The growth of farm output may be slowing. Specialty cheeses show an alternative strategy of further post-farmgate processing.

Land for farming ran out in the 1950s. Farm production intensified. We shifted from more dollars of farm output by using more land to getting more dollars per unit of land. Among the challenges we had was to replace the nutrients we were depleting from the soil – notably phosphates. Fortunately the world’s reserves of cheap phosphates have not yet all gone.

‘Iwi leaders and the Government have agreed on a deadline to sort out Maori interests in fresh water by Waitangi Day 2016.’ (News: 5 February 2015)

Law and economics recognises three distinct aspects of property rights. There is the ability to use the property, the ability to transform it into something else, and the ability to alienate it – that is to transfer the property rights to others.

Ratepayers are an easier target for councils than the enterprises making money out of water, and using most of it. It’s ineffectual and unfair, especially for those growing food

Environment Minister Nick Smith did a good thing last week. I would like to encourage him to do another one.

Can we stop talking about Auckland, just briefly? Canterbury matters as much to the future of New Zealand, and tells us more about the character of the government