News Roundup - 5 January

05 Jan 2021

Covid-19: Health experts keeping an eye on new strain developments

So far, six cases of the recently indentified UK variant - which is up to 70 percent more infectious than previous strains - have been reported in MIQ.
The new variant, known as B117, has a higher reproduction - or R number - leading to an increased rate of transmission.
University of Auckland epidemiologist Rod Jackson said while other strains usually infected two to three others, the new type meant one person could infect three or four others.
"That just multiplies - those three to four people will infect three to four more. You can see it rapidly gets away from you, which is what we're seeing around the world at the moment."

Planting for posterity
Since 2008 more than 170,000 trees have been planted here with the help of nearly 4000 volunteers and pro bono support of all manner. Four kilometers of walking tracks too have been painstakingly made throughout the property.
From engineers to ecologists, patrons and donors, local hapu to migrant community groups - Mahrukh says none of this would have ever materialized without their help.

New Zealand's Envy apples on track to be a billion-dollar brand
The big, red, premium Envy apples developed and produced by T&G Global had a record season with a 23 percent increase in international sales, generating more than a billion dollars of sales this year, with plenty of growth ahead.

Plea to report farm thefts as high season for rural crime nears
Police and rural leaders are urging those living and working on the land to report crime as the traditional spike in summer theft approaches.
FMG Insurance said its claims data showed January was when thieves set out to steal from rural properties.FMG manager advice services Stephen Cantwell said theft was the leading cause of farm contents claims.
“In our experience lower value quad bikes are the most common stolen item on the farm.

Regional economies: Agriculture strong, tourism struggling
Regions with large agricultural bases have surging regional economies while those which relied heavily on tourism were struggling.
The latest quarterly figures from Westpac McDermott Miller showed that Gisborne/Hawkes Bay have recorded a huge bounce in confidence, followed by Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast and Taranaki/Manawatū-Whanganui.
It showed the "optimists now outweighed the pessimists" in most regions, except in Northland, Otago and Southland - although the news was not entirely grim for the southern regions which had been hard-hit by the Covid-19 linked downturn.

Some Motueka fruit growers lose entire crop in hailstorm

Richard Clarkson, president of the Motueka Fruit Growers Association, said some growers, depending on where they are based, had lost their entire crop due to the storm.
He said the storm had wiped out so much fruit that the labour shortage crisis was somewhat averted.

Auckland drought: How did we get to crisis point and what do we do next?
The sentiment was echoed by Federation Farmers president Alan Cole who says the mental health struggles brought on by the drought were very real, and there had been a spike in people reaching out for help this year.
"Rural Support Trust has received an increase in phone calls for this time of year than they generally would, and that's just an ongoing effect of the drought,” he says.




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