a country. Christchurch is too big a player in the economy not to fix properly. It’s a case of all shoulders to the wheel. You never know when we might need Canterbury’s help.

And a final thought on the Greens. With Labour under Phil Goff self-destructing, the Greens will make up a powerful voting bloc in the next parliament. I wonder if they’re smart enough to get inside the tent and pee out?

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


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