Monday, 10 October 2011

Dave Courtenay, the senior communications advisor for Zespri

# Big Farming Story of the Week:

Dave Courtenay, the senior communications advisor for Zespri, was kind enough to write suggesting some of the stats I quoted in my September 26 column on Psa in the kiwifruit industry were out-of-date. So here are the latest numbers and, like mine, they don’t make good reading:

The total tray production for the industry this year is around 115 million trays, around 30 million trays of which is Gold kiwifruit – the crop that is most impacted from Psa.

The kiwifruit industry is worth around 20 percent of the Bay of Plenty’s GDP. At the peak of the season the industry employs over 20,000 people. Last financial year the industry returned just over $1 billion in export earnings for the country.

Latest statistics have 395 orchards with Psa. The vast majority are in the Te Puke region, with outlying orchards affected in Tauranga, Katikati and Waihi. Across New Zealand, the industry totals 3,100 orchards with around 2,700 growers farming 12,800 hectares -16.7% of which have some level of Psa infection.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The election sidelined by the Rugby World Cup .

Politics has been pushed aside by more urgent matters of state such as the state of Dan Carter and the state of play in the RWC. As stated last week Dopey Don’s Act aspirations have gone up in smoke. The Maori Party, NZ First, United Future and the Mana(less) Party are all languishing. The Greens are looking like a 10% party and Labour is marooned on 30%. John Key will remain Prime Minister but where’s Winston?

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Dan groin!

If you think Mike Tindall’s groin got him into trouble, it’s nothing compared to the grief caused by the nether regions of the world’s most accomplished rugby player. The All Blacks’ camp is making all the right noises about “moving forward” with Colin Slade but let’s not sugar-coat the situation. You can’t replace Carter. He is even more irreplaceable than Captain Fantastic, Richie McCaw, because he runs the cutter tactically and he kicks the goals. History has shown us Rugby World Cup finals are not won by tries. They’re won by penalties and dropped goals.

No one denies his obvious talent but Slade is heading into the business end of the RWC underdone, his cause not aided by his dropping from last year’s end-of-season tour for Stephen Donald. Ditto for Carter’s RWC replacement Aaron Cruden! Graham Henry’s had four long years since Cardiff to ponder a Plan B should injury befall either of his marquee players, Carter and McCaw. I’ve yet to see much evidence of one.

# Brickbat: Men who don’t partake in Movember!

Very few men suit moustaches (and even fewer women – just ask Paul Henry!) However, personal vanity and itchy upper lips should be cast aside for the greater good of men’s health. In a past life I used to grow a three-week beard during the lambing season. When I shaved it off, but kept the moustache, my dearly beloved said I looked like a rat peeping out a drain pipe. I will face more cruel barbs next month when I grow a mo for men’s health. But I figure the embarrassment is worth if it helps fight depression and prostate cancer in men.

# Bouquet: A loquacious lefty!.

It’s hard to believe, I know, but sometimes I’m accused of having a right-leaning bias politically! I am of course apolitical but a good portion of the good folk who listen to my radio show or read this column are probably of the aforementioned persuasion. But credit where credit’s due, so I’m tipping my hat to a loquacious lefty. He first entered local body politics in 1965, was elected Labour Party president in 1979, entered parliament in 1984 and he’s been there ever since. However, unlike most life-long politicians, he achieved personal success in business before succumbing to the political public trough. And, unlike most politicians, he leaves the Beehive with a legacy; in his case Kiwibank. He might have been a strange choice for Minister of Agriculture but well done Jim Anderton for close to half a century of public service.

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


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