FROM THE RIDGE: Barking up the wrong tree

Dear Steve,

As someone who’s taken action with Oxfam to tackle poverty before, we thought you’d be interested in a new campaign we’ve just launched today.

Will you join us in calling on the New Zealand government to step up our climate action by helping farming reduce pollution?

MEATY MATTERS: Clarkson’s Farm very funny and surprisingly good

We bought a new TV last week because I was struggling with the subtitles and match scores on the old one, which also involved a convoluted process for streaming anything not accessed through the Sky remote. After the inevitable delay in personalising the new TV – what the hell’s our password? – we celebrated by subscribing to Amazon Prime and the first programme on the watch list was Clarkson’s Farm, an eight-part series about Jeremy Clarkson’s initially chaotic attempts to run his 1000ha property in the Cotswolds.

PULPIT: A good deal for rural NZ

Increasingly, storms, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disaster events are impacting New Zealanders. FMG’s Nathan Barrett explains how the Natural Disaster Response Model came to be and the benefits for clients at claim time.

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake were both life-altering events for many and sadly, the impacts of all three quakes still resonate today.

In between quakes, the last decade has also been interspersed with other natural disasters, including significant flooding.


I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s Primary Industries New Zealand (PINZ) Summit and Awards in Christchurch. The organisation was impeccable, the venue superb and the speakers were, in the main, impressive.

I’ve been to many primary sector conferences over the years and they’ve certainly changed.

BLOG: Common sense must prevail

The Government’s policy of tightening access to immigrant labour appears to be yet another example of well-intentioned but poorly considered policy, for which this administration is synonymous.

FROM THE RIDGE: Life as we now know it

We've been lucky again with this risk of the virus coming across the border via the Aussie travel bubble.

First several thousand people flew out of Victoria as their community transmission developed and yet not a single case ended up here.

THE BRAIDED TRAIL: Sheep dominant on SI hill and high country

In previous articles, I first described the North Island’s 4000 commercial hill country farms (Beef + Lamb NZ classes 3 and 4). Subsequently, I wrote about the approximately 4400 intensive sheep and beef farms that are spread across both North and South Islands (classes 5, 6, 7 and 8). That left the story of 620 South Island hill country farms and 200 high country farms to be told here. It is a contrasting story.

PULPIT: Workforce response underwhelming

Farm staff shortages in Southland and around the country are getting worse. While the Government finally bowed to dairy industry pleas and announced border exemptions for 150 management and 50 farm assistant positions, the sector was already under severe workforce gap pressure.

The super-busy calving season begins mid-July and it’s unlikely many of the 200 extra migrant staff will be out of managed isolation by then.

ALTERNATIVE VIEW: First step on long journey

I was pleasantly surprised recently to receive an email from Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb NZ and DairyNZ telling me that they were all going to work together. That in future all three organisations will be presenting a united front to the world. It was good to see and long overdue.

As you know, I’ve been extremely critical of our sector that has portrayed itself as a collection of tribes, which enabled our opposition to divide and conquer – and they did.

I’m pleased that’s changing.

BLOG: Rise up to the challenge

Facing up to change is hard and everyone does it slightly differently.

It can often look like the stages of grief, with fear and anger slowly leading to acceptance.