Monday, 31 October 2011

Dumping milk and dropping milk prices

# Big Farming Story of the Week: Dumping milk and dropping milk prices.

Last week started well enough for Fonterra with a very a generous 10th birthday shout around the country. The following day, however, the milk turned to custard when dairy farmers were hit with the double-whammy of a reduced forecast payout and having to dump milk back on to their pastures. The 45 cent reduction in the forecast payout, while disappointing, was not a real surprise. What surprised me was learning only one gas pipeline effectively supplies the northern half of the North Island. What surprised even more was the lack of a Plan B from many leading industries, Fonterra included, when it comes to powering their plants.

# Big Political Story of the Week: Labour’s Agriculture Policy.

Other than an admirable desire to lower the exchange rate and to see New Zealand farm land retained in New Zealand ownership, I can see little in Labour’s agriculture policy that would solicit the farming vote. A capital gains tax, bringing agriculture into the ETS, a tough water policy and draconian labour laws to give trade unions more power, will not win any votes from farmers. Let’s be realistic here, farmers are not Labour’s natural constituents. You’ve got to go back to the Norman Kirk years (1972-75) to find a Labour government, with Colin Moyle as Minister of Agriculture, which went in to bat for farmers. Phil Goff has a small lifestyle farm in Clevedon and a natural empathy for rural life, but the reality is Labour doesn’t court the farming vote. Maybe Phil should just openly admit it and cash in on the anti-farming sentiment and resentment that genuinely does exist in some quarters.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Make that month, year, nay decade!

This wasn’t a monkey. Or a gorilla! Or Godzilla even! This was the rugby equivalent of lifting King Kong off our collective backs. Richie, I love you. Graham, all is forgiven. William (Webb Ellis), welcome home!

# Brickbat: The eye-opening French.

Yes the Frogs were quite magnifique at Eden Park. Warriors in white! But just when you’re ready to forgive them for that other warrior, the Rainbow one, they sour a marvellous occasion and sporting spectacle with senseless eye-gouging. Their performance quite literally brought a tear to the eye - Richie McCaw’s in this case.

There’s something smugly superior about the French. Anyone who has been to Paris and battled the French language will know how dismissive the French are of the English language and its practitioners. I once spent five painstaking minutes at a Louvre café trying to explain to a French waiter that I wanted a pasta for lunch, going as far as pointing directly at it. He was plainly having me on, so it was only when I spoke to him in a universal language as I was walking out the door that he bothered to respond in kind in English!

# Bouquet: Nostradamus Mackay!

Although I finished next to last in the office RWC sweepstake, I am proudly trumpeting the fact I was the first man in the country to predict the redemption, resurrection and renaissance of Stephen Donald! This is what I wrote (word for word) in my sports column in the Southland Times on December 10, 2010:

With no Carter, McCaw effectively all but invalided out of the tournament and Sonny Bill Williams defecting to the Dallas Cowboys, it was left to some of the lesser lights to lead the way at Eden Park. Without doubt though, the All Blacks owed their epic 13-12 World Cup victory to the most maligned man of 2010, Waikato’s Stephen Donald. Initially unwanted by Hansen, Donald was only thrown a lifeline with the injuries to Carter and Auckland’s Gareth Anscombe.

With fulltime showing following Matt Todd’s injury-time try, Donald, who’d only been on the park for three minutes as a result of Slade’s chronic cramping, was asked to kick the winning sideline conversion. A nation held its anguished, collective breath, remembering the horrors of 2010. Atonement awaited. Donald duly obliged. Rugby immortality and a Jockey contract were now surely his.

# Movember: Go to your doctor and to

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


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